Mentor Texts {Making Connections}

A few days ago I shared on Instagram (@4theloveofteaching) that I just ordered 25 mentor texts on Amazon to add to my collection. A few people were interested in what titles I ordered for which strategies so that gave me the idea to blog about each strategy and each mentor text.

Note: I have not read all of these books. I spent a lot of time researching books to use as mentor texts and came up with a list. Some are new to me while others I've used/read. I only ordered a few texts for each strategy to begin with. I would LOVE if y'all would share mentor texts with me, too! I am always on the lookout for good books.

The first strategy we will look at is making connections. I've always felt like this is an easy strategy to teach and an easy strategy for students to grasp. Here are some mentor texts that I will use for this strategy.

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
Summary from Amazon: When Trisha starts school, she can't wait to learn how to read, but the letters just get jumbled up. She hates being different, and begins to believe her classmates when they call her a dummy. Then, in fifth grade, Mr. Falker changes everything. He sees through her sadness to the gifted artist she really is. And when he discovers that she can't read, he helps her prove to herself that she can - and will!

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Summary from Amazon: Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair.
And it got worse....His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!

Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher
Summary from Curled Up Kids: Fifth-grader Cliff Abernathy has come to realize that being the oldest of six children is not just fun and games. The position comes with responsibilities. His parents expect him to help monitor the behavior of his little brothers and younger sister, and he is often in trouble for falling down on the job. He definitely enjoys the perks of being the oldest, but sometimes he wonders if they are really a good trade-off for the extra work his parents expect of him.

I also LOVE to have students make connections across content areas. My favorite thing to integrate is Reading and Social Studies. Two years ago, I taught and planned for a full integration of Social Studies and Reading. In South Carolina, students in 5th grade learned about history from Reconstruction to present day. Between teaching 4th and 5th grade in SC and learning GA standards (I haven't taught SS here in GA yet), I've taught everything from Native Americans to present day history. We read most of these during Reading (some in SS) and we made SO many wonderful connections! I am sure I'm leaving a few out, but here is a list to get started if you want to integrate and have student make connections.

American Revolution:
  • The Secret Soldier

Civil War:
  • Steal Away Home
  • Follow the Drinking Gourd
  • Henry's Freedom Box
  • Freedom Crossing
  • Pink and Say
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges

  • Forty Acres & Maybe a Mule

  • Coming to America
  • Dreaming of America,

Industrial Revolution:
  • A River Ran Wild
  • Lyddie

1920's - 1930's:
  • Bud, Not Buddy
  • The Mighty Miss Malone

  • Christmas in the Trenches
  • Number the Stars
  • Journey Home
  • Journey to Topaz
  • So Far From the Sea
  • Baseball Saved Us
  • Star of Fear, Star of Hope

  • Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot (Berlin Airlift)
  • The Sign of the Beaver (18th century - Native Americans)

What books (picture books or chapter books) do you use for teaching the strategy making connections?

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