K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • brainstorm different genres, based on prior knowledge.
  • organize information in graphical format using CIRCLE MAPS (Thinking Maps).
  • exhibit good listening skills and use appropriate vocabulary to identify genres to the teacher.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

40 Minutes


Media coordinator / specialist will gather books representing genres of: Poetry, Fairy Tale, Biography, Fiction, Nonfiction.
The books will be covered in paper to hide the titles from the students.

Wipe Off Board with Circle Maps drawn for each genre

Technology resources



Introduction to genres by the classroom teacher will occur in lessons conducted in the classroom or in joint class - media center lessons/ activities by the teacher and the media coordinator.

Introduction to Circle Maps (part of Thinking Maps curriculum) by teacher in classroom.


  1. The students will brainstorm types of genres.
  2. Selected students will write a genre in a circle already drawn on the wipe-off board.
  3. Students will volunteer key words to identify the genre by filling in the Circle Map for each genre on the wipe-off board.
  4. Students will be instructed to wait until the media specialist finishes reading the excerpt from the selected books before guessing the genre.
  5. The media coordinator / specialist will randomly draw from a stack of disguised books by to read aloud excerpts to the class.
  6. The students will volunteer to guess the genre. Upon guessing the correct genre, the book will be unwrapped so students can see the title and the title of the book will be added to the circle map for that genre in the “frame of reference” section of the map.
  7. The lesson will proceed as students continue to identify the genres of the books from the reading of the excerpts and as they add the titles to the circle maps matching the genre.


Observation of excited responses by students of the genre, after readings the excerpts.

Correct matching of genres to definitions on handout

  • _____ biography
  • _____ autobiography
  • _____ poetry
  • _____ historical fiction
  • _____ science fiction
  • _____ realistic fiction
  • _____ fairy tales
  • _____ nonfiction
  • Happy Ending
  • Informational
  • True story someone writes about himself/herself
  • Writing that has rhythm or rhyme and stirs feelings
  • Make-believe story that includes some facts from history
  • True story written about someone
  • Make-believe story with some real science ideas included
  • A make-believe story that could be true.

Supplemental information

Gather books in advance and skim the books for excerpts that reveal the type of genre the book represents. Cover the books with paper to hide the titles from students. Mark the pages for the read-aloud activitiy


The students love the “mystery” factor guessing the genre from the covered books. They are especially excited when they recognize the actual story and can tell the teacher or class the title of the book. They also love being chosen to write the information in the CIRCLE MAP on the wipe-off board.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
      • Grade 2

        • 2.IN.1 Understand appropriate procedures when reading for enjoyment and information. 2.IN.1.1 Categorize books by their genre characteristics. 2.IN.1.2 Summarize appropriate reading strategies when reading for information.
      • Grade 3

        • 3.IN.1 Apply strategies that are appropriate when reading for enjoyment and for information. 3.IN.1.1 Use visual and literacy cues to locate relevant information in a given text (e.g., bold print, italics, bullets, etc). 3.IN.1.2 Compare the characteristics...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Information Skills (2000)

Grade 3

  • Goal 1: The learner will EXPLORE sources and formats for reading, listening, and viewing purposes.
    • Objective 1.06: Identify characteristics of various genres.
  • Goal 5: The learner will COMMUNICATE reading, listening, and viewing experiences.
    • Objective 5.02: Produce media in various formats (print, graphical, audio, video, multimedia) appropriate to audience and purpose.