3 Easy Strategies for Teaching Genre in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Are you an upper elementary teacher who needs new ideas for teaching genre? Are you tired of students not being able to identify the correct genre of the books that they read? Today I am sharing three easy ideas for teaching genre.

3 easy strategies for teaching genre in the upper elementary classroom

Whether they are identifying the genre of the books that they read for a 40 book challenge or identifying genre during an assessment like the Fountas and Pinnell BAS, this is a crucial skill for our readers to master.

1) Start with REAL Books!

5 best picture books for teaching genre in the upper elementary classroom

Choose an assortment of picture books of different genres to read throughout the week. I have included links below to some of my favourites! Note that these are affiliate links so if you do choose to buy through my link, amazon sends a few pennies my way 🙂

After each read aloud, work together as a class to decide whether the book is fiction or nonfiction.

Then have students delve even deeper by identifying the specific genre such as fantasy or narrative nonfiction. This is a great opportunity for rich discussion about what makes a book belong to a certain literary genre.

Realistic Fiction:

Historical Fiction:


Science Fiction:



Narrative Nonfiction:


Do your students need extra practice with fiction vs. nonfiction? Check out this blog post for more teaching ideas!

2) Create Genre Mini Books

genre mini book activity for the reading classroom

For this activity, I like to send students to the school library to gather two books each. However, you could really easily do this activity with the books available online on Epic books if your school library isn’t available.

Step 1: Each student chooses two books.

Step 2: Each student finds an image of each of their books.

Step 3: Each student copies and pastes their images into the shared Google Document. In order to make this Google Document, just open up a blank Google Doc. Title it “Genres” or something along those lines. Then assign it in Google Classroom with the settings “everyone can edit”. That way every student in the class will be able to add their pictures to the same document.

Step 4: Each student creates a new Google Slides document. You could also create a blank Google Slides document and assign it to students in Google Classroom with the settings “make a copy for each student”.

Step 5: Students will add 9 slides to their slide decks by clicking the plus button.

Step 6: Students will add a title to slide 1. I suggest using “Literary Genres”.

Step 7: Students will add a title to each of the remaining 8 slides. Each slide will be titled with a different genre. So for example, slide 2 might be titled “Realistic Fiction.”

Step 8: Students will copy and paste the images of books from the whole class document onto the correct slides of their slide decks.

Step 9: Go through the list of books with students, working as a class to confirm the genres of each book.

3) Review Using a Digital Escape Room

I am all about incorporating activities that students LOVE into the classroom. The bonus of digital escape rooms is that they also require virtually no prep and no marking! That’s a huge win in my books!

In this genre digital escape room, students will use what they know about literary genres to “breakout” of this fun challenge.

I hope that you are able to use these activities for teaching genre in your classroom this year and that they help to make your teaching life a bit less stressful! If you use any of these ideas, I would LOVE for you to take a picture and tag me on social media!

ideas for teaching genre in the upper elementary reading workshop classroom

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