Saturday, February 16, 2013
The second graders in my information literacy classes have been exploring genre. Amazingly, they named several genres (some with a bit of prompting) as I gave examples and listed characteristics. After briefly talking about adventure, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, realistic fiction and romance, they set off with groupmates and a stack of six books to read. Using a chart pre-filled with the book titles, they write what they determine to be each book's genre and the things that led them to the decision. Later, we all gather back on the story steps to discuss their findings.
The biggest discovery was that books can be more than one genre. When we talked more fantasy yesterday, things got complicated. Many fantasies also were adventures, they thought. They could tell me that fantasy was fiction, that animals could talk and do human things, that there were often magical things occurring, and that there could be imaginary creatures involved (like unicorns and dragons). One child excitedly added, "And fairies!" I agreed that fairies are imaginary and quickly realized my wrong answer when another child vehemently declared, "Not fairies! The Tooth Fairy is real!" I took back my words and put the Tooth Fairy in the realm of real creatures.
Note: The photograph is of a student-written adventure/realistic fiction story created in connection with Debra Frasier's upcoming book SPIKE Ugliest Dog in the Universe.