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Why You Should Organize Your Child’s Books by Genre

Most parents understand how crucial it is for children to be exposed to books and related learning materials at an early age. They know that children who read every day will have a stronger vocabulary, greater level of reading comprehension, and higher test scores than those who do not, and they make sure that they use the resources necessary to help their child engage with reading and reach these goals.

However, what many parents do not know is that simply reading any books, at any time and in any order, might not be as effective toward accomplishing these goals as they might expect. In order to help your child maximize the benefits that come from reading books and using learning materials, they need to be sorted by genre.

A genre is a category that is used to distinguish or classify material based on a certain set of characteristics. While genres can apply to everything from music to film, they are perhaps best known for categorizing different forms of literature.

There are several different genres for children’s books:

Realistic fiction

Realistic fiction refers to books that have scenarios and characters that could exist in real life even though they are made up. Children tend to gravitate to books in this genre because it tends to be easier for children to relate to realistic characters and events. This genre is great for helping children learn to form connections between real life and a text.

Informational texts

Informational texts are non-fiction books that help children learn about real people, places, or things. The purpose of books within this genre is to provide useful information to readers about various topics, and these books are typically used for research.

Historical fiction

Historical fiction refers to fictional stories that are based on real events or time periods in history. These stories typically follow made-up characters who have to survive and overcome obstacles unique to the book’s setting.

Traditional Literature

Traditional literature is a genre comprised of stories that have been passed down from generation to generation over time. Examples of traditional literature include myths, folktales, and fairy tales.


Fantasy is a genre that includes elements that are not capable of occurring in real life. This genre can include aspects of science fiction and supernatural events like talking animals, flying cars, and other phenomena.


Biographies are non-fiction texts that focus on an individual that exists, or existed, in real life. These stories provide children with information about the challenges and triumphs that a person faced during their lifetime, and they usually present facts and details in chronological order.

Picture books

Picture books are books that use illustrations to provide additional context and background information that enhances a story. While children still need the text to understand the events of the story, the illustrations aid with reading comprehension, inferences, and predictions.

Every single one of these categories has different structures, formats, and rules that your child can learn to recognize and use to navigate texts accurately and efficiently. By grouping your child’s academic resources into different genres, you will help them build these skills and prepare to do well in school.

The benefits of genre-specific book organization

If you want to help your child unlock his fullest potential, you can give them a competitive edge and a solid academic foundation by organizing your books and learning materials into genres. Here are a few reasons why it is important for you to organize your child’s books and learning materials by genre: 

Creating and applying connections

Children who are exposed to different genres and their features will develop a conceptional understanding of how different topics connect. 

For instance, if a child reads several different biographies in class, he will soon learn that those biographies have certain elements in common, even though they happen to be about different people. He will recognize that all biographies mention a real person, background information about when and where they were born, hardships they faced, and reasons why they are important, and he will use this information to help him make sense of the next biography he reads.

When you sort books and learning materials by genre, children will begin to pick up on the similarities within each genre and start forming connections that will help them have an even better understanding when they read another book that falls into the same classification.

This ability to find similarities and make connections between books within the same genre is essential to developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they will need to succeed in the future.

Boosting reading comprehension skills

Children that have experience reading books sorted by genre will become familiar with identifying the plot structures and other important elements of each genre that will help them navigate large chunks of information. 

If they know that the setting in a historical fiction book is always going to be a significant part of the story, they will start to look for context clues that will help clue them into the time period when the story takes place or the historical events that occur in the book. If they know every biography they read provides details in chronological order, they will make sure to pay close attention when reading the beginning of the book if they want to figure out information like the subject’s birthplace.

Presenting children with genre-specific books and learning materials will also help them learn to comprehend information that is unfamiliar. If every informational text about animals includes facts about an animal’s habitat, kids will be able to recognize that any place that animal calls home is its habitat, even if they have never heard of the animal’s specific ecosystem or environment before.

As children gain practice with these skills, they will become better at abstracting information, understanding and recalling main events and details within a story, and answering questions pertaining to the information they read. This ability to comprehend what they are reading is important because it is the foundation for critical thought and problem-solving.

You can help your child further develop his reading comprehension skills by using resources like ____________________________.

