Genre Personality Profile: The Innovator

Innovators are a large Genre Personality group since they cover smart students who love reading science fiction and high-action stories. These students tend to be creative and very good at math, science, and/or technology.


*To protect their privacy, all student names have been changed.



The Innovator is James. James is a current student who has read a LOT of the books in our huge science fiction section. As an Innovator, James is super-smart and excels in science and math. He is endlessly polite, and I am always on the lookout for new titles for him. His favorite titles include Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, Neal Shusterman’s Unwind Dystology, and Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays.


The Innovator is Charles. Charles is one of those students who, when he moved away last year, I felt like our circulation numbers would take a noticeable hit. Charles checked out loads of books, almost exclusively from our science fiction and action/survival genre sections. Charles trusted my sci-fi book recommendations without question. It didn’t matter what a book was about; if I recommended it to Charles, he eagerly read it. Like James and other Innovators, Charles was crazy-smart and will no doubt be very successful in life. DJ MacHale’s Sylo series, Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy were among Charles’s favorite titles.


The Innovator is Traci. It seems Innovators might be a male-dominated Genre Personality; I can only think of a few female Innovators among my students. I can only hope that this will change with all the recent push for STEAM courses and activities and encouragement for girls to join them.

Traci is a fantastic reader who especially loves space odysseys. Her favorite books include Kaufman and Spooner’s These Broken Stars, Melissa Landers’s Starflight and Alienated, Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, and Kiera Cass’s The Selection series. All of these titles involve romance as a prominent part of the plot, and it’s not surprising to me that Traci also scored high as a Romantic.

The quiz now has two versions: elementary and secondary, plus a bundle that includes both. Click an image above to view them in my TPT store.


Tips for librarians, teachers, and parents of Innovators

1. Innovators read at a very high level. Trust them to select titles they are ready for and to return titles they are not ready for.

Andy Weir’s The Martian is full of F-bombs. Right from page 1.

Sixteen-year old Darrow in Red Rising is a happily married man.

Sixteen-year old Rhine in Wither is one of 21-year old Linden’s three teenage wives. She was forced into the marriage, but she also comes to love Linden. The youngest wife is a 14-year old girl who becomes pregnant about halfway through the book.

Because Innovators tend to be among my smartest students, they do tend to read at a much higher level than their peers. It is not unusual for my middle school Innovators to request and read adult-level science fiction titles like the titles above and many others. Yes, adult science fiction often contains mature language and themes, but I think Innovators should be allowed to read these books anyway. I promise you they have heard the language in the hallways at school, and continuing to read books targeted at students their age will not satisfy their thirst for the higher-level science and technology concepts they can find in YA and adult titles.

If you are concerned about mature content, I always encourage parents to read the book with their child and talk about it.

2. Let them become absorbed.

We’ve established that Innovators are smart and science-y. They likely get good grades, and if they do not, it’s probably more to do with dislike for a subject or teacher or studying in general than that they are not capable. Like Escapists, Innovators get absolutely absorbed in their books, movies, and video games. They are probably so absorbed that you have to compete to get their attention.

I’m not saying that Innovators should be allowed to stay absorbed in books or movies or games all the time, but I do think parents should give their Innovators uninterrupted time to become absorbed. I am an Escapist, and I can remember spending entire Saturdays in my room, fully invested in my reading. Now, as a mom to two boys, I don’t get that chance very often anymore, and I miss it terribly!

I am so thankful that my parents didn’t bug me about my long hours of tuning out. I was never a huge social butterfly. Sure, I had friends. Sure, I did some stuff. I got good grades. I worked hard. And after all that was done, I needed to unwind. Without being interrupted or nagged about some little thing every 20 minutes. Thanks for understanding that, Mom and Dad!


I think Innovators, even at the middle school level, should be allowed to read adult-level science fiction. Do you agree? Do you think middle school Innovators should be allowed to read books like The Martian, BZRK, or Red Rising?

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