Genrefication 101

Use Your News Show to Promote Genres
Advertising Works!

You have a genre neighborhood that sits day after day, full of wonderful stories, and completely ignored. When you walk past it, with nothing to shelve in that section yet again, you run your hand over the books and sigh wistfully. What’s with the kids of today? Why won’t they give Nancy Drew or The Witch of Blackbird Pond the love they deserve?
Before you give up and weed these books, stop and reflect. We all like to know that something is good before we try it, right? I mean, how much time do you spend reading reviews before you buy just the right pair of cheetah-print slippers on Amazon? Reading a 200-page book is a big commitment for a lot of our readers. If they’re going to have the motivation to power through the dull parts, they need to know it’s going to be worth it.
This is where using your news show to advertise could really pay off. The really great, popular titles fly off the shelves for two reasons. First, they are fun to read; they’re exciting, funny, or grab the reader’s emotions and don’t let go. Second, other kids already love them and recommend them. Word of mouth is the majority of the advertising your library is going to get.

Ideas for Your News Show
Many of our schools have a news show of some type or another. Either we have a daily announcement show, an “our school this week” review, or a monthly program. Even if your announcements are read over the intercom system, you can start advertising your neglected genres.
Of course, book talks and student recommendations are always a great way to do this. Hearing from a student who has read the book is far more motivational than hearing an adult recommend it. Plus, the students who have the stamina to finish a chapter book deserve to get some credit for it. I find it helpful to have a simple book talk form to direct the students’ advertisements. Sentence starters like, “I enjoyed this book because it was….” and “You should read this book if you like books about….” keep the book talk short and sweet.
A genre commercial could also be a lot of fun. Go to your Language Arts teachers and ask them to assign their classes a group project in which they are given a genre to advertise. The top commercial for each class could be recorded and showed on the announcements. Imagine how fun it would be to make a dramatic commercial for realistic fiction, or watch a group of students solve the mystery of how to find the perfect book, or try to make it across the obstacles in the school to reach the adventure books.
If you’re not feeling either of these ideas, maybe you could use your news show to announce the start of a genre-lovers support group who meets during lunch or breakfast and reads together. You could invite students to join the breakfast meeting of fantasy readers, the lunch club of animal book aficionados, or the detective book society.

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