Mentor Text Reading Activities & Writing Prompts for Basics: Better Than Basal


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Why is this better than a basal? Because YOU get to choose the order and even the skills you want to cover with each book! A GOOD mentor text will provide opportunities to teach or review a variety of skills, not the ONE the teacher manual says you have to teach.

This product is JAM-PACKED with Common Core aligned lesson ideas, activities, graphic organizers, and writing prompts for 40 of your favorite mentor texts to use in grades 3-5! (See the complete list below.) With over 100 graphic organizers WITH answer keys, you’ll be set for the year (and years after that, too)! It also includes the generic versions of the graphic organizers so you can use them with any book!

★ Activities are also provided as links to Google Slides for Digital Learning! ★

All of the lessons in this set are compiled from Volumes 1, 2, and 3. It accompanies the “Just the Basics” Mentor Sentences, which I had requests for from teachers who teach special education or students with very low grammar and writing skills.


Followers who use my Just the Basics Mentor Sentence Units asked how I use those books in reading and writing. Because of those requests, this product was born! (You do not have to use Mentor Sentences to use these activities in your classroom…)

Not familiar with mentor sentences? Read all about them here!

**Please LOOK AT THE PREVIEW to see all that is included!**
Activities cover skills such as:
Using evidence to describe, infer, and draw conclusions
Identifying and supporting theme
Identifying and supporting character traits
Explaining figurative language
Identifying vivid language
Supporting opinions
Comparing characters
Comparing texts to media and other texts
Defining words using context clues
…and more!

There is also a writing prompt for every book that ties to the theme, idea, or topic of the book.

Activities are for the following books:
Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna

The Adventures of Spider: How Spider Got a Thin Waist by Joyce Cooper Arkhurst

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco

Dear Juno by Soyung Pak

Fireboat by Maira Kalman

Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack

Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse

When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco

Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport

Titanicat by Marty Crisp

Cherries and Cherry Pits by Vera B. Williams

In My Momma’s Kitchen by Jerdine Nolen

Hey Little Ant! by Phillip M. Hoose

Verdi by Janell Cannon

The Snow Globe Family by Jane O’Connor

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian

Animals Nobody Loves by Seymour Simon

OWLS by Gail Gibbons

Fireflies! Julie Brinckloe

The Empty Pot by Demi

The Memory String by Eve Bunting

Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne

My School’s A Zoo! by Stu Smith

The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy

True Story of The Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff

Postcards from Pluto by Loreen Leedy

Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco

If you don’t own all these books, I encourage you to take advantage of your library! They are all wonderful texts to share with your students!

Want more information on how to use mentor texts in the classroom? You can check out my blog posts:

Mentor Texts: Maximize Your Time!
Picture Books Are For EVERYONE!!


★ Get the BIG bundle with all Just the Basics Mentor Sentences, Interactive Notebooks, Modifications, Vocabulary Activities, and Reading and Writing activities for all 40 mentor texts in the volume! Check out the Biggest and BEST Yearlong Bundle for Just the Basics!

You might also be interested in:

Launching Reading Workshop in Grades 3-5


There are three volumes for grades 3-5 to help prevent repetition of mentor sentence lessons among grades in the same school.

Check out what’s in Volume 1!
Check out what’s in Volume 2!
Check out what’s in Volume 3!

Mentor Sentences can be done in ALL grades! Please tell your teacher friends about mentor sentences for their grade:

Kindergarten & ELL (Early Emergent Readers)
First Grade
Second Grade

Please remember, this purchase is for the use of one teacher. It is not intended to be shared. Please use the ‘additional license’ purchase if more than one teacher will be using it. Thank you!

Copyright © 2013-2016 Ideas By Jivey, LLC
All rights reserved by author, Jessica Ivey.
Permission to copy for single classroom use only.
Electronic distribution limited to single classroom use only.
Not for public display.

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