This big list of mentor texts for writing includes key pieces of literature that you can use within writer’s workshop to show your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students the elements of good writing. 

Show your elementary writers how professional authors use particular traits to engage their readers and to help their audience understand the central message. 

These books consist of mentor text examples that you can use in opinion/persuasive writing, narrative writing, informational writing, descriptive writing, and with the Six Traits of Writing framework. 

Bookmark this page, as you’ll want to have it on-hand as you plan your writing workshop mini-lessons.

Related: For mentor texts to use during reading workshop, check out this post of reading book examples.

And if you’re in the process of planning for the start of the school year, consider implementing a few of our back-to-school ideas, resources, and tips so that you begin the year with a bang!

Mentor Texts for Elementary Writing

Mentor Texts for Opinion/Persuasive Writing

This list of mentor texts for writing workshop begins with opinion writing texts.

The selected books align well with second, third, fourth, and fifth grade learning standards.

See also point of view mentor texts from our mega list of books for reader’s workshop.

Highlighting the connection between point of view and persuasive writing will help elementary students’ comprehension of opinion writing.

  • A Fine, Fine School (Sharon Creech)
  • All the Places to Love (Patricia McLaughlin)
  • Animals Nobody Loves (Seymour Simon)
  • Baseball Saved Us (Ken Mochizuki)
  • Be Glad Your Dad Is Not an Octopus! (Matthew Logelin)
  • The Best Town in the World (Byrd Baylor)
  • Blackout (John Rocco)
  • The Big Bed (Bunmi Laditan)
  • Can I Be Your Dog? (Troy Cummings)
  • Can I Bring My Pterodactyl to School, Ms. Johnson? (Lois G. Grambling)
  • Can I Bring Saber to New York City, Ms. Mayor? (Lois G. Grambling)
  • Can I Bring Woolly to the Library, Ms. Reeder? (Lois G. Grambling)
  • Can I Have a Tyrannosaurus Rex Dad? Can I Please? (Lois G. Grambling)
  • Can We Save the Tiger? (Martin Jenkins)
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (Doreen Cronin)
  • Come On, Rain! (Karen Hesse)
  • The Day the Crayons Quit (Drew Daywalt)
  • Dear Katie, The Volcano Is a Girl (Jean Craighead George)
  • Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School (Mark Teague)
  • Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation (Mark Teague)
  • Do You Really Want A Cat? (Bridget Heos)
  • Do You Really Want A Dog? (Bridget Heos)
  • Do You Really Want a Hamster? (Bridget Heos)
  • Do You Really Want a Guinea Pig? (Bridget Heos)
  • Do You Really Want To Meet A Platypus? (Cari Meister)
  • Do You Really Want To Meet A Polar Bear? (Cari Meister)
  • Do You Really Want To Meet A Shark? (Cari Meister)
  • Don’t Blink! (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
  • Don’t Feed the Bear (Kathleen Doherty)
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Mo Willems)
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! (Mo Willems)
  • Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest (Sarah Hampson)
  • Duck! Rabbit! (Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Tom Lichtenheld)
  • Earrings (Judith Viorst) 
  • Enemy Pie (Derek Munson)
  • Escargot (Dashka Slater)
  • Fly Away Home (Eve Bunting)
  • Give Bees a Chance (Bethany Barton)
  • The Great Kapok Tree (Lynne Cherry)
  • Groundhog Gets a Say (Pamela Curtis Swallow)
  • Hey, Little Ant (Phillip M. Hoose)
  • How to Write an Opinion Piece (Sara Howell)
  • I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat (Donald Hall)
  • I Can Be Anything! Don’t Tell Me I Can’t (Diane Dillon)
  • I Don’t Want to Be a Frog (Dev Petty)
  • I Hate My Cats – A Love Story (Davide Cali)
  • I Wanna series (Karen Kaufman Orloff)
  • I Want a Cat: My Opinion Essay (Darcy Pattison)
  • I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay (Darcy Pattison)
  • I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Lauren Child)
  • Jabari Jumps (Gaia Cornwall)
  • LaRue for Mayor (Mark Teague)
  • Let the Children March (Monica Clark-Robinson)
  • Let’s Find Ads in Magazines (Mari Schuh)
  • Let’s Find Ads on Clothing (Mari Schuh)
  • Let’s Find Ads on Food Packages (Mari Schuh)
  • Let’s Find Ads on Signs (Mari Schuh)
  • Let’s Find Ads on TV (Mari Schuh)
  • The Little Book of Activists (Penguin Young Readers)
  • The Memory String (Eve Bunting)
  • Mr. Maxwell’s Mouse (Frank Asch)
  • My Brother Dan’s Delicious (Steven L. Layne)
  • My Teacher for President (Kay Winters)
  • National Geographic Readers: Cats vs. Dogs (Elizabeth Carney)
  • Night Driving (John Coy)
  • Not Norman: A Goldfish Story (Kelly Bennett)
  • Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters (Barack Obama)
  • Oliver’s Birds: Saving the Gulf (Olivia Bouler)
  • One Word from Sophia (Jim Averbeck, Yasmeen Ismail)
  • The Other Side (Jacqueline Woodson)
  • Our Very Own Dog (Amanda McCardie)
  • Owl Moon (Jane Yoon)
  • The Perfect Pet (Margie Palatini)
  • Pick a Picture, Write an Opinion! (Kristen McCurry)
  • Pink Toys, Yes or No (Lin Picou)
  • Play With Me! (Anna Prokos)
  • Ralph Tells a Story (Abby Hanlon)
  • Recycling, Yes or No (Erin Palmer)
  • Red is Best (Kathy Stinson)
  • The Relatives Came (Cynthia Rylant)
  • The Reluctant Dragon (Kenneth Grahame)
  • Rev Up Your Writing in Opinion Pieces (Lisa M. Bolt Simons)
  • Roller Coaster (Marla Frazee)
  • Roxaboxen (Alice McLerran)
  • Rufus Goes to School (Kim T. Griswell)
  • Saturday and Teacakes (Lester L. Laminack)
  • School Uniforms, Yes or No (Bonnie Carole)
  • Seriously, You Have to Eat (Adam Mansbach)
  • Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist (Jess Keating)
  • Should There Be Zoos? (Tony Stead)
  • Should We Have Pets? (Sylvia Lollis)
  • Smoky Night (Eve Bunting)
  • Sophie Hartley, On Strike (Stephanie Greene)
  • Stella Writes An Opinion (Janiel Wagstaff)
  • Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman (Nikki Grimes)
  • Teacup (Rebecca Young)
  • Those Shoes (Maribeth Boelts)
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Jon Scieszka)
  • TV, Yes or No (Lin Picou)
  • We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past (Jacqueline Woodson)
  • What Can a Citizen Do? (Dave Eggers)
  • What Do You Think, Katie? Writing an Opinion Piece with Katie Woo (Fran Manushkin)
  • Which Would You Rather Be? (William Steig)
  • You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World (Caroline Paul)
  • You Can Write a Terrific Opinion Piece (Jennifer Lee Fandel)
  • You Should, You Should! (Ginny Tilby)
  • You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? (Sheri Bell-Rehwold) 

