Mentor Texts for Teaching Comprehension



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Mentor Texts for Teaching Comprehension

Picture books are a great tool to explicitly teach comprehension strategies. They tend to be short and are effective models for teaching various com­prehension strategies. They can be used as springboards for class discus­sions or as the foundation for a think-aloud. When I select mentor texts, I look for books that will serve as strong examples for the comprehension strategies that I want to teach. Titles in bold are from original bins; other titles were added over time.

Making Connections

I look for books with subject matter and story lines in which students can easily make connections (text to self, text to world, text to text).

Bang, Molly. 1999. When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry. New York:

Blue Sky.

Cooney, Barbara. 1991. Roxaboxen. New York: Scholastic.

DiSalvo-Ryan, Dyanne. 1991. Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen. New York:

Morrow Junior Books.

Ehrlich, Amy, ed. 1996. When I Was Your Age: Original Stories About GrowingUp. Cambridge: Candlewick.

Fletcher, Ralph. 1998. Flying Solo. New York: Clarion.

———— . 1997. Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring. New York:

Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

1995. Fig Pudding. New York: Bantam.

Fox, Mem. 1985. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. New York: Miller.

Frasier, Debra. 2000. Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster. San Diego: Harcourt

Brace Jovanovich.

Graves, Donald. 1996. Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash: Poems About



Growing Up. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.

Henkes, Kevin. 2000. Wemberly Worried. NewYork:Greenwillow.

————. 1990. Julius the Baby of the World. New York: Trumpet.

Houston, Gloria. 1992. My Great-Aunt Arizona. New York: Scholastic. Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. 2004. My Penguin Osbert. Cambridge: Candlewick.

Laminack, Lester. 2004. Saturdays and Teacakes. Atlanta: Peachtree.

Lichtenheld, Tom. 2003. What Are You So Grumpy About? New York: Little,

Brown.

Lithgow, John. 2000. The Remarkable Farkle McBride. New York: Simon&Schuster.



Little, Jean. 1986. Hey World, Here I Am! New York: HarperTrophy.

MacLachlan, Patricia. 1994. All the Places to Love. New York: HarperCollins. Palatini, Margie. 2000. Bedhead. New York: Scholastic.

Plourde, Lynn. 2002. School Picture Day. New York: Dutton Children's Books. Polacco, Patricia. 2002. When Lightning Comes in a Jar. New York: Philomel.

————. 1998. Thank You, Mr. Falker. New York: Scholastic.

————. 1994. My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother. New York: Aladdin.

————. 1991. Some Birthday! New York: Simon & Schuster.

Rylant, Cynthia. 1985. The Relatives Came. New York: Scholastic.

————. 1982. When I Was Young in the Mountains. New York: E. P. Dutton. Seinfeld, Jerry. 2002. Halloween. Boston: Little, Brown.

Viorst, Judith. 2001. Super-Completely and Totally the Messiest. New York.Atheneum.

————. 1972. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. New York: Scholastic.



Visualization

To teach visualization, I look for books that paint pictures in the reader's mind through the author's use of vivid language.

Aliki. 1998. Spoken Memories. New York: Greenwillow.

Baylor, Byrd. 1986. I'm in Charge of Celebrations. New York: Charles Scribner. Benton, Jim. 2003. Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist. New York: Aladdin.

Brinkloe, Julie. 1985. Fireflies. New York: Aladdin.

Cameron, Ann. 1981. The Stories Julian Tells. New York: Bullseye.

Dorros, Arthur. 1991. Abuela. New York: Dutton Children's Books.

Dragonwagon, Crescent. 1990. Home Place. New York: Scholastic.

Fletcher, Ralph. 1997. Twilight Comes Twice. New York: Clarion.

————. 1997. Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Hoffman, Alice. 1997. Fireflies a Winter Tale. New York: Scholastic. London, Jonathan. 1999. Puddles. New York: Puffin.

————. 1998. Dream Weaver. New York: Silver Whistle.

Mazer, Anne. 1991. The Salamander Room. New York: Dragonfly.

Mowat, Parley. 1961. Owls in the Family. New York: Bantam Skylark.

Plourde, Lynn. 1999. Wild Child. New York: Aladdin.

Rylant, Cynthia. 1995. The Van Gogh Cafe. New York: Scholastic.

————. 1982. When I Was Young in the Mountains. New York: E. P. Button. Singer, Marilyn. 1994. Turtle in July. New York: Aladdin.

Worth, Valeric. 1987. All the Small Poems. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Zolotow, Charlotte. 1992. The Seashore Book. New York: HarperCollins.



Important Ideas

It is important for students to be able to identify the important ideas of a story. I find that nonfiction books work well. I also choose stories with top­ics that students might be less familiar with. It forces them to think about what they are reading and to sift through information to make meaning of the story.

Adkins, Jan. 2004. What If You Met a Pirate? Brookfield, CT: Roaring Brook.

Avi. 2003. Silent Movie. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Bridges, Ruby. 1999. Through My Eyes. New York: Scholastic.

Collard, Sneed. 1998. Animal Dazzlers: The Role of Brilliant Colors in Nature.

New York: Franklin Watts.

Farris, Christine King. 2003. My Brother Martin. New York: Scholastic.

Golenbock, Peter. 1990. Teammates. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Harwood, Lynne. 1994. Honeybees at Home. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House.

Hooper, Meredith. 2000. River Story. Cambridge: Candlewick.

Patterson, Dr. Francine. 1999. Koko-Love! Conversations with Koko. New York:

Dutton Children's Books.

Polacco, Patricia. 2003. The Graves Family. New York: Philomel.

