4 Mentor Texts for Teaching 1st & 3rd Person

Boy sitting at desk with paper in front of him and pencil in hand
In my early years of teaching upper elementary, I struggled to help my students understand the difference of 1st and 3rd person in a story. Honestly, I think I overcomplicated it!
I began having my students determine WHO was telling the story based on the pronouns used and the information that was given. Using a simple graphic organizer and several mentor texts, it slowly became easier for my students to see the point of view of a passage. The books below are just a few of the books (all by Aaron Reynolds) that I used for modeling various points of view! 
If you are interested in snagging any of these books, click the picture to find it on Amazon. 
Mentor Text with text "Creepy Carrots!" and Graphic Organizer with text "Point of View"

Creepy Carrots

I love everything that Aaron Reynolds writes, and I put it to work during the week that I teach Point of View. This is a hilarious story written in the third person about a bunny who believes that carrots are following him everywhere. And they are! They are playing a trick on him. The reason is pretty funny!
Mentor Text with text "President Squid" and Graphic Organizer with text "Point of View"

President Squid

This book is just FUN to read aloud! Squid has five reasons why he should be the president. He wears a tie, has the biggest house ever, he’s famous, he likes to talk, and he would be good at being the BIG BOSS! Once he meets a Sardine, his thoughts change. Whether those changes are for good or not…🤷🏻‍♀️
It’s a silly book that my students LOVED having read aloud. We used this book to talk about a story told in the first person point of view, but you could also use it to review sequence, making predictions or synthesis. 
Mentor Text with text "Carnivores" and Graphic Organizer with text "Point of View"

Carnivores

Maybe carnivores just get a bad rep. Sharks for example, why they are just fast eaters. The Big Bad Wolf? Well, he was just a quiet walker. He isn’t sneaky.

In this hilarious book, the Carnivores get together to support one another as they discover that being a carnivore isn’t a bad thing. It is just who they are. This book is witty and perfect for an upper elementary kids. It also ties in perfectly with a unit on ecosystems.

Mentor Text with text "Nerdy Birdy" and Graphic Organizer with text "Point of View"

Nerdy Birdy

My kids loved this book and Nerdy Birdy Tweets! I love using this particular book to train my students to see WHO is telling the story. What point of view is the book written in?

This story is about a bird who loves all things nerdy. It takes him a while to “find his flock” and feel like he fits in. I watch my fifth graders struggle to fit in every year. They need a reminder that it can take a while. Be you, and your flock will find you! 

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.

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A Quick & Easy Strategy for Determining the Main Idea

My kids are getting pretty good at developing a main idea sentence when I provide them with key words. Which is great, right? But the point of reading (and unfortunately, testing) isn’t to tell what the main idea is after your teacher gives you a list of five words.

No. We want our kids to be able to read a passage, and in a sentence or so, tell you what it was about.

As a way to build independence, we began brainstorming a list of POSSIBLE key words. We talked about WHY we were using the word possible.

Since we are only reading a small part of the text, we might later learn that the whole things ISN’T about something that we have written down. It’s a work in progress.

Text with text "What a Smart Idea!" and paper with text "Possible Keywords"

After reading a few paragraphs about a spider that uses a clever trap to catch a frog, we made a list of possible key words. We wrote down anything and everything that seemed important.

Text showing chimps and possible keywords paper with words written on it

Then, we read another section of the text. In these paragraphs, we learned about chimps getting a snack. Since their hands were too large for the hole, they had to get creative. They used a stick to get their bugs.

After reading about the chimps, we added a few more words to our paper.

Possible Keywords paper with text crossed out or boxed around

After reading these two sections, we realized that we had a long list of animals. Did we REALLY need that many individual animals? Maybe we could choose a word or two that better describes those four words. My students wanted to replace spiders and chimps with the word animals. They also thought that the words frog and bugs could be replaced with the word prey. I loved to hear their thinking and was so proud of their vocabulary.

Text showing a picture of chimps and possible keywords paper with main idea sentence added

After narrowing down a few keywords, we are ready to write a sentence that tells what the main idea of the passage is.

Text showing art and possible keywords paper with words crossed out, words boxed, and the main idea sentence

The next week, we read about various artists and where they find inspiration. Once again, we jotted down several keywords after each page. Some of my students wanted to list each artist. Others thought that was a waste of time. They were already seeing that the whole passage wouldn’t be all about ONE artist, but rather multiple artists. We could keep it simple.

By the time we finish our list, they are MORE than ready to begin transitioning to writing a main idea sentence that uses several of our keywords. It’s also something that they can do on their own!