Mentor Text Examples for Personal Narratives

Whether you’re looking for mentor texts for personal narratives for your 5th grade students or suitable mentor texts for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade narrative writing, the following selections have you covered.

  • A Chair for My Mother (Vera Williams) 
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Dan Santat)
  • Amazing Grace (Mary Hoffman) 
  • The Best Story (Eileen Spinelli)
  • Bigmama’s (Donald Crews) 
  • Can I Play Too? (Mo Willems) 
  • Diary of a Fly (Doreen Cronin)
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (William Joyce)
  • Fireflies (Julie Brinckloe) 
  • Fred Stays With Me! (Nancy Coffelt)
  • How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Mark Teague)
  • Jumanji (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Kitchen Dance (Maurie J. Manning) 
  • Kitten’s First Full Moon (Kevin Henkes)
  • Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Mo Willems)  
  • Last Stop on Market Street (Matt De La Pena)
  • The Leaving Morning (Angela Johnson) 
  • The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)
  • Mirette on the High Wire (Emily Arnold McCully) 
  • My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother (Patricia Polacco) 
  • Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo (John Lithgow)
  • Oliver Button Is a Sissy (Tomie dePaola)
  • The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate)
  • One Morning in Maine (Robert McCloskey) 
  • Owl Moon (Jane Yolen)
  • Oliver Button Is a Sissy (Tomie dePaola)
  • The Other Side (Jacqueline Woodson)
  • Peter’s Chair (Ezra Jack Keats) 
  • The Princess and the Pig (Jonathan Emmett)
  • The Relatives Came (Cynthia Rylant) 
  • Roller Coaster (Maria Frazee) 
  • The Ruth and the Green Book (Calvin Alexander Ramsey)
  • Salt Hands (Jane Chelsea Aragon) 
  • Saying Goodbye to Lulu (Corinne Demas)
  • The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups (David Wisniewski)
  • Shoes From Grandpa (Mem Fox)
  • The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats) 
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker (Patricia Polacco) 
  • Those Shoes (Maribeth Boelts)
  • Thunder Cake (Patricia Polacco) 
  • Too Many Tamales (Gary Soto) 
  • What If… (Samantha Berger, Mike Curato)
  • When I Was Young in the Mountains (Cynthia Rylant) 
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Grace Lin)
  • Whistle for Willie (Ezra Jack Keats) 
  • Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Mem Fox)

