As you plan your mini-lessons for reader’s workshop, you’ll want to keep this massive list of mentor texts for reading handy.

Doing so will save you much time – no need to search endlessly for books each time you plan to teach a new reading skill or strategy to your elementary students.

Though this list isn’t exhaustive (There are TONS of amazing mentor text examples for reading available, but it would be crazy to list them all!), these mentor texts for reading comprehension provide a great base of books for your elementary classroom’s literacy block, each book with its own powerful examples of a particular targeted reading skill.

These reading selections/picture books suit grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 best.

For ease, the mentor texts within this list are categorized by reading skill/strategy.

Table of Contents for Mentor Texts for Reading

  • Author’s Purpose
  • Cause and Effect
  • Character Traits
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Context Clues
  • Fact and Opinion
  • Main Idea
  • Point of View
  • Retelling/Summarizing
  • Setting
  • Sequencing
  • Story Elements
  • Text Features
  • Theme
  • Questioning
  • Making Inferences
  • Making Connections
  • Predicting
  • Visualizing

Bookmark this page so that you have it on hand as you plan for reader’s workshop.

Related: For read aloud books that teach to specific writing skills and genres, take a look at our list of mentor texts for elementary writing.

And if you’re currently in the process of planning for the start of the school year, see our collection of back-to-school ideas, tips, and resources.

Mentor Texts for Reading Skills

Author’s Purpose

  • Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs (Kathleen V. Kudlinski, S.D. Schindler) – inform
  • Earrings (Judith Viorst) – persuade
  • Gail Gibbons beautifully-illustrated nonfiction book series – inform
  • George Washington and the Genera’s Dog (Frank Murphy) – entertain, inform
  • Hey, Little Ant (Phillip M. Hoose) – persuade
  • I Wanna Iguana (Karen Kaufman Orloff, David Catrow) – persuade
  • If the World Were a Village (David J. Smith) – inform
  • Mr. Peabody’s Apples (Madonna) – educate
  • Rotten Teeth (Laura Simms, David Catrow) – entertain
  • The Secret Knowledge of Grownups (David Wisniewski) – entertain
  • The True Story of the Three Pigs (Jon Scieszca) – persuade, entertain
  • The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps (Jeannette Winter) – inform

Cause and Effect

  • A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon)
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School (Davide Cali, Benjamin Chaud)
  • Ada Twist, Scientist (Andrea Beaty)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst)
  • The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery (Sandra Markle)
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (Doreen Cronin)
  • The Cloud Spinner (Michael Catchpool)
  • The Cow Tripped Over the Mood: A Nursery Rhyme Emergency (Jeanne Willis, Joel Stewart)
  • The Dot (Peter H. Reynolds)
  • The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
  • I Want My Hat Back (Jon Klassen)
  • If you Give a Moose a Muffin (Laura Numeroff)
  • Just a Dream (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)
  • No David! (David Shannon)
  • One (Kathryn Otoshi)
  • Paul Revere’s Ride (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ted Rand)
  • Pig the Pug (Aaron Blabey)
  • Please Mr. Panda (Steve Antony)
  • The Rain Came Down (David Shannon)
  • The Red Bicycle (Jude Isabella)
  • Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day (Jennifer George)
  • Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille (Jen Bryant)
  • The Stranger (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Stuck (Oliver Jeffers)
  • The Three Questions (Jon J. Muth)
  • The Visitor (Antje Damm)
  • This Is Not My Hat (Jon Klassen)
  • Whistle for Willie (Ezra Jack Keats)
  • Who Was Rosa Parks? (Yona Zeldis McDonough, Stephen Marchesi)

