Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Genetics of Genre

your curly co-author, Suzanne

Genre is something uncovered when you look closely, deeply into the nitty-gritty make-up of a text.  It's the genetic makeup of the writing.

It is important for students to recognize the traits of various genres of literature and look at how they are similar and what makes them unique.  Good readers differentiate what they are looking for based on the purpose of each type of writing.  Struggling readers read everything the same way. 

The birth of the bookmark: I might have cried while watching students take a state reading assessment.  I was plagued by some big questions, and they got the best of me.  How did I learn that we don't read everything the same way?  How did these students seem to miss that memo?  How can can I teach this?  I blame the tears on the fact that it was my forth day of testing in a row, and that can seriously challenge anyone's sanity!

So I wiped away my tear and went to work on Genre Bookmarks.  I love these because they serve as a tangible reminder of what to look for and think about for a specific text.  A struggling reader is not going to go through a nine-step, labor intensive process. So we thought about three things that we most want students to look for and mark in each genre.  Students are given questions to consider and a symbol to mark where they saw this occur.  It guides them to pick up on what's most important for a particular text.


Aren't they pretty?!

They can be stored in your interactive notebook with this handy dandy library pocket that I bought at the dollar store in hopes that one day I would find it's perfect purpose.  Well, ta-da!

Okay...so where's the review in this?  Well, after a brief refresher of the unique qualities of each genre, have students sort released test questions to match the genre that they test.  

Let's practice:
  • What effect does Ella’s uncharacteristic behavior have on the resolution of the excerpt?  Fiction
  • The metaphor in the first stanza is used to emphasize that the—  Poetry
  • Which of these supports the idea that band members form strong bonds with one another?  Expository
  • The author wrote this article most likely to—  Expository 

It is important for students to pick up on text features and clues in the questions so that they focus on what's most important when they read.  Also, talking to your kids about test design gives them this sense of mastery and confidence going in.

I know what you're thinking...how do I get my hands on these bookmarks?!  Well, click right here my friends.

Check back tomorrow for our last day of...

And get caught up if you missed anything:

**On a random note, our Shared Readings (English I and II) are not available on TpT right now.  We took them down so that we can work an exciting opportunity for them.  Email us if you need anything.**

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