For more ideas on main idea, click HERE.
Be sure to visit my TpT store to check out my helpful products on main idea!

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4 Mentor Texts for Teaching Theme & Main Idea

Girl with backpack on with finger on her cheek as if thinking
Some people teach theme and main idea separately, which is totally fine. However, I like to teach them together. I like my students to be able to see that the main idea can be very simple and tells what the story or passage was about on a surface level. A theme, on the other hand, tells a lesson or message that the character or reader makes. 
In this post, you’ll find four of my favorite books that have a great theme and students can easily tell the main idea of after reading. 

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

Enemy Pie

Enemy Pie is a classic book that I believe every student should have read to them at some point! When the main character has a new enemy, his dad volunteers to help him make a pie that is PERFECT for an enemy. But there’s a catch. You have to find a way to trick your enemy into actually eating the pie. This book is full of great themes for your students to discover, learn from, and support with evidence from the text!
Mentor Text with text "Those Shoes" and Graphic Organizer with text "Theme"

Those Shoes

Have you ever wanted something that “everyone else” had. Whether is was the pink Razr phone when you were in high school or the latest iPhone, everyone has drooled over something that everyone else seems to have and you don’t! In this book, Jeremy desperately wants “those shoes”. Everyone has them, but his grandma says they are too expensive. This heartwarming story shares what happens once he finally gets his hands on a pair!
Mentor Text with text "The Little House" and Graphic Organizer with text "Theme"

The Little House

Ooooh, this book is one of my all-time favorites. It is a great story with multiple themes and is perfect for demonstrating that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side! Year after year, my students and I love using this book for a close read.
Mentor Text with text "Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun" and Graphic Organizer with text "Theme"

Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun

First of all, how can you read this title and NOT want to read the book?! This book is perfect for teaching your students to be who they are–no matter how crazy, silly, unusual, or different that may be!
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.

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4 Mentor Texts for Teaching Visualizing

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"

Bedhead

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.

Follow:

5 Mentor Texts for Teaching Asking Questions

Girl with hand on chin looking up and thinking

When I first started teaching, I thought teaching students to ask questions was a waste of time. I guess, in my mind, kids should do it automatically. Once I started analyzing strengths and weaknesses, I realized that many of my kids had no idea what their brains should be doing while reading. Explicitly teaching students to ask questions is essential.

I love the following books for doing just that! Give your students multiple examples and opportunities to practice asking questions by using multiple books that they’ll love. 

If you are interested in snagging any of these books, click the picture to find it on Amazon. 
Mentor text with text "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" and graphic organizer with text "Asking Questions"

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

This book is so interesting and maybe even a bit odd! When Sylvester discovers a magic pebble, he mysteriously turns into a rock. His parents look everywhere for him, but they aren’t able to find him. Will they ever discover that Sylvester is actually sitting near their house? There are so many questions that you and your students can generate as you read this book aloud! 

Mentor text with text "This is Not My Hat" and graphic organizer with text "Asking Questions"

This is Not My Hat

Where did this hat come from? What will the fish do with the hat? Does someone realize it is missing? This book is simple and funny. My kids love it and it is GREAT for teaching your students to ask questions. Sometimes, we get the answers to our questions by reading further into the story. Other times, we don’t.
Mentor text with text "We Found A Hat" and graphic organizer with text "Asking Questions"

We Found A Hat

We Found a Hat is just as silly and ridiculous as This is Not My Hat, and my kids love it just as much! In this book, two turtles stumble upon ONE hat. Two turtle and only one hat. What will they do? Will they take turns? Will they fight over it? Will one sneak off to get it? So many opportunities for questions that your students may NEVER get answers to! 
Mentor text with text "I Want My Hat Back" and graphic organizer with text "Asking Questions"

I Want My Hat Back

When this bear can’t find his hat, he begins asking all of the other animals around him if they’ve seen it. Did someone steal it? Did he misplace it? Will he ever find it? How foolish does he feel when he talks to someone WEARING HIS HAT?! Jon Klassen’s books are easy to read and easy to understand. And they are perfect for getting kids to ask questions. After all, there are SO many! 
Mentor text with text "Tuesday" and graphic organizer with text "Asking Questions"

Tuesday

David Wiesner is the master at wordless picture books. I’ve used many of them to help my students ask questions. They are also perfect because students of all reading abilities can practice the same skill. Tuesday is my favorite because it certainly sparks a hundred and one questions. When frogs begin flying through town on their lily pads on Tuesday night, your students will start jotting down a boatload of questions. Does this happen every Tuesday? Why is this happening? What do the people in town think? How can they make this stop? 

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.

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