————. 2001. Mr. Lincoln's Way. New York: Scholastic.

————. 1992. Chicken Sunday. New York: Paper Star Book.

————. 1992. Mrs. Katz and Tush. New York: Dell.

Shetterly, Susan. 1999. Shelterwood. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House.

Silver, Donald. 1993. One Small Square Backyard. New York: W. H. Freeman.

St. George, Judith. 2002. So You Want to Be an Inventor? New York: Philomel.

Woodson, Jacqueline. 2001. The Other Side. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.



Asking Questions

In finding mentor texts to teach the comprehension strategy of asking ques­tions, I look for books that evoke wonderings in students.

Abercrombie, Barbara. 1995. Charlie Anderson. New York: Aladdin. Baylor, Byrd. 1975. The Desert Is Theirs. New York: Aladdin.

Bunting, Eve. 2000. Swan in Love. New York: Atheneum.

————. 1999. Going Home. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1991. Fly Away Home. New York: Clarion.

————. 1990. The Wall. New York: Clarion.

————. 1989. The Wednesday Surprise. New York: Trumpet.

Cronin, Doreen. 2003. Diary of a Worm. New York: Joanna Coder.

Fleishman, Paul. 1993. Bull Run. New York: HarperTrophy.

Frasier, Debra. 2000. Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster. San Diego: Harcourt

Brace Jovanovich.

Greenfield, Eloise. 1978. Honey I Love. New York: Crowell.

Heide, Florence Parry, and Judith Heide Gilliland. 1990. The Day of Ahmed's



Secret. New York: Scholastic.

Hughes, Langston. 1994. The Dream Keeper and Other Poems. New York:

Knopf.

Madonna. 2003. Mr. Peabody's Apples. New York: Callaway. Mochizuki, Ken. 1993. Baseball Saved Us. New York: Lee and Low.



Nye, Naomi Shihab. 1996. This Same Sky. New York: Aladdin.

Polacco, Patricia. 2003. The Graves Family. New York: Philomel.

————. 1994. Pink and Say. New York: Philomel.

Pringle, Laurence. 1997. An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch



Butterfly. New York: Scholastic.

Rylant, Cynthia. 1995. The Van Gogh Cafe. San Diego: Harcourt BraceJovanovich.

————. 1988. All I See. New York: Orchard.

Van Allsburg, Chris. 1986. The Stranger. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.



Drawing Inferences

When teaching students to understand inferences, I tell them to read like a detective and to look for clues the author has left between the pages of the book to support their process of making meaning of the story. I look for books that lend themselves to strong class discussions.

Brinkloe, Julie. 1985. Fireflies. New York: Aladdin. Bunting, Eve. 1991. Fly Away Home. New York: Clarion.

————. 1988. How Many Days to America? New York: Clarion.

Golenbock, Peter. 1990. Teammates. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Polacco, Patricia. 1995. Babushka's Doll. New York: Aladdin.

Ringgold, Faith. 1991. Tar Beach. New York: Scholastic.

Schertle, Alice. 1994. How Now, Brown Cow? New York: Browndeer.

Van Allsburg, Chris. 2002. Zathura. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1993. The Sweetest Fig. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1992. The Widow's Broom. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1990. Just a Dream. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. -

————. 1988. Two Bad Ants. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Wargin, Kathy-jo. 2000. The Legend of the Loon. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear. Weisner, David. 1991. Tuesday. New York: Scholsatic.



Synthesizing Information

When choosing books to teach the strategy of synthesizing information I look for ones that force the reader think throughout the story. To gain understanding of the author's intent the reader must work beyond a literal interpretation of the text.

Abercrombie, Barbara. 1995. Charlie Anderson. New York: Aladdin.

Babbit, Natalie. 1975. Tuck Everlasting. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Baylor, Byrd. 1994. The Table Where Rich People Sit. New York: Aladdin.

Bourgeois, Paulette. 2001. Oma's Quilt. Toronto: Kids Can.

Bunting, Eve. 1994. Smoky Night. San Diego: Voyager.

Coles, Robert. 1995. The Story of Ruby Bridges. New York: Scholastic.

Hathorn, Libby. 1994. Way Home. New York: Crown.

Lobel, Arnold. 1980. Fables. New York: Harper & Row.

Muth, Jon. 2002. The Three Questions Based on a Story by Leo Tolstoy. New

York: Scholastic.

Pallotta, Jerry. 2000. Dory Story. Watertown, MA: Talewinds.

Pinkney, Andrea. 2003. Fishing Day. New York: Hyperion.

Plourde, Lynn. 2003. Summer's Vacation. New York: Simon & Schuster.

————. 2002. Spring's Sprung. New York: Simon & Schuster.

————. 2001. Winter Waits. New York: Simon & Schuster.

————. 1999. Wild Child. New York: Aladdin.


Polacco, Patricia. 2001. Betty Doll. New York: Philomel. -
Ringgold, Faith. 1991. Tar Beach. New York: Scholastic.
Silverstein, Shel. 1964. The Giving Tree. New York: Harper & Row.
Van Allsburg, Chris. 2002. Zathura. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1995. Bad Day at River Bend. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1993. The Sweetest Fig. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1992. The Widow's Broom. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1991. The Wretched Stone. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1990. Just a Dream. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1988. Two Bad Ants. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1984. Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 1983. The Wreck of the Zephyr. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

————. 198l.Jumanji. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Wiesner, David. 1999. Sector 7. New York: Clarion.

Willems, Mo. 2003. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! New York: Hyperion.



Wisniewski, David. 1996. Golem. New York: Clarion.

Yolen, Jane. 1988. The Devil's Arithmetic. New York: Trumpet.


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