Saturday, September 12, 2015

I don't like that kind of book!

Genre gap is a fancy way of saying that we don't like to read a certain type of book and have a limited experience reading those texts. Teachers work hard to craft well rounded readers and convince them to read across genres, or styles of writing.

I personally have two genre gaps in my recreational reading. I do not enjoy reading poetry as a rule. I prefer the description and development of prose, non-poetry, writing.

There is something comfortable to me about paragraphs with sentences that have a predictable structure. In poetry, authors have a lot of leeway in how they structure their writing to express themselves.

My second genre gap would be non-fiction. This is crazy, really, since my first love is history.

I am sure many of you will groan, or even roll your eyes, when I say that I prefer the textbook version that is direct and to the point. There are few biographies or other non-fiction works for adults that capture my attention.

I share this with you to let you know that being aware of your personal preferences is half the battle. The other half is to make sure you expose yourself, and your child, to many styles of writing and encourage them to find the books that are the exception to their dislike of a certain style.

Poetry for kids has come a long way since I was in school. I remember what I think of as "academic" poetry. While I love poems by Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Langston Hughes, I don't sit down and read poetry for pleasure.

Children's poetry, though, is so much more than just nursery rhymes. Charles R. Smith has published many poems for sports fans. Judith Viorst who wrote Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, has published poetry for children and parents. Shel Silverstein's poems appeal to children of all ages.

Go to No Water River site for a "Big List of Children's Poets."

Non-fiction for children, specifically what we call informational text, is a great genre. Children's authors have written many books about real world topics that are educational and interesting.

These authors make facts attainable for young readers. The pictures and graphics in these books are designed to capture the attention of children.

If your child is interested in a certain hobby, take them to the library to find books about that topic. You may even find a few that interest you, too.

Check out Reading Rockets for great information on non-fiction that is available for children.

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