List of Mentor Text

for Writer’s Workshop


Fiction K-2 Mini-Lessons with Mentor Text

Using Illustrations to Convey Information:                A Medieval Feast, by Aliki

                                                                                  A Chair for My Mother, by Vera B. Williams

The Repeating Line:                                                 The Doorbell Rang, by Pat Hutchins

Beginning, Middle, and End(1):                               Fireflies!, by Julie Brinckloe

New Ways to Write About an Old Topic:                  Fireflies!, by Julie Brinckloe

                                                                                 Fireflies in the Night, by Judy Hawes

Match Words with the Picture:                                 Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathmann

                                                                                The Gardener, by Sarah Stewart


Nudging Students to Move Beyond

     “List” and “Love” Stories:                                    Where Are You Going, Little Mouse?, by Robert Kraus

                                                                                Who’s Mouse Are You, by Robert Kraus

                                                                                The Important Book, by Margaret Wise

Surprise Endings:                                                   Just Like Daddy, by Frank Asch

Cause and Effect:                                                   Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, By Kevin Barbour

                                                                               Old Henry, by Joan W. Blos

How to Pace a Story:                                              Little Nino’s Pizzeria, by Karen Barbour

Use Your Voice When You Write:                          My Five Senses, by Aliki

Using Details to Describe the Setting:                   My Little Island, by Frank Lessac

Using “Talk Bubbles”:                                            The Popcorn Book, by Tomie de Paola

Writing a Strong Lead:                                           Sitti’s Secret, by Naomi Shihab Nye

Describing Setting:                                                Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold

                                                                              Up North at the Cabin, Marsha Wilson Chall

Writing Through a Mask:                                       Sierra, by Diane Siebert

Non-Fiction K-2 Mini-Lessons with Mentor Text

Repeating a Key Line:                                          The Sun Is My Favorite Star, by Frank Asch


Speaking Directly to the Reader:                          Bats! Strange and Wonderful, by Laurence Pringle

Making a Diagram:                                               Bugs, by Nancy Winslow Parker       

                                                                             My Map, by Sara Fanelli

Exploratory:  Talking Before You Write:               Kids at Work:  Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child

                                                                                      Labor, by Russell Freedman

                                                                             Century Farm:  One Hundred Years on a Family Farm,

                                                                                       by Cris Peterson

Adding Supporting Details:                                   Exploding Ants:  Amazing Facts About How Animals Adapt,

                                                                                       by Joanne Settel

Labeling a Picture:                                                Feathers for Lunch, by Lois Ehlert

                                                                             The Honey Makers, by Gail Gibbons

                                                                             Sea Turtles, by Gail Gibbons

Using Comparisons:                                             The Honey Makers, by Gail Gibbons

                                                                             Sea Turtles, by Gail Gibbons

Writing an Alphabet Information Book:                The Freshwater Alphabet Book, by Jerry Pallotta

Exploratory:  Observing the World:                      If You Find a Rock, by Peggy Christian


A Teaching Book:                                                 I Want to Be an Astronaut, by Bryon Barton

Writing Through a Mask:                                      Sierra, by Diana Siebert

Designing a Question/Answer Book:                   Who Hoots?, by Katie Davis

Fiction 3-4 Mini-Lessons with Mentor Text

Using Strong Verbs:                                            John Henry, by Julius Lester

                                                                            Brave Irene,  by William Steig

                                                                            Amos and Borris, by William Steig

Person vs. Nature:                                              Brave Irene, by William Steig

Surprise Endings:                                               Charlie Anderson, by Barbara Abercrombie

                                                                           White Dynamite and Curly Kidd, by Bill Martin Jr., and John


Experiment with Endings:                                   Fig Pudding, by Ralph Fletcher

Crafting a Title:                                                   My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, by Patricia Polacco

                                                                           Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan

                                                                           Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say

Using Sensory Details:                                      Working Cotton, by Sherley Anne Williams

                                                                           Night in the Country, by Cynthia Rylant

                                                                           Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen

                                                                           Twilight Comes Twice, by Ralph Fletcher

Using a Parallel Story:                                       The Paperboy, by Dav Pilkey


The Circular Ending:                                          The Paperboy, by Dav Pilkey

Creating a Dramatic Scene:                              Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan

                                                                          The Stories Julian Tells, by Ann Cameron

Sharpening the Focus:                                      Thunder Cake, by Patricia Polacco

                                                                          Song and Dance Man, by Karen Ackerman

Writing with Voice:                                             Honey, I Love, by Eloise Greenfield

                                                                          Stevie, by John Steptoe

Narrowing the Time Focus:                               Twilight Comes Twice, by Ralph Fletcher

