Lesson plan

Fiction Genres Library Exploration

How familiar are your fourth graders with the fictional genres available in their class or school libraries? This lesson introduces them to many genres of fictional books so they can get off to a terrific start of fourth grade reading.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Basic Fiction Summaries pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Basic Fiction Summaries pre-lesson.

Students will be able to describe and identify various fictional genres in the classroom or school library.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Divide a piece of chart paper in half horizontally and write the word genre in the middle of the top half. Ask students to turn to a partner to share their background knowledge on this term. Explain that genre means type or category of something—in this case, different types of writing.
  • Call on a few students to share their conversation and take notes on the chart paper based on their comments.
  • Repeat with the word fiction, written on the bottom half of the chart paper. Ask students to share what they know about this term. Confirm that fiction involves writing that is imaginary, or not real, and can come in many forms or categories.
  • Explain to students that today they will explore the classroom library to find different types of fictional genre books.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that there are many fictional genres but the focus of this lesson will be on nine genres: humor, adventure, graphic novel, realistic fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, traditional literature, mystery, and fantasy.
  • Display the top section of the Genre Guide (fiction) on the document camera. Read each genre aloud and review the definition. Circle some of the keywords in each definition. After you read each genre, invite students to make connections and think of any examples of the genre they have read or know about.
  • Confirm students connections and show examples, from your classroom library, of some of the genres.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute two to three sticky notes to each student. Make sure the Genre Guide is displayed and visible to all students.
  • Write three fictional genres on each chart paper so you have a total of three chart papers posted around the classroom (e.g., realistic fiction, historical fiction, and science fiction on one paper).
  • Ask students to think of two or three of their favorite fictional books, and write each title (and author if they can remember their name) on a sticky note.
  • Place students in pairs to share their book titles and consider what genre it falls under.
  • Once each partner has agreed on the genre, give students a couple minutes to come up and place their sticky notes in the correct genre area.
  • Assist students as they categorize the book titles.
  • Look at the chart papers and analyze the results with your students. Which genre has the most sticky notes? Which genre has the least sticky notes?
(15 minutes)
  • Introduce your students to either your classroom or school library, and point out how it is organized by sub-categories and genres.
  • Hand out a book to each student and model how they should read the title and author, and look at the front cover before reading the synopsis on the back cover.
  • Instruct students to determine the genre of their sample book. Go around the classroom and have each student share out what genre of book they have and explain how they figured out the genre (e.g., "My book is titled Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. It is a science fiction story because the main character, Zita, goes to space."). Then, have students walk to the section of the library where this book would live. Confirm the section and instruct students to return their book to the correct spot.


  • Students at a lower reading level can use a simpler text (e.g., a picture book) for the independent work.
  • Have students work in pairs to determine the book genre during independent work time and to complete the assessment.


  • Have students delve deeper into some of the key fictional genres by having them complete an activity sheet (see optional materials).
  • Have students go on a hunt to find some examples of book genres they are unfamiliar with to share with the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute an index card to each student. Instruct them to write their name on it.
  • Assign a fictional genre to each student and have them write its definition in a sentence or two on the index card. Note: Be sure to cover the definitions on the Genre Guide worksheet.
  • Use the index cards as exit tickets and a formative assessment to measure student understanding of the lesson.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to discuss the following questions out loud with a partner:
    • What is your favorite fictional genre and why?
    • What are the benefits of reading different genres?
    • Why would it be helpful for a reader to categorize their book by genre before they read it?
    • What is one fictional genre you are not familiar with and would like to try to read this year?
  • Invite a few students to report their partner's answer to the class.

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