Mentor Texts for Character Traits

  • A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez (David A. Adler, Michael S. Adler)
  • Ada Twist, Scientist (Andrea Beaty, David Roberts)
  • Amazing Grace (Mary Hoffman)
  • The Ant and the Grasshopper (Story by Aesop)
  • The Art Lesson (Tomie dePaola)
  • The Can Man (Laura E. Williams)
  • Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes)
  • Enemy Pie (Derek Munson)
  • The Fox and the Grapes (Book by Aesop)
  • Ginny Goblin Is Not Allowed To Open This Box (David Goodner)
  • Harry the Dirty Dog (Gene Zion)
  • Henry’s Freedom Box (Ellen Levine)
  • I’m Sorry (Barry Timms)
  • The Invisible Boy (Trudy Ludwig)
  • Ira Sleeps Over (Bernard Waber)
  • Jamaica’s Find (Juanita Havill)
  • Knots on a Counting Rope (John Archambault, Bill Martin, Jr.)
  • The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors (Drew Daywalt)
  • Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (Kevin Henkes)
  • Love, Z (Jessie Sima)
  • Max the Brave (Ed Vere)
  • The Name Jar (Yangsook Choi)
  • The Night I Followed the Dog (Nina Laden)
  • Not Norman (Kelly Bennett)
  • Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein (Don Brown)
  • Page by Paige (Laura Lee Gulledge)
  • The Panda Problem (Deborah Underwood)
  • The Potato Chip Champ (Maria Cini Dismondy)
  • The Recess Queen (Alexis O’Neill)
  • My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother (Patricia Polacco)
  • Sophie’s Masterpiece: A Spider’s Tale (Eileen Spinelli, Jane Dyer)
  • Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are (Maria Cini Dismondy)
  • The Tortoise and the Hare (Book by Aesop)
  • Town Mouse and Country Mouse (Jan Brett)
  • The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps (Jeanette Winter)
  • We’re All Wonders (R.J. Palacio)
  • Wemberly Worried (Kevin Henkes)
  • The Who Was Series – various authors
  • The Word Collector (Peter H. Reynolds)
  • You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! (Jonah Winter)

Compare and Contrast

  • Always in Trouble (Corinne Demas)
  • Apples and Oranges: Going Bananas with Pairs (Sara Pinto)
  • Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks! (Nancy Loewen) – compare with classic version of Goldilocks or another version.
  • Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella (Tony Johnston) – compare with classic story of Cinderella or other versions of Cinderella
  • Lon Po Po (Ed Young) – compare with classic version of Little Red Riding Hood
  • The Princess and the Pizza (Mary Jane Auch) – compare the elements in this text with the standard elements of a classic fairy tale.
  • Seriously, Cinderella Is So Annoying (Trisha Speed Shaskan) – compare with classic story of Cinderella.
  • Tight Times (Barbara Shook Hazen)
  • When I was Young in the Mountains (Cynthia Rylant)

A Note About Mentor Texts for Compare and Contrast

With these particular mentor texts for reading, you can…

  • Compare and contrast two stories by various authors.
  • Contrast/compare books in a series like the Magic Tree House, Ready, Freddy!, Cam Jansen, Junie B. Jones, Dyamonde Daniel, etc.
  • Compare and contrast two texts by the same author such as Patricia Polacco, Robert Munsch, Kevin Henkes, Gail Gibbons, or Roald Dahl.
  • Analyze the differences and similarities between books and their movie versions such as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Charlotte’s Web.

For more great examples of mentor texts for compare and contrast, see these book selections for teaching comparative thinking.

Context Clues

  • A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon)
  • Amelia Bedelia series (Peggy Parish)
  • Animalia (Graeme Base)
  • Baloney, Henry P. (Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith)
  • The Boy Who Loved Words (Roni Schotter)
  • Brave Irene (William Steig)
  • Dear Mrs. LaRue (Mark Teague)
  • Fancy Nancy’s Favorite Fancy Words (Jane O’Connor)
  • Grandfather’s Journey (Allen Say)
  • I Stink! (Kate and Jim McMullan) 
  • Lon Po Po (Ed Young)
  • Miss Alaineus (Debra Frasier)
  • Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters (John Steptoe)
  • Owl Moon (Jan Yolen)
  • Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What Are Similes and Metaphors? (Brian P. Cleary)
  • Skippyjon Jones (Judith Byron Schachner)
  • Small Saul (Ashley Spires)
  • The Sun Played Hide-and-Seek: A Personification Story (Brian P. Cleary)
  • Weslandia (Paul Fleischman)
  • What’s Mite Might? (Giulio Maestro)
  • Zomo the Rabbit (Gerald McDermott)

A Note About Mentor Texts for Context Clues

An engaging activity that dives deep into helping 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade learners tackle context clues is Guess the Covered Word.

