Boy sitting at table with notebook and pencil
If your students are struggling with basic reading comprehension, more than likely, they aren’t visualizing what they are reading. As an avid reader, I often have dreams about novels that I’m reading. I get SO into it that I continue to picture and recreate the story in my mind after I’m finished reading a chapter. 
Sadly, that isn’t what our upper elementary kids are doing. They are often reading the words on the page and trying to decide what questions their teacher is likely going to ask them afterward. We need to help them find words and phrases that will help them paint a picture in their mind. 
These mentor texts are some of my favorites for helping my students hear great examples of descriptive texts and attempt to visualize. 

If you are interested in snagging any of these books, click the picture to find it on Amazon.  
Mentor Text with text "Bedhead" and Graphic Organizer with text "Visualizing"


Just look at this cover! Isn’t it perfect? Margie Palatini does an amazing job of describing Oliver’s hair as he wakes up and attempts to get ready for school on picture day! I love hiding the cover with construction paper and having students draw what they “see” as I read this book aloud. I have them record phrases from the book that describe each of the five senses.
Mentor Text with text "Owl Moon" and Graphic Organizer with text "Visualizing"

Owl Moon

First of all, this is a classic. This is a simple book that has so many great things included. It is perfect for reviewing many skills, such as retelling and making connections, while also having your students visualize various parts of the story. Each line of the story is short and sweet, but they are descriptive and allow your students to see and hear what the young boy in the story is seeing, hearing, and feeling.

Mentor Text with text "The Storm Book" and Graphic Organizer with text "Visualizing"

 The Storm Book

Some people love storms. Other people are scared of them. Either way, you can relate to this story as the author describes a storm. I love reading this book in its entirety, but it’s also great for pulling excerpts and having your students visualize small portions. 
I like printing the same graphic organize two or four times on one page. It’s great for allowing kids to visualize multiple times throughout the same text. 

A Bad Case of Stripes

Why couldn’t Camilla just eat those lima beans?! I don’t care if your kids have already read or heard this book before, it is still perfect for teaching students to visualize. Without looking at the pictures, what do they hear as you read aloud that help them to form pictures in their minds and on paper. 

Click here for your FREE Mentor Text Cheat Sheet.

Do you love mentor texts as much as I do? Have trouble organizing them all?

Do you want to use mentor texts but you don’t know where to start?

I have a FREE Mentor Text Cheat Sheet for you! In this Google Sheet, you’ll find MY list of Mentor Texts and the reading skills that I use them to teach. You can add your own books, sort by author or reading skills, find shortcuts to my blog posts, AND

>>>my favorite feature<<<
>>>cue the drum roll, please<<<

Choose from a dropdown menu to show where you can find the book. For example, I use a boatload of mentor texts in my reading instruction. I can’t afford to buy them all. I find some in our school library, the local library, borrow from my teacher friends, and SOME of them, I do own!

Using the dropdown menu, you can easily remind yourself where you can find your mentor text when you need it! Click the image above OR click here to grab it.