Mentor Text Reading Activities & Writing Prompts for Volume 3: Better Than Basal


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Categories: , Grade Levels: , , Yearlong Curriculum: Mentor Text Unit:


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! ★

Several of my followers who use my Volume 3 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!

You might also be interested in the Volume 3 Vivid Vocabulary Companion Bundle: includes vocabulary activities to use the words IN CONTEXT from the same books in all the mentor sentence sets.

**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. There is a free download of the “At-A-Glance” for all 40 books in Volume 3! This download will help you see all of the skills covered in Volume 3 units if you’d like to “bounce around” within the units.

Activities are for the following books:
-Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
-Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna
-The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
-The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter
-Dear Juno by Soyung Pak
-Fireboat by Maira Kalman
-In My Momma’s Kitchen by Jerdine Nolen
-Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant
-Encounter by Jane Yolen
-Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher
-The Empty Pot by Demi
-Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People’s Ears by Verna Aardema
-Thank You, Sarah by Laura Halse Anderson
-A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe
-The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
-Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
-Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
-Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
-Cherries and Cherry Pits by Vera B. Williams
-The Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume
-Salt In His Shoes by Deloris Jordan
-Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
-Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
-Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull
-Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
-Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman
-The Royal Bee by Frances and Ginger Park
-Hey, Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose
-My Mama Had a Dancing Heart by Libba Gray
-Up North at the Cabin by Marsha Wilson Chall
-Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena
-Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting
-Night of the Veggie Monster by George McClements
-Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
-Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
-Cindy Ellen by Susan Lowell
-Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting
-Bigmama’s by Donald Crews
-When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant
-The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley

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!!


All of the books in this pack also have mentor sentence lessons you can find HERE in the Volume 3 Bundle.

Get the BIG bundle with all Volume 3 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 Volume 3!

Looking for MORE mentor text lessons? There is also a VOLUME 1 Better Than Basal and a VOLUME 2 Better Than Basal!!

You might also be interested in:

NO PREP Nonfiction Reading and Writing Mini-Unit for Informational Texts
Launching Reading Workshop in Grades 3-5


There is a Volume 1 and 2 Better Than Basal for grades 3-5.

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

There is also a Second Grade Better Than Basal! Check out what’s in the 2nd Grade Version!

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 © 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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