Fact and Opinion Mentors Texts

  • A Pet for Miss Wright (Judy Young)
  • Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday (Judith Viorst)
  • Any Pet Will Do (Nancy Shouse)
  • Cats vs. Dogs (Elizabeth Carney)
  • Do You Really Want A Guinea Pig? (Bridget Heos)
  • Do You Really Want a Lizard? (Bridget Heos)
  • Do You Really Want a Snake? (Bridget Heos)
  • Do You Really Want a Turtle? (Bridget Heos)
  • Do You Really Want to Meet a Polar Bear? (Marcie Aboff)
  • Do You Really Want to Meet a Shark? (Cari Meister)
  • Do You Really Want to Visit a Desert? (Bridget Heos)
  • Earrings! (Judith Viorst)
  • Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots (Michael Rex)
  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear (Lindsay Mattick)
  • Frog (Gail Gibbons)
  • I Want a Cat: My Opinion Essay (Darcy Pattison)
  • I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay (Darcy Pattison)
  • The Important Book (Margaret Wise Brown)
  • In My Opinion (Deb Bird)
  • Like Jake and Me (Mavis Jukes)
  • Mr. Fact & Miss Opinion (Melissa Polyakov, Yana Gruntkovskaya)
  • Rattlesnake Dance: True Tales, Mysteries, and Rattlesnake Ceremonies (Jennifer Owings Dewey)
  • Shrek! (William Steig)
  • Somebody and the Three Blairs (Marilyn Tolhurst)
  • Stellaluna (Janell Cannon)
  • The Stinky Cheeseman (Jon Scieszka)
  • Verdi (Janell Cannon)
  • Video Games, Yes or No (Erin Palmer)

Mentor Texts for Main Idea

Accompany these main idea mentor texts for reading workshop with these hands-on main idea teaching ideas.

  • A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon)
  • A Bike Like Sergio’s (Maribeth Boelts, Noah Z. Jones)
  • An Egg is Quiet (Dianna Hutts Atson)
  • Animals Nobody Loves (Seymour Simon)
  • Bee Dance (Rick Chrustowski)
  • Big Blue Whale: Read and Wonder (Nicola Davies, Nick Maland)
  • Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes)
  • Enemy Pie (Derek Munson)
  • Fireflies (Julie Brinckloe)
  • The Great Kapok Tree (Lynne Cherry)
  • Here to There and Me to You (Cheryl Keely)
  • I Lost My Tooth in Africa (Baba Wague Diakite, Penda Diakite)
  • The Important Book (Margaret Wise Brown)
  • Max’s Words (Kate Banks)
  • Military Animals (Laurie Calkhoven)
  • Miss Rumphius (Barbara Cooney)
  • The Recess Queen (Alexis O’Neill)
  • She Persisted (Chelsea Clinton)
  • Sheila Rae, the Brave (Kevin Henkes)
  • Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are (Maria Cini Dismondy)
  • Spoon (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
  • Strange and Wonderful series (Laurence Pringle)
  • Super Swimmers (Caroline Arnold)
  • Swimmy (Leo Lionni)
  • Thanksgiving is Here! (Diane Goode)
  • Those Shoes (Maribeth Boelts)
  • Tops & Bottoms (Janet Stevens)
  • Who Has These Feet? (Laura Hulbert)