Books for Teaching Descriptive Writing

  • A Flower in the Snow (Tracey Corderoy)
  • Armadillo Chili (Helen Ketteman)
  • Brave Irene (William Steig)
  • Carla’s Sandwich (Debbie Herman)
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Judi Barrett)
  • The Dirty Cowboy (Amy Timberlake)
  • Down by the Cool of the Pool (Tony Mitton)
  • Dreamland (Noah Klocek)
  • Fireflies (Julie Brinckloe)
  • For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart (Elizabeth Rusch)
  • Fry Bread (Kevin Noble Maillard)
  • Gentle Giant Octopus (Karen Wallace)
  • Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter (Kenard Pak)
  • Green On Green (Dianne White)
  • Honey (David Ezra Stein)
  • How to Find an Elephant (Kate Banks)
  • How to Steal a Dog (Barbar O’Connor)
  • In the Tall, Tall Grass (Denise Fleming)
  • Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration (Samar Cole Doyon)
  • My Friend Earth (Patricia MacLachlan)
  • My Mixed-Up, Berry Blue Summer (Jennifer Gennari)
  • My Tree and Me (Jo Witek)
  • The Nest That Wren Built (Randi Sonenshine)
  • No Ordinary Jacket (Sue-Ellen Pashley)
  • Owl Moon (Jane Yolen)
  • Roald Dahl chapter book series
  • Saturdays and Teacakes (Lester L. Laminack)
  • Scarecrow (Cynthia Rylant)
  • Small in the City (Sydney Smith)
  • Snow (Cynthia Rylant)
  • Southwest Sunrise (Nikki Grimes)
  • Sweet Dreamers (Isabelle Simler)
  • Things to Do (Elaine Magliaro)
  • Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt (Kate Messner)
  • Uptown (Bryan Collier)
  • The Very Inappropriate Word (Jim Tobin)
  • Wolves and Beyond: Lone Wolf (Kathryn Lasky)

Mentor Texts for Informational Writing

  • A Butterfly Is Patient (Diana Hutts Aston)
  • Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship (Russell Freedman)
  • Actual Size (Steve Jenkins)
  • All Kinds of Habitats (Sally Hewitt)
  • Bones (Steve Jenkins)
  • Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs! (Kathleen Kudlinski)
  • The Camping Trip that Changed America (Barbara Rosentstock) 
  • Chameleons Are Cool (Martin Jenkins)
  • Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp (Jerry Stanley)
  • Chop, Simmer, Season (Alexa Brandenberg)
  • Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World (Steve Jenkins)
  • Gail Gibbons author (most of her beautifully-illustrated non-fiction books work well)
  • How Things Work in the Yard (Lisa Campbell Ernest)
  • How to Lose All Your Friends (Nancy Carlson)
  • How to Make a Mud Pie (Deborah Eaton)
  • How to Make Salsa (Jamie Lucero) 
  • I Feel Better When There is a Frog in My Throat: History’s Strangest Cures (Carlyn Beccia)
  • If You Lived Here: Houses of the World (Giles Laroche)
  • Let Them Play (Margot Theis Raven)
  • Magic Tree House Fact Trackers series
  • Mr. Ferris and His Wheel (Kathryn Gibbs Davis)
  • The New Way Things Work (David MacCaulay)
  • Planning a Birthday Party (Faye Bolton)
  • So You Want to Be President? (David Small)
  • The Story of the Statue of Liberty (Pegi Deitz Shea)
  • Surprising Sharks (Nicola Davies)
  • Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World (Selby Beeler)
  • Walk On (Marla Frazee)
  • Washing the Dog (Peter Sloan)
  • What If I Had Animal Hair? (Sandra Markle)
  • What Is Weather? (Ellen Lawrence)

Mentor Texts for the 6 Traits of Writing 

If you don’t have much knowledge about the 6 Traits of Writing framework, go here to familiarize yourself with its essential writing elements.

The key advantage of the Six Traits of Writing Framework is that it aligns well with any elementary writing curriculum.

So consider keeping on your classroom bookshelf a stash of these mentor texts for writing mini-lessons that help you to teach the 6 Traits of Writing to your elementary students.

