As students choose books to read, have them keep track of the books in a book log or book bibliography. Make sure they are also recording the genre.
Then, at the end of the month, ask students to create a bar graph like the one below found on Beth Newingham’s blog:
The key is to have kids reflect on why there are different outliers on their graph. Why is fantasy read more than any other? What drew you to fantasy this month? Was it a series? An author study? Make it kid-friendly by encouraging activities like writing a love letter to their favorite genre.
Then, it’s time to talk about the “lonely genre”. Why did the above student not read poetry? Build in time for reflection.
As students do this once a month, ask them to try at least one book in their ‘lonely genre’ category the following month.
Then, as the school year is progressing and is about six months in, do a “Mind the Gap” cycle. Ask students to compile all the books they have read for the year, have them analyze the outlier genres, and ask them to do a genre study exclusively in their “lonely genre”.
You have to do it, too. It’s a great time to build cognitive empathy.
Create a massive bar graph of all the books you read so far, and show students that you have lonely genres too. For a two week or more cycle, read books exclusively in that genre by doing the book gap challenge.