Books for Teaching Point of View

  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Philip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead)
  • Back of the Bus (Aaron Reynolds)
  • Black and White (David Macaulay)
  • Breaking Cat News: Cats Reporting on the News that Matters to Cats (Georgia Dunn)
  • Call Me Ahnighito (Pam Conrad)
  • The Cat Who Lived with Anne Frank (David Lee Miller and Steven Jay Rubin, Elizabeth Baddeley)
  • The Catawampus Cat (Jason Carter Eaton, Gus Gordon)
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home (Draw Daywalt)
  • The Day the Crayons Quit (Draw Daywalt)
  • The Day You Begin (Jacqueline Woodson)
  • Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (Mark Teague)
  • Dirty Laundry Pile: Poems in Different Voices (Paul Janeczko)
  • Duck! Rabbit! (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
  • Elephant in the Dark (Rumi, retold by Mina Javaherbin, Eugene Yelchin)
  • Frank and Laverne (Dave Whamod, Jennifer Stokes)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Caralyn Buehner)
  • Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad (Ellen Levine)
  • Hey, Little Ant (Hannah Hoose and Phillip Hoose)
  • I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat (Donald Hall)
  • I Am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices (Paul Fleischman)
  • I Wanna Iguana (Karen Kaufman Orloff)
  • I Will Fight Monsters for You (Santi Balmes, illustrates by Lyona)
  • Ira Sleeps Over (Bernard Waber)
  • It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk (Josh Funk, Edwardian Taylor)
  • Julian is a Mermaid (Jessica Love)
  • Memoirs of a Goldfish (Devin Scillian)
  • My Big Dog (Janet Stevens)
  • The Pain and the Great One (Judy Blume)
  • The Sandwich Swap (Queen Raniah of Jordan Al Abdullah)
  • School’s First Day of School (Adam Rex)
  • Seven Blind Mice (Ed Young)
  • Snappsy The Alligator Did Not Ask to Be in This Book (Julie Falatko, Tim Miller)
  • They All Saw a Cat (Brendan Wenzel)
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Jon Scieszka)
  • Three Hens and a Peacock (Lester Laminack)
  • Two Bad Ants (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-To-Be (Mini Grey)
  • Voices in the Park (Anthony Browne)
  • Wagons Ho! (George Hallowell and Joan Holub, Lynne Avril)
  • The Weird Series (Erin Frankel)
  • The Wolf’s Story: What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood (Toby Forward)

Retelling/Summarizing Mentor Texts

When you’re searching for these specific mentor texts for reading, keep in mind that just about any text leads itself well to helping elementary students summarize or retell information from parts of the book.

The following mentor texts for retelling/summarizing serve as great options for read alouds or small group example texts.

  • A Bad Case of the Stripes (David Shannon)
  • A Ball for Daisy (Chris Raschka)
  • A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams (Jennifer Bryant)
  • The Ant and the Grasshopper (Luli Gray)
  • Chalk (Bill Thompson)
  • Crab Moon (Ruth. Horowitz)
  • Drawn Together (Minh Le)
  • Enemy Pie (Derek Munson)
  • Flora and the Flamingo (Molly Idle)
  • Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras (Duncan Tonatiuh)
  • Good Night, Gorilla (Peggy Rathmann)
  • Hair Love (Matthew A. Cherry)
  • Hank Finds an Egg (Rebecca Dudley)
  • I Am Enough (Grace Byers)
  • Koala Lou (Mem Fox)
  • The Legend of Blue Bonnet (Tomi dePaola)
  • The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq (Jeanette Winter)
  • Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (Kevin Henkes)
  • The Lion and the Mouse (Jerry Pinkney)
  • The Magic Hat (Mem Fox)
  • The Napping House (Audrey & Don Wood)
  • The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (Jen Bryant and Jennifer Bryant)
  • Queen of the Falls (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Ralph Tells a Story (Abby Hanlon)
  • Shortcut (Donald Crews)
  • The Snowy Day (Erza Jack Keats)
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (William Steig)
  • The Tiny Seed (Eric Carle)
  • Tops and Bottoms (Janet Stevens)
  • The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever (H. Joseph Hopkins)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
  • The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps (Jeanette Winter)
  • We Don’t Eat Our Classmates (Ryan T. Higgins)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
  • Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears (Verna Aardema)
  • Widget (Lyn Rossiter McFarland)
  • Young Zeus (G. Brian Karas)

