Fall Mentor Texts for BIG KIDS! (plus some useful tips for using them!)


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Fall texts are some of the best texts, am I right?? I LOVE using mentor texts in my upper elementary classroom. Not only do they make lessons more fun, they help develop reading concepts on a deeper level. 

In this post I’ve rounded up my current favorite mentor texts to use in the fall. PLUS I’ve shared some tips for using them with specific reading skills. 

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One Green Apple: Theme, Lesson, and/or Central Message

By: Eve Bunting

Farah is a new student in a new country. She doesn’t speak English and feels extremely uncomfortable on a field trip to an apple orchard. But through shared experiences the student begin to understand each other, even with the language barrier. When looking for a mentor text for theme, I choose books with a strong message. This makes it easier for students to notice as they learn. This text has just that! There are strong and noticeable messages about immigration, friendship, neighborliness, hospitality, etc. 

Hello Harvest Moon: Figurative Language, Visualization

By: Ralph Fletcher

The text tells the story of the harvest moon and how it affects the world with it’s light. It is BEAUTIFULLY written and illustrated with strong figurative language throughout. After just a quick skim I noticed imagery, personification, similes, metaphors, and more! This text would also be perfect to use when teaching visualization. Discuss how the author’s use of figurative language “paints a picture” in his reader’s minds. 

The Scarecrow: Sequence 

By: Beth Ferry 

This text describes the unlikely friendship between a crow and a scarecrow. When teaching sequencing, it’s best to use texts with a strong beginning, middle, and end. The Scarecrow has that and more! The is a cyclical, almost circle of life pattern to the plot. This helps students visualize the sequence easily. 

Creepy Carrots: Point of View, Tone/Mood

By: Aaron Reynolds

This text is so fun to use around Halloween. It gives the “creepy” factor without being overtly holiday themed. Jasper Rabbit and the carrots have a bit of a “misunderstanding” in this mentor text. This makes compare/contrast of the two points of view super easy. You can also do a quick lesson on tone/mood with this mentor text. Discuss how the author and illustrator use vocabulary, sentence structure, and illustrations to create the “creepy’ mood. 

PS--Check out my FULL DAY of lesson plans to accompany Creepy Carrots. This is the perfect set of plans to keep your class learning and having fun!

You can also try out my comprehension questions for Creepy Carrots here!

The Ugly Pumpkin: Summarizing 

By: Dave Horowitz

This is the Thanksgiving book you didn’t see coming. An ugly pumpkin finds himself “left over” and unwanted after Halloween. After a quick search for belonging, he discovers he is not a pumpkin, but a squash! This mentor text follows a clear sequence and has a strong message to readers. This makes it easy to use with summarizing. I typically teach the SWBST and gist patterns of summarizing and this text is easy to use with those. 

Have I missed any of your favorites? I’d love for you to share them with me over on my instagram or website!

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