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Friday, September 17, 2010

Darn that Genre Wheel...

Okay, I should have made Friday's post my "Favorite 15" and not blown my clever alliteration on a Wednesday.  I'll be keeping that in mind for future weeks.

Tonight was curriculum night at my daughter's school.  Ahhhh, third grade.  Such a big year of growth, and since she has a wonderful teacher, I am sure that she is going to have a great year!  Of course, while I should have been paying attention to all the good curriculum information, I was actually snooping through her desk to see what she was reading.  Hey, at least I wasn't sniffing around the classroom library to make sure it was up to par.

Looks like the book in my daughter's desk this week is "Judy Moody, M.D.: the Doctor is In," book #5 in the series by Megan McDonald. I am so glad that she is finally discovering the Judy Moody books.  She scored an advance copy of "Judy Moody, Girl Detective" (book #9) at the ALA Conference in June, but has not read it yet.  (It was officially published in August, but I might not tell her that until after she reads it...she thinks it's pretty cool to have books before other people do.  Heck, I still think it's pretty cool).

I was paying attention to the teacher's presentation though, I promise.  I discovered that the class will be reading books from different genres each month, and that they should be AR books.  Okay, I will not use this forum to comment about Accelerated Reader.  Not a fan, let's just leave it at that.


But oh, that genre wheel.  I have mixed feelings about it and it's use in the classroom.  I like the fact that kids are introduced to different books than they might normally read.  Those kids addicted to their one series are given the opportunity to read something new.  Often, that kid will find out that they like books they never imagined they would.  Yeah for that! 

However, I blame that darn genre wheel for killing my son's love of reading, and it happened in 3rd grade.  He was the kid, you know that boy, that wanted to read the Guinness Book of World Records, Calvin & Hobbes, the almanac, and his favorite, "The Book of Lists."  Sadly, those types of books usually aren't on the genre wheel, and he was discouraged from reading them.  He surely did not want to read a fantasy, and could not have cared less that all his friends were reading "Harry Potter."

In having to force him to read an historical fiction book because it was part of his homework, I had to be the bad cop when it came to reading.  And now, five years later, he would rather poke his eyes out with an ice pick than read (okay, those are my words, not his, and I am slightly overdramatizing for effect).  But my point is, the genre wheel made reading NOT fun for him, and he was forced to read books that he really didn't like all year long.  If only I could turn back that clock...


So my question is, genre wheel or no genre wheel?  What are your thoughts?  Do you use it?  Why or why not?  Can't wait to hear your thoughts, especially if you are a student!

Though I should sign off to finish reading a book, I am going to watch the finale of America's Got Talent.  I MUST know who wins!  Shhhhh, don't tell me.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your comments. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I say no to genre wheel but yes to providing opportunities for kids to discover an array of books!

Anonymous said...

I think that the genre wheel should not be used until junior high or high school, once students have already developed a love for reading on their own.

campbele said...

That's a tough one for me. Don't we really grow when we stretch and try something new? And, how do we know what we like/don't like if we don't try different things?

Remember reading books, where we had short selections of a variety of materials? Perhaps shorter versions would make sampling less painful.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the main concern be opening a child's mind to the wide world of literature and doing it with level appropriate reading material?

Whether a genre wheel is used or not, it is important for young readers to be exposed to all genres. If they decided they do not like a genre after reading a book or two, that is their choice but they should still explore it.

The reality of children reading the Guinness Book of World Records, the Book of Lists, or other non-fiction books of this sort is that the information is typically not at an elementary student's independent level.

How can a child be successful and improve if they can't comprehend what they are reading in the first place?

 

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