Setting

  • An Angel For Solomon Singer (Cynthia Rylant)
  • Aurora Means Dawn (Scott Sanders)
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Judi Barrett)
  • Canoe Day (Gary Paulsen)
  • Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails (Kay Verla)
  • Creepy Carrots (Aaron Reynolds)
  • Dakota Dugout (Ann Turner)
  • Four Feet, Two Sandals (Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed)
  • If You’re Not from the Prairie (Dave Bouchard)
  • Ira Sleeps Over (Bernard Waber)
  • Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purchase (Kevin Henkes)
  • The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)
  • Make Way for Ducklings (Robert McCloskey)
  • The Moon Ring (Randy DuBurke)
  • Once Upon a Time (Niki Daly)
  • Owl Moon (Jane Yolen)
  • The Panda Problem (Deborah Underwood)
  • Pigs (Robert Munsch)
  • The Relative Came (Cynthia Rylant)
  • The Sequel to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Judi Barrett)
  • The Snowy Day (Ezra Jake Keats)
  • Someplace Else (Carol Saul)
  • Stellaluna (Janell Cannon)
  • Thunder Cake (Patricia Polacco)
  • Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews)
  • Uptown (Bryan Collier)
  • Water Hole Waiting (Jane Kurtz)
  • The Web Files (Margie Palatini)
  • When the Root Children Wake Up (Audrey Wood)

Books for Teaching Sequencing

Mentor books for sequencing include real-world texts such as recipes, directions/instructions, and locating places on a map along with picture books like those listed below.

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst)
  • Aquarium (Cynthia Alonso)
  • Bring Rain to Kapiti Plain: A Nandi Tale (Verna Aardema)
  • The Forever Tree (Teresa Surratt, Donna Lukas)
  • The Gingerbread Man by (Jim Aylesworth)
  • Goodnight Owl by (Pat Hutchins)
  • Heckedy Peg (Audrey Wood)
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Laura Joffe Numeroff)
  • Jumanji (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Leave Me Alone (Vera Brosgol)
  • The Little Red Fort (Brenda Maier)
  • The Little Red Hen by (Paul Galdone)
  • Love You Forever by (Robert Munsch)
  • The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale (Jan Brett)
  • Napping House (Audrey and Don Wood)
  • No Dogs Allowed (Linda Ashman)
  • NOPE! A Tale of First Flight (Drew Sheneman)
  • Pancakes for Breakfast (Tomie de Paola)
  • Quest (Aaron Becker)
  • The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats)
  • Teeny Tiny (Jill Bennett)
  • The Three Little Pigs by (Paul Galdone)
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo (Arlene Mosel)
  • The Tiny Seed (Eric Carle)
  • The Twig (Aura Parker)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)

Story Elements

  • The Can Man (Laura E. Williams)
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Judi Barrett)
  • Don’t Say Ain’t (Irene Smalls)
  • Emmanuel’s Dream (Laurie Ann Thompson)
  • Enemy Pie (Derek Munson)
  • Freedom Song (Sally M. Walker)
  • The Hard-Times Jar (Ethel Footman Smothers)
  • Hey, Al (Arthur Yorinks)
  • I love Saturdays and Domingos (Alma Flor Ada)
  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake (Laura Numeroff)
  • In Our Mothers’ House (Patricia Polacco)
  • Islandborn (Junot Diaz)
  • The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)
  • Miss Rumphius (Barbara Cooney)
  • My Awesome Brother (Lise Frances)
  • New Shoes (Susan Lynn Meyer)
  • The Other Side (Jacqueline Woodson)
  • Probuditi! (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Ruby Finds a Worry (Tom Percival)
  • The Salamander Room (Anne Mazer)
  • A Story for Bear (Dennis Haseley)
  • The Sweetest Fig (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Thunder Cake (Patricia Polacco)
  • Verdi (Janelle Cannon)
  • What I Like the Most (Mary Murphy)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)

Excellent Books for Teaching Text Features

Non-fiction books reign when it comes to teaching elementary students about text features.

However, they still need a solid understanding of how text features help readers comprehend the message of both fiction and non-fiction selections.

