Teaching Realistic Fiction – Genre Study That’s Proven with Kids

Teaching realistic fiction genre study? Take three steps. (1) Start with the elements. (2) Read short stories. This gets kids hooked! (3) Choose a novel for the grand finale.

Ms. Sneed Teaches Another Genre Study

Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, explained her realistic fiction unit in the teachers’ lounge. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” she said.

“Tell me more,” her colleague, Mrs. Abdullah, prompted.

Teaching Realistic Fiction Elements

“Okay. First, we’ll explore the elements. Kids need to know what realistic fiction is. Once they’ve told me what they know, we’ll continually refer to this handy reference guide.” She pushed a paper across the table to her friend.

Begin teaching realistic fiction with this handy anchor chart.
Are you feeling “pinspired”? Feel free to pin images from this post.

“I’ll also use Literary Genre: Realistic Fiction, a 3-minute video by Pang Her. It emphasizes five traits of realistic fiction:

  1. Realistic fiction is still make-believe.
  2. It could happen in real life.
  3. The characters are realistic or could be alive today.
  4. Characters have no superpowers.
  5. You feel like the story could happen to you.”

Analyzing Short Realistic Fiction

“Next, the kiddos will read and analyze some short stories. This is my favorite step. Sharing and discussing let me enjoy teaching realistic fiction.

“I’ll grab 30 or 40 realistic fiction picture books from our school library. They’ll be displayed on a table. This invites kids to read realistic fiction. We’ll read some together and discuss. And I can get some grades with these realistic fiction worksheets.”

Use these worksheets for your historical fiction genre study. Kids explore elements.

“Teaching realistic fiction is always fun,” said Mrs. Abdullah. “If you’d like a printable story, I found a good one online. Try Jodie’s Daddy Is a Garbageman by Matthew Licht. I love this little story!”

“Thanks, I will!”

Reading Adventure Novels

Ms. Sneed pulled two books out of her bag. “For the grand finale of my historical fiction genre study, kids will read a novel. My advanced fourth graders do fine with Hatchet.”

She grabbed a few pages from her bag. “Since they already have a handle on elements, we’ll work on constructing responses and vocabulary. I love the way the worksheets explore multiple-meaning words, figurative language, and shades of meaning.”

At the end of your historical fiction genre study, you must do a novel! As they read Hatchet, kids work on constructed response and vocabulary.

Pulling out a few more pages, she added, “Unfortunately, my low to average kids struggle with Hatchet. Luckily, I found another realistic adventure, The Black Stallion. Students who read this book will work on the same skills: answering questions and vocabulary.”

When teaching realistic fiction, culminate with a novel like The Black Stallion.

“I can see that you’re really excited about teaching realistic fiction,” said Mrs. Abdullah. “It’s a thorough ELA unit – and the kids will love it.”

Ms. Sneed’s eyes twinkled. Yes, they’d love it – and she would too.

Enjoy Teaching Genres

After your realistic fiction genre study, try a few more! Your students will love historical fiction and mysteries!

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