<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=940171109376247&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Exploring Essential Types of Texts Every Learner Should Read

FP_StudentReading-1What types of texts should children be exposed to in their literacy journey? This is an important question for educators, parents, and caregivers. Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell recently addressed this topic in their Office Hours webinar titled “Exploring the Essential Types of Texts Every Young Learner Should Read.”

The webinar highlighted a simple, yet powerful idea: it’s crucial for students to interact with different types of texts, from narratives and informational texts to poetry and beyond. Irene and Gay emphasized the importance of introducing children to a variety of genres and text types to help develop their literacy skills while also cultivating a love for reading.


This blog post aims to provide practical guidance aligned with the thinking and research shared by Irene and Gay. Engaging with a wide range of texts enriches students’ learning experiences and prepares them to be more effective readers and thinkers.

Different Texts and Genres for Different Purposes

The variety of texts available to young learners is incredible—and necessary. It’s critical for students to have the opportunity to engage with a range of text types because each serves a distinct role in their literacy journey. This can refer to different types of controlled texts (leveled texts and decodable texts) as well as different types of genres, which we focus on below. Here are some examples of how educators can introduce different genres into the classroom.

Narrative and Informational Texts

Narrative texts invite students into stories, fostering empathy and understanding through characters and plots. Informational texts, on the other hand, build a foundation of knowledge about the world, presenting facts and concepts in engaging ways. It’s important for educators to balance both types of texts—prompting students’ imagination and empathy, as well as their curiosity and knowledge of the world.

Poetry and Similar Formats

Poetry—with its rhythm, rhyme, and rich language—opens a unique avenue for students to appreciate the beauty of words. Other similar forms like dramas, songs, and plays contribute to a rich literacy environment. These text types encourage linguistic playfulness, voice, and creativity…critical components of phonological and phonemic awareness, as well as in the overall development of reading and writing skills

Other Genres and Interests

It’s also important to expose students to various genres, from fantasy and science fiction to biographies and historical narratives. This exposure helps them discover their interests, laying the groundwork for lifelong reading habits as they explore these genres and find their personal favorites.

When we integrate different texts into our classrooms, we do more than teach reading: we open doors to new worlds for our students. Along with teaching the skills of reading, we want to create an enduring love for reading across all forms of text.

Integrating Different Texts into Your Classroom

Bringing different types of texts into the classroom is a necessity for developing comprehensive literacy skills in every learner. Here are some ideas for how educators can practically and effectively bring different text types into their literacy instruction:

Spotlight Different Texts

Encouraging engagement with a variety of texts starts with thoughtful selection and presentation. Teachers can organize themed reading weeks that focus on different genres or authors, create author studies to delve deeper into the styles and themes of specific writers, or design genre exploration projects that allow students to investigate their chosen genre. As students find genres and authors that resonate with them, they’re more likely to continue reading for pleasure on their own.

Interactive Read-Aloud and Shared Reading

Interactive read-aloud and shared reading experiences are pivotal for modeling reading strategies and creating a community of readers. By choosing texts that reflect the diversity of genres and formats discussed, teachers can highlight reading skills, discuss content, and share the joy of discovery in a group setting. These practices also provide a platform for whole-group instruction related to reading comprehension and knowledge building, making the reading process a connective, interactive experience.

Small-Group Instruction

Tailoring instruction to meet the diverse needs and interests of students is crucial. Guided reading and book clubs are two excellent small-group options for providing personalized learning experiences. Guided reading allows teachers to work closely with small groups of students who have similar reading needs or proficiencies, focusing on specific strategies and texts that meet their developmental needs. Book clubs encourage students to engage in discussions about books they’re reading, fostering an environment of inquiry and reflection.

These strategies can help educators ensure that each student encounter texts that grow them as readers and also resonate with them personally. The goal is to cultivate an environment where students are not just learning to read, but are reading to learn, explore, and find joy in the literate world.

Cultivating a Love for Reading

Creating lifelong readers goes beyond teaching the mechanics of reading; it’s about helping students fall in love with reading. This includes exposing students to a variety of texts and doing so in a way that nurtures reading joy. Here are some ways educators can cultivate this essential aspect of literacy:

Creating a Rich Literary Environment

It’s important to have an accessible classroom library featuring a variety of genres and formats. Consider creating thematic book baskets, organizing shelves by genre, or even featuring a rotating book or author of the week. And sharing your own enthusiasm for reading—talking about your favorite books, authors, and why you love them—can also have a huge impact.

Talking About Texts

We want students to feel comfortable sharing their reading experiences and opinions. Book talks (where students share books they’ve read with the class) or book clubs (where small groups discuss a common book) are excellent ways to help students talk about texts. These discussions can introduce students to new perspectives and inspire them to pick up books they might not have considered otherwise.

Supporting Choice and Independence

Allowing students to choose what they read is one of the most powerful ways to foster a love for reading. While it’s important to guide students toward texts that will challenge and grow their reading skills, giving them the freedom to select books that interest them encourages personal investment and enjoyment in the reading process.

By incorporating practices like these, educators can help students not just learn to read but develop a love of reading that will last.

As we bring different texts into our classrooms through instructional contexts like interactive read-aloud, shared reading, and small group instruction, we’re doing more than strengthening students’ reading skills. We're giving them opportunities to practice those skills (such as phonemic awareness and fluency) during authentic reading experiences while, at the same time, building their capacity to engage with literature in a meaningful way.


Looking for opportunities to bring more genres and text types into your classroom? Take a look at Shared Reading, Interactive Read-Aloud, or our Independent Reading collections.

Topics: Independent Reading, Literacy, Shared Reading, Small Group Instruction, Featured Posts, Home, Interactive Read-Aloud, F&P Office Hours

Wed, Mar 27, '24

Related Posts

How to Foster a Love of Reading Through Choice

We want our students to love reading books. We want them to go over to a bookshelf, choose a book that in...
Tue, Oct 18, '22

Browse the Latest Fountas and Pinnell Offerings in the Fall 2021 Heinemann Look Book

Browse the Fall 2021 Heinemann Look Book that includes the latest offerings from Fountas & Pinnell Li...
Fri, Sep 24, '21

Responsive Teaching: Meeting Our Students’ Needs Through Comprehensive, Differentiated Instruction

We are sometimes asked about the science behind our materials and the research that influenced our design...
Fri, Nov 20, '20