Recommendations for text features mentor texts include…

  • Karl and Carolina Uncover the Parts of a Book (Sandra Donovan)
  • any picture book by Gail Gibbons
  • Students’ math, science, and social studies textbooks (Yes! These are a very authentic and organic way to teach elementary students about text features.)
  • Kid magazines such as Highlights
  • Text features from a kid-friendly website

Theme Mentor Texts

  • A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon)
  • A Crayon’s Story (Michael Hall)
  • A Day’s Work (Eve Bunting)
  • A Perfectly Messed Up Story (Patrick McDonnell)
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Dan Santat)
  • Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride (Pam Munoz Ryan)
  • An “A” From Miss Keller (Patricia Polacco)
  • The Bad Seed (Jory John)
  • Be A Friend (Salina Yoon)
  • Bluebird (Bob Staake)
  • Chester’s Way (Kevin Henkes)
  • Chopsticks (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
  • Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes)
  • The Empty Pot (Demi)
  • Freckleface Strawberry (Julianne Moore)
  • The Heart and the Bottle (Oliver Jeffers)
  • The Hueys in the New Sweater (Oliver Jeffers)
  • The Hungry Coat (Demi)
  • I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness (Kerascoët)
  • The Invisible Boy (Trudy Ludwig)
  • The Junkyard Wonders (Patricia Polacco)
  • Little Bird’s Bad Word (Jacob Grant)
  • The Little House (Virginia Lee Burton)
  • More than Anything Else (Marie Bradby)
  • Mr. Peabody’s Apples (Madonna)
  • Mrs. Katz and Tush (Patricia Polacco)
  • My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother (Patricia Polacco)
  • One (Kathryn Otoshi)
  • One Green Apple (Eve Bunting)
  • Peanut Butter & Cupcake (Terry Border)
  • People (Peter Spier)
  • The Potato Chip Champ (Maria Cini Dismondy)
  • Quickest Kid in Clarksville (Pat Zietlow Miller)
  • Rot, the Cutest in the World! (Ben Clanton)
  • Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream (Deloris Jordan)
  • Sidewalk Flowers (JonArno Lawson)
  • Sister Anne’s Hands (Marybeth Lorbiecki)
  • Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are (Maria Cini Dismondy)
  • Spoon (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
  • Spork (Kyo Maclear)
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (William Steig)
  • Those Shoes (Maribeth Boelts)
  • Three Hens and a Peacock (Lester L. Laminack)
  • Top of the World (Holly Hobbies)
  • Weslandia (Paul Fleischman)
  • When Marian Sings (Pam Munoz Ryan)
  • Whoever You Are (Mem Fox)
  • Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Mem Fox)
  • Wilma Unlimited (Kathleen Krull)
  • Wolf (Beck Bloom)
  • The Wolf Who Cried Boy (Bob Hartman)
  • Unique Monique (Maria Rousaki)
  • You Are (Not) Small (Anna Kang)
  • The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks (Cynthia Levinson)

Mentor Texts for Reading Strategies

Asking Questions/Questioning

In addition to the books listed below, most books in the mystery genre lend themselves extremely well to the reading strategy of questioning.

Popular mystery series include Cam Jansen and Magic Tree House.

  • The Antlered Ship (Dashka Slater)
  • Baghead (Jarret Krosoczka)
  • The Empty Pot (Demi)
  • First Day Jitters (Julie Danneberg)
  • Fly Away Home (Eve Bunting)
  • Grandfather Twilight (Barbara Helen Berger)
  • Hello, Goodbye Dog (Maria Gianferrari)
  • The Invisible Boy (Trudy Ludwig)
  • Jabari Jumps (Gaia Cornwall)
  • Last Stop on Market Street (Matt de la Pena)
  • The Mary Celeste (Jane Yolen)
  • More Than Anything Else (Marie Bradley)
  • Poppleton (Cynthia Rylant)
  • The Raft (Jim LaMarche)
  • Stella Brings the Family (Miriam B. Schiffer)
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges (Robert Coles)
  • The Stranger (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (William Steig)
  • The Three Questions (Jon J. Muth)
  • White Socks Only (Evelyn Coleman)
  • The Who Was…? series – various authors
  • Why (Richard Torrey)
  • The Wise Woman and Her Secret (Eve Merriam)
  • You Are Special (Max Lucado)

Mentor Texts for Making Inferences

This collection of mentor texts for reading wouldn’t be complete without a healthy stash of books that teach inferencing.

