Not too long ago, I overheard a conversation between teachers about whether it was appropriate to use picture books in 5th and 6th grade... I was totally eavesdropping, and if that wasn't already rude enough, it would have been super rude to butt into their conversation and scream, "YES!!! USE PICTURE BOOKS!!!!!!!" So, I held my tongue there, but I don't have to hold it here. :)
I had a "books of the month" shelf in my 4th grade classroom that I would fill with seasonal picture books- all of my students (higher and lower level readers alike) LOVED to visit that shelf! That is one reason I include seasonal books in my mentor sentence units. As if you needed an excuse to read a fun book like Polar Express or I Need My Monster, right?
But besides that, here are FOUR great reasons you should be using mentor texts in your room:
Better Than Basal Volume 1 and Volume 2 was born!) They make great examples when writing memoirs, too. Patricia Polacco has some awesome books to demonstrate small moment writing, like My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother.
Firefly Mountain, Twilight Comes Twice, and Come On Rain are some great ones that come to mind.
Encounter. Teaching the American Revolution? Katie's Trunk is awesome! If you are teaching about weather, Cloud Dance and Water Dance are excellent additions! I even have an entire set of Mentor Sentences for Math Literature! We know there isn't enough time in the school day to read a book before every lesson (as much as we'd like to) so spread that book as much as you can!
Need to build up your library? Check out this post about Buying Books on a Budget!