Ideas

  • All the Places to Love (Patricia McLaughlin)
  • Fireflies! (Julie Brinckloe)
  • One Day, The End (Rebecca Kai Dotlich)
  • Out of the Ocean (Debra Frasier)
  • Pictures from Our Vacation (Lynne Rae Perkins)
  • Saturdays and Teacakes (Lester Laminack)
  • The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups (David Wisniewski)
  • Shark Nate-O (Tara Luebbe & Becky Cattie)
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker (Patricia Polacco)
  • Through My Eyes (Ruby Bridges)
  • Whoever You Are (Mem Fox)

Mentor Texts for Endings/Beginnings/Transitions/Organization

  • Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst)
  • Blackout (John Rocco)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson) – beginnings
  • Click Clack Moo (Doreen Cronin)
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Judi Barrett)
  • Dear Mr. Blueberry (Simon James)
  • Diary of a Worm (Doreen Cronin)
  • Dinosaurs! Strange and Wonderful ( Laurence Pringle) – endings
  • First Day Jitters (Julie Danneberg) – endings
  • The First Dog (Jan Brett) – endings
  • G is for Googol: A Math Alphabet Book (David M. Schwartz)
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Laura Numeroff)
  • In November (Cynthia Rylant) – endings
  • Owl Moon (Jane Yolen) – endings
  • The Paperboy (Dav Pilkey)
  • The Paper Crane (Molly Bang) – beginnings
  • Roller Coaster (Marla Frazee)
  • There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (Mercer Mayer)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle) – beginnings
  • When Sophie Gets Angry (Molly Bang)
  • The Wolf Who Cried Boy (Bob Hartman)

Mentor Text Examples for Voice

  • Amelia’s Notebook (Marissa Moss)
  • Arnie the Doughnut (Laurie Keller)
  • The Bird House (Cynthia Rylant)
  • Diary of a Worm (Doreen Cronin)
  • Fairytale News (Colin Hawkins)
  • Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! (Dr. Seuss)
  • How Are You Peeling? (Saxton Freymann) 
  • How Whales Walked into the Sea (Faith McNulty)
  • Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (Kevin Henkes)
  • The Math Curse (Jon Scieszka)
  • The Recess Queen (Alexis O’Neill)
  • Sleeping Ugly (Jane Yolen)
  • Train to Somewhere (Eve Bunting)
  • Too Many Toys (David Shannon)
  • Voices in the Park (Anthony Browne)
  • Yesterday I Had the Blues (Jeron Ashford Frame)

Mentor Texts for Word Choice/Vocabulary 

  • Armadillo Tattletale (Helen Ketteman)
  • The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County (Shelley Jackson)
  • Come On, Rain (Karen Hesse)
  • Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra (Andrea Pinkney)
  • Encounter (Jane Yolen)
  • Flight (Robert Burleigh)
  • The Great Fuzz Frenzy (Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel)
  • Heatwave (Eileen Spinelli)
  • I’m Dirty (Kate & Jim McMullan)
  • Locomotive (Brian Floca)
  • Max’s Words (Kate Banks)
  • Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster (Debra Frasier)
  • Mostly Monsterly (Tammi Sauer)
  • Outfoxed (Mike Twohy)
  • Over and Under the Snow (Kate Messner)
  • Raising Sweetness (Diane Stanley)
  • Sarah, Plain, and Tall (Patricia Maclachlan)
  • Sky Tree (Thomas Locker)
  • Thesaurus Rex (Laya Steinberg)
  • The Very Inappropriate Word (Jim Tobin)
  • Walter the Farting Dog (William Kotzwinkle & Glenn Murray)

Books for Sentence Fluency

  • Bigmama’s (Donald Crews)
  • Come On, Rain! (Karen Hesse)
  • Crab Moon (Ruth. Horowitz)
  • Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping (Eileen Christelow)
  • Dogteam (Gary Paulsen)
  • Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth (Robert Burleigh)
  • The Important Book (Margaret Wise Brown)
  • Night of the Gargoyles (Eve Bunting)
  • One Tiny Turtle (Nicola Davies)
  • Roller Coaster (Marla Frazee)
  • Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp (Carol Diggory Shields)
  • Why Butterflies Go On Silent Wings (Marguerite Davol)

Books to Teach Conventions

  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (Doreen Cronin)
  • Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: Why Commas Really Do Make a Difference (Lynne Truss)
  • Grammar Tales: The Mystery of the Missing Socks: Quotation Marks (Justin Martin)
  • Lazily, Crazily, Just a Bit Nasally: More About Adverbs (Brian Cleary)
  • Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything! (Toni Buzzeo)
  • The Polar Express (Chris Van Allsburg)
  • Punctuation Celebration (Elsa Bruno)
  • Punctuation Takes a Vacation (Robin Pulver) 
  • Scaredy Squirrel (Mélanie Watt)

For more excellent books that focus on specific writing traits, see this thorough collection of 6 Traits of Writing mentor texts.

Bookmark This List of Mentor Texts for Writing Workshop

Planning your mini-lessons for writer’s workshop just became easier with this list of mentor texts for writing.

This wide selection of books engage elementary learners along with showing them the elements of great writing.

Your second, third, fifth, and fourth grade students are well on their way to becoming star writers!

Which mentor texts for writing would you like to see added to this list?

Share your recommendation by leaving a comment below!

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