Because making inferences is an essential skill, you’ll maybe want to keep a few of these finds on your classroom shelf for the entire school year.

  • A Hungry Lion or Dwindling Assortment of Animals (Lucy Ruth Cummins)
  • The Almost Fearless Hamilton SquidLegger (Timothy Basil Ering)
  • Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing (Judi Barrett)
  • The Bear At Your Sandwich (Sarcone-Roach)
  • Blackout (John Socco)
  • Bluebird (Bob Staake)
  • Chalk (Bill Thomson)
  • Dirt + Water = MUD (Katherine Hannigan)
  • The Doorbell Rang (Pat Hutchins)
  • Du Iz Tak? (Carson Ellis)
  • Duck (Meg McKinlay)
  • Edwin Speaks Up (April Stevens)
  • Elephant in the Dark (Rumi)
  • Flora and the Flamingo (Molly Schaar Idle)
  • How Many Bites? (J. Jean Robertson)
  • I Spy in the Sky (Edward Gibbs)
  • I Want My Hat Back (Jon Klassen)
  • In Plain Sight (Richard Jackson)
  • Inside Outside (Lizi Boyd)
  • Inside Outside (Anne-Margot Ramstein)
  • Kitten’s First Full Moon (Kevin Henkes)
  • Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me (Daniel Beaty)
  • Mail Harry to the Moon (Robie H. Harris)
  • Mango, Abuela, and Me (Meg Medina)
  • Meow (Victoria Ying)
  • Miss Nelson Is Missing (Harry Allard)
  • My Lucky Day (Keiko Kasza)
  • The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Never Take a Shark to the Dentist (and Other Things Not to Do) (Judi Barret)
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria (Peggy Rathmann)
  • Pigeon P.I. (Meg McLaren)
  • Piggie Pie (Margie Palatini)
  • Professional Crocodile (Giovanna Zoboli)
  • Quest (Aaron Becker)
  • Red (Jan De Kinder)
  • Rules of Summer (Shaun Tan)
  • See You In the Cosmos (Jack Cheng)
  • Shh! What’s That Sound? (Joann Cleland)
  • Small in the City (Sydney Smith)
  • The Stranger (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Suddenly (Colin McNaughton)
  • The Sweetest Fig (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • They All Saw a Cat (Brendan Wenzel)
  • This Is Not My Hat (Jon Klassen)
  • Tuesday (David Wiesner)
  • Two Bad Ants (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Up On Bob (Mary Sullivan)
  • We Found a Hat (Jon Klassen)
  • Where Is Bear Going? (Mark Janssen)
  • The Wreck of the Zephyr (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • The Wretched Stone (Chris Van Allsburg)

Making Connections

Mentor Texts for Text-to-Self Connections…

  • The Relatives Came (Cynthia Rylant)
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker (Patricia Polacco)
  • You Are Special (Max Lucado)
  • Saying Goodbye to Lulu (Corinne Demas)
  • Chester’s Way (Kevin Henkes)
  • The Stray Dog (Marc Simont)
  • Ira Sleeps Over (Bernard Waber)
  • Those Shoes (Maribeth Boelts)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst)

Books for Teaching Text-to-Text…

For text-to-text connections, an easy method is to compare books by the same author such as two Patricia Polacco texts or two Kevin Henkes books.

You can also have learners analyze connections between two versions of the same general story such as the various versions of the 3 Little Pigs or the Gingerbread Man.