Building background knowledge

As children learn the components that comprise different genres, they will start to build background information that they can use to understand new information.

This will be particularly useful when they need to make predictions or inferences about topics that are unfamiliar. For example, a child that has read several informational texts about animals like lions, tigers, and bears will be familiar with the type of information she will encounter in books within this genre. 

If you were to ask the child, “What do you think you will learn in the book The Life of the Sea Cucumber?” prior to presenting her with a new book about this unfamiliar animal, she might initially show confusion. However, once you tell her that sea cucumbers are animals, she will draw information from the other informational texts she has read about animals, and she will be able to answer your question. Even if she has never heard or seen a picture of sea cucumbers before, she will know that the book will probably mention specific details like its habitat, diet, and predators.

Building background knowledge is the key to helping children make good, educated predictions when they are faced with unknown challenges and situations.

Increasing vocabulary

The size of your child’s vocabulary during the early stages in their development can make a world of difference when it comes to their future academic success. The more words your child knows, the better prepared they will be for kindergarten and everything that comes next.

A strong vocabulary is especially important for children from lower-income families. A study conducted by researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley in 2003, showed that children from lower-income families hear roughly 30 million less words than children from higher-income families by the time they reach the age of three.

One easy way for parents to help fill this gap or simply increase their child’s vocabulary is to use genre-specific groupings when organizing books and learning materials. When parents take this step, their children will see genre-specific vocabulary that they will encounter again and again as they read books that fit in this category. This repeated exposure to different words will develop and strengthen their vocabulary.

You can assist with this vocabulary learning process by using ___________________________ with your child.

Developing organizational skills

When parents group their child’s learning materials and books by genre, they are modeling good organization skills. As young children begin to understand genres, they will start to realize that everything they experience has set rules and classification. Using the word “genre” when presenting children with learning tools and reading material, helps children learn how to organize and process the different observations they make in life.

Children in the Intellectual Baby learning stage, typically from ages 0 to 2, can gather information and learn organization skills as they learn that letter sounds, shapes, and numbers exist in different categories with specific rules. You can help your child process this information during the Intellectual Baby stage when you use _____________________________________.

As your child enters the Intellectual Toddler learning stage, usually between the ages of 3 and 5, he will have more opportunities to develop organization skills through genres. His toys and picture books can be categorized in ways that will help him learn to identify and sort different groups. Try helping your Intellectual Toddler during this learning stage with _____________________________.

Organizational skills will also help your child prepare for success in school. When your child is between the ages of 6 and 12, she is likely in the Intellectual Child learning stage. This learning stage is where students will outline the information they gain from genre-specific texts using graphic organizers and similar tools, allowing them to process, abstract, and communicate the information they learn in school. Use ______________________________ when your child is in the Intellectual Child learning stage to make sure they are able to practice organizing and understanding materials within a range of genres.

Parents, and educators, that organize materials by genre help children from each learning stage develop and shape their ideas so that they are able to use this knowledge to think critically and form a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Fostering independence

As your child moves into the Intellectual Child stage, he will likely be yearning for more independence, especially when it comes to creating his own academic experiences. You can help your child in this stage by allowing him to have more control over the books that he chooses to read. 

When you organize books and learning materials with a genre-specific focus, your child can have the freedom to select the options that he finds most interesting without sacrificing quality instruction and learning opportunities. 

If your child prefers reading informational texts or fantasy or historical fiction, he will be able to find books and supplemental learning materials that suit his unique interests. You can make sure that your child has the resources to read books and practice materials within genres he enjoys when you use _____________________________.

Organizing your books and learning materials by genre

As you can see, there are countless benefits to making sure your child reads books and uses learning materials that are sorted by genre. This method of organization will help your child become a better critical thinker as she learns to organize and abstract information, create connections using background knowledge, and develop her reading comprehension skills.

The Intellectual Child has the resources you need to expose your child to a wide variety of genres. Whether your child is in the Intellectual Baby, Intellectual Toddler, or Intellectual Child learning stage, it is important for you to help her separate books by genre and gain the benefits that come from organizing texts with a genre-specific focus. Find out more about how you can help your child read and understand materials spanning different genres when you visit our website.



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