Crafting a Lead:                                                Wilma Unlimited, by Kathleen Krull

Time Focus:                                                      Working Cotton, Sherley Anne Williams


The Give-Away Lead:                                        Louis the Fish, by Arthur Yorinks

Describe the Setting:                                         Working Cotton, Sherley Anne Williams

Non-Fiction 3-4 Mini-Lessons with Mentor Text

Using Supporting Details and Examples:          Animal Dads, by Sneed B Collard III

Putting the Reader into Your Writing:               Are You a Snail?, by Judy Allen

Describing Your Subject:                                  Dakota Dugout, by Ann Turner

Writing a Book Blurb:                                        Fig Pudding, by Ralph Fletcher

                                                                          Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea, by Cynthia Rylant

                                                                          Day of the Dragon King, by Mary Pope Osborne

Selecting Fascinating Facts:                             A Drop of Water:  A Book of Science and Wonders,

                                                                                    by Walter Wick

Writing Subtitles That Teach:                            It’s Disgusting and We Ate It!  True Food Facts from Around the

                                                                          World and Throughout History, by James Solheim   

                                                                          Exploding Ants:  Amazing Facts About How Animals Adapt,

                                                                                     by Joanne Settel

Using Repetition for Emphasis:                        Fish Face, by Norbert Wu

Creating a Glossary:                                        Geography from A to Z:  A Picture Glossary, by Jack Knowlton

Writing a Caption for a Photograph or Drawing:    The Great Fire, by Jim Murphy

Including Detailed Drawings:                            The Great Kapok Tree, by Lynne Cherry

Attending to Setting:                                          Into the Sea, by Brenda Z. Guiberson

Jazzing Up Your Title:                                       It’s Disgusting and We Ate It!  True Food Facts from Around the

                                                                                    World and Throughout History, by James Solheim   

Putting Voice into Nonfiction Writing:                Wolves, by Seymour Simon

Using Strong Verbs:                                          Workshop, by Andrew Clements

Fiction 5-8 Mini-Lessons with Mentor Text

Selecting the Right Leads:                                The Barn, by Avi

                                                                          The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

                                                                          Poppy, by Avi

Flashback/Time Transitions:                             Yolanda’s Genius, by Carol Fenner

                                                                          Wringer, by Jerry Spinelli

                                                                          Belle Prater’s Boy, by Ruth White

Finding a Focus(1):                                           Bigmama’s, by Donald Crews

                                                                          Shortcut, by Donald Crews

                                                                          Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan

Using Surprising Imagery:                                Parrot in the Oven:  Mi Vida, by Victor Martinez

                                                                         The Borning Room, by Paul Fleischman

The Recurring Line:                                          Chicken Sunday, by Patricia Polacco

                                                                         Mrs. Katz and Tush, by Patricia Polacco

Describing a Character(1):                               A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote

Describing a Character(2):                               Yolanda’s Genius, by Carol Fenner

Length of Story for 5th Grade (page 76):          Faithful Elephants, by Yukio Tsuchiya

Name a Place or Character:                             What Jamie Saw, by Carolyn Coman

                                                                          Fig Pudding, by Ralph Fletcher

Internal Conflict:                                                Flying Solo, by Ralph Fletcher

Setting to Reveal Character:                            Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick

                                                                         What Jamie Saw, by Carolyn Camon

Experimenting with Symbolism:                       My Great-Aunt Arizona, by Gloria Houston

Setting That Shapes the Action:                      Phoenix Rising, by Karen Hesse

                                                                        Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse

Using Flashback:                                            Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan

Adding Setting to a Scene:                             A Sense of Where You Are, by John McPhee

Refining Your Title:                                        Wilma Unlimited, by Kathleen Krull

                                                                       Smoky Night, by Eve Bunting

Writing Through a Mask:                                Sierra, by Diane Siebert

The Circular Ending:                                      Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt

Describing a Character Through Gesture:    The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963,

                                                                                 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Writing the No-Time Narrative:                      When I Was Young in the Mountains, by Cynthia Rylant

Non-Fiction 5-8 Mini-Lessons with Mentor Text

Putting Tension in Your Title:                        The Perfect Storm:  A True Story of Men Against the Sea,

                                                                                 by Sebastian Junger

                                                                      The Bone Detectives, by Donna M. Jackson

Describing Your Subject:                               Everglades, by Jean Craighead George

Using Humor:                                                The Math Curse, by Jon Scieszka

Writing a Narrative Lead:                               She’s Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head, by Kathryn Lasky

Integrating Personal Experience into an

      Expository Text:                                       Yukon River, by Peter Lourie

Mini-Lessons from Ralph Fletcher’s Craft Lesson Books with a list of Mentor Text Available in Your Literacy Room.