Mentor Texts for Text-to-World Connections…

  • Where Does Garbage Go? (Paul Showers)
  • Fly Away Home (Eve Bunting)
  • Pop’s Bridge (Eve Bunting)
  • Smoky Night (Eve Bunting)
  • Follow the Drinking Gourd (Richie Havens)
  • How Many Days to America? (Eve Bunting)
  • The Wall (Eve Bunting)
  • Baseball Saved Us (Ken Mochizuki)
  • A Day’s Work (Eve Bunting)
  • A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus (David Adler)
  • Dandelions (Eve Bunting)
  • The Great Kapok Tree (Lynne Cherry)
  • Cheyenne Again (Eve Bunting)
  • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (Mordicai Gerstein)

Predicting

  • A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History (Lynne Cherry)
  • Chester’s Way (Kevin Henkes)
  • Duck on a Bike (David Shannon)
  • Doctor DeSoto (William Steig)
  • Enemy Pie (Derek Munson)
  • Fly Away Home (Eve Bunting)
  • How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story (Eve Bunting)
  • Hungry Hen (Richard Waring)
  • Ruby the Copycat (Peggy Rathmann)
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (William Steig)
  • Tuesday (David Wiesner)
  • The Wednesday Surprise (Eve Bunting)
  • What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? (Steve Jenkins)

Visualizing

A healthy portion of picture books that teach visualization round out this list of mentor texts for reading comprehension.

  • A Bad Case of Stripes (David Shannon)
  • Another (Christian Robinson) 
  • Bedhead (Margie Palatini, Jack E. Davis)
  • The Big Umbrella (Amy June Bates)
  • Charlotte’s Bones: The Beluga Whale in a Farmer’s Field (Erin Rounds)
  • Crow Call (Lois Lowry)
  • Dangerously Ever After (Dashka Slater)
  • Do You Want to Be My Friend? (Eric Carle)
  • Dreamland (Noah Klocek)
  • Flotsam (David Wiesner)
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story (Kevin Noble Maillard)
  • Furthermore (Tahereh Mafi)
  • Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter (Kenard Pak)
  • Green on Green (Dianne White)
  • Honey by David Ezra Stein
  • I Walk with Vanessa (Kerascoët)
  • Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration (Samara Cole Doyon)
  • Marwan’s Journey (Patricia de Arias)
  • The Midnight Zoo (Sonya Hartnett)
  • The Most Magnificent Thing (Ashley Spires)
  • My Friend Earth (Patricia MacLachlan)
  • My Tree and Me (Jo Witek)
  • The Nest that Wren Built (Randi Sonenshine)
  • No Ordinary Jacket (Sue-Ellen Pashley)
  • Ode to an Onion Pablo Neruda & His Muse (Alexandria Giardino) 
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria (Peggy Rathmann)
  • On Duck Pond (Jane Yolen)
  • Owl Moon (Jane Yolen, John Schoenherr)
  • Pancakes for Breakfast (Tomie dePaola)
  • Pink is for Boys (Robb Pearlman)
  • Priya Dreams of Marigolds and Masala (Meenal Patel)
  • Rotten Teeth (Laura Simms)
  • Saturdays and Teacakes (Lester L. Laminack)
  • Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter (Eugenie Doyle)
  • Small in the City (Sydney Smith)
  • Snow (Cynthia Rylant)
  • The Snowman (Raymond Briggs)
  • Southwest Sunrise (Nikki Grimes)
  • The Storm Book (Charlotte Zolotow)
  • Sweet Dreamers (Isabelle Simler)
  • That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown (Cressida Cowell)
  • The Things That I Love About Trees (Chris Butterworth)
  • Things to Do (Elaine Magliaro)
  • The Twits (Roald Dahl)
  • Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt (Kate Messner)
  • What the Moon Saw (Laura Resau)

You’re All Set With the Best Mentor Texts for Reading

Save time planning your mini-lessons for reader’s workshop with this massive list of mentor texts for reading comprehension.

Perfect for second, third, fourth, and fifth grade students, these mentor text examples will serve as guides to your elementary students as they sharpen their literacy skills and strategies.

If you also want to save time planning for writer’s workshop, check out our big list of mentor texts for writing.

Quick tip: For virtual teaching, see how to seamlessly share read aloud mentor texts with students remotely.

So, what other mentor texts for reading would you add to this list? Share your recommendation(s) in the comment section below!

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