One of the first units that my students study every year is genre. This is because I want them to be able to record the genres of the different books that they read so that they can keep track of their reading lives.
Before we can even jump into genre, we start with the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Surprisingly enough, many of my students in grades 4 and 5 do not know the difference.
I used two books to help teach this lesson. We started by reading The Perfect Nest.
This hilarious story had my upper elementary students laughing their heads off. After reading the book, we recorded all of the characteristics of a fiction story that we noticed in our Venn Diagram.
Next we read Farms. Then we recorded the characteristics of a Non-Fiction text in our Venn Diagram.
Finally we put characteristics that describe both types of texts in the middle of the Venn Diagram.
Here is what our final anchor chart looked like. This is now hanging in our classroom as a reminder for students. I am actually surprised at how often they reference it!