Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Favorite Writer's Workshop Mentor Texts

As I was reading over some of my Writer's Workshop lessons, I thought I would  share the mentor texts that I love to use for some different writing mini-lessons.  You probably have seen and use most of them, but every so often you  happen to come across a new one you may have SOMEHOW missed. I hate missing out on any good books- and would hate for you to miss out on any either, so just in case... here you go! ( You are welcome, Amazon... )

Before we begin writing, I do lots of sketching and drawing with my class. The children's first book is an "I Can Draw" book.  We do lessons on drawing horizontal lines, vertical lines, zig zag lines, curves, and drawing shapes.  We draw settings.  One day we draw a bedroom with everything we can think of that might be in a bedroom.  We do this as an interactive lesson, and label the items with at least one letter by each item.  Then, when the children do it on their own, they are in the habit of labeling already.  We also draw a kitchen, a farm, a playground- anyplace you can think of that allows for lots of detail.

This book is a wonderful early introduction to Writer's Workshop and sketching:

 The children can see so many imaginative ideas to make from a box- or rectangle!

BUT - I discovered it too late. I was ready to do my shape sketching and have the children make wonderful things out of their shapes-  and didn't have this book yet. (You can get it from Scholastic, by the way- and I have it ordered.)  Thank you, YouTube! Look what I found-

The Dot and Ish are great for your "I can't draw" kids. 
(The Dot is on YouTube, too.  We watch Ish on Tumblebooks sometimes, too.  But it is still fun to READ it to them! :)

I love using the Doodle books. These are great for morning work:
(some samples:)
 This book looks fun- but I haven't tried it.

Library Mouse (the original) is my favorite way to introduce to the children that they are authors. I always use it to introduce Writer's Workshop.
I have this box out, just like in the story, and they love to look at the "author" in the mirror.  If they get frustrated, I have them go check the box to remind them WHO is an author!
(I just cut a hole in the middle of the shoe box that I covered and put a mirror on the inside.)

Harold is a great way to introduce how to care for our materials.  He only had his purple crayon and had to be VERY careful of that crayon so that he could create all of his masterpieces and adventures.
This is another fun book to talk about how to use (and NOT use)  markers. 
I keep five sets of markers, pencils, pens, colored pencils, and crayons in the white bins.  I have very little storage in my class ( have I mentioned that a time or two-hundred??) so I keep the writing bins on these wire racks.  The top bin has blank books in it.  My pictures above are from Erin Dowling's TPT Store.  The Math I Can Statements are hers, too.  I change them depending on the standards we are working on.  I love her things!

This is just a fun story about being an author!
Here are some other topics...

These books are great to teach the students to try their best and not worry about mistakes!  Such great mini lessons!


These books are great to teach the importance of using spaces, because the animals don't leave any space on the seesaw.  You can have a good conversation about the importance of space on the rug, in line, on the seesaw like the animals, or in writing!  They are also similar stories and great to use for making connections.
These are other fun "spacing" books.


Exclamation Points:
(All time favorite, yes indeed!
Actually, this book is wonderful for teaching all of the punctuation marks.)

 Quotation Marks:

This book is also good to use to make connections with The Little Red Hen.
Ellipsis: (My kids become a little obsessed with noticing every ellipsis in every book. Maybe because I do, too... I just want to know, "WHAT'S COMING?!)

Question Mark:

Speech Bubbles:

 (You can never, ever go wrong with ANY Piggie and Elephant book.)

Beginning/Middle/End, Retelling, Sequencing:

The Falling  Raindrop is a sweet, simply illustrated book that tells the journey of a little raindrop happily falling from the sky- to suddenly horrified that he is falling toward a fire!  The simple illustrations show the children that just the little expression on the raindrop is enough for us to know exactly how it is feeling.  It is a great little water cycle book, too.

Fun Text! (SIZE, direction, motion...)
 (ANY Donald Crews books! I love his BOLD words and sound words. )
There are so many beautiful books that I love to use for illustrations- so rich and detailed. I love to use Eric Carle and other unique illustrators that the children grow to quickly recognize. This book may be one of my most favorites. You can tell by the cover how beautifully Bob Graham uses color to  highlight exactly where he wants his reader to focus.  Plus, the book is precious.
Helping Each Other:
I love this story- for Character Education, too.  The birds have a contest to see who can fly the highest. While the eagle is sure he will win, the wren sneaks a ride in the eagle's feathers and pops out at the last minute to fly just a bit higher and win the contest.  We talk about how reading each other's stories and asking good questions or giving helpful ideas can make us just a little bit better each time- better than we even thought we could be!
Moving Beyond Simple Stories- S t r e t c h i n g:
Writing Letters:
 Editing and Revising:

I hope you found some new books to check out. Sometimes that is just fun!  
Enjoy the rest of the week!


  1. Thank you for the list. This will be helpful next year.

  2. Wow! This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you for your post. I'm your newest follower!

    Shifting Teacher K-2

  3. Great ideas, thank you! Do you use the Lucy Calkins Writing Program?

  4. What an incredibly inspiring and supportive list. Just what I needed...


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