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BOO! Discovering a New Genre

Who doesn’t like a good scare every now and then, especially in October?  I certainly do.  I like the laughing that inevitably occurs after a good scare.  Fourth grade is a time when many readers are starting to transition from reading books in a series to reading more stand alone novels.  It is also a time when students are trying out new genres and starting to develop strong preferences in their reading tastes. Scary stories is one genre that many students like to try for the first time in fourth grade.  This fall was no different.

“Do you have any scary books?” asked Evie, one of my students who just so happens to have red hair.

“Indeed I do!” I replied as I showed her where the “scary stories” baskets are located in the classroom library.  I have novels, short reads, collections of short stories and graphic novels in these baskets.  She browsed through the basket and made several selections to add to her book bag, happy in the knowledge that she was trying something new and exciting.

That afternoon, I made a trip to my library, and lo and behold, there I found, Evie and the Truth about Witches, by John Martz.  The reading Gods and Goddesses were shining down on me; I couldn’t believe my find, it felt too good to be true!  I added it to my stack of books, checked them out and hurried home to read.

The next day, I was excited to share the book with MY Evie.  As I handed her the book, her eyes lit up at the title and at the illustration.  My final words to her were, “Enjoy it, especially the ending, I can’t wait to talk to you about it.”  She hurried off, found her reading spot and DEVOURED the book. 

We had a chance to talk about the book the next day.  It was the ending that she REALLY liked and how it was a “wonderful and creepy surprise.”  I asked her if it was scary enough and she replied that it certainly was.  As is often the case, when students are discussing their books with me, there are several others eavesdropping on our conversation.  I find that students learn so much about books when they eavesdrop on my conversations with others.  My Evie couldn’t wait to share this book with her friends and quickly a sign up sheet was created for this title.  She discovered a new genre, a new author AND she relished in the excitement of promoting a book to others.  We are certainly building a strong community of readers that share common goals and interests and who spread book love to each other.  What more could a teacher ask for?

I promote books all day long to students, but the greatest power comes when they recommend books to each other.  Evie and the Truth about Witches is the latest book to be promoted in room 23, and the readers have done it all themselves.  I can’t wait to see what they discover and read next!

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