Using Mentor Texts for Reading

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Using mentor texts for reading is a wonderful way to help children develop reading comprehension skills. Check out our use of Odd Boy Out as a mentor text.

Using Mentor Texts for Reading

It is time for a little honesty! As a fourth and fifth grade teacher in a public school setting, I used these things called Mentor Texts all the time.

Now if you don’t have a background in education you may be asking, “What in the world is a mentor text?”

I love the way Lynne Dorfman—co-author of Mentor Texts describes mentor texts. 

She says, “Mentor texts are pieces of literature that you—both teacher and student—can return to and reread for many different purposes. They are texts to be studied and imitated…Mentor texts help students to take risks and be different writers tomorrow than they are today. It helps them to try out new strategies and formats. They should be basically books that students can relate to and can even read independently or with some support. And of course, a mentor text doesn’t have to be in the form of a book—a mentor text might be a poem, a newspaper article, song lyrics, comic strips, manuals, essays, almost anything.”

Mentor texts are important as we help our children develop comprehension skills and teach them to write. And as I said, I used them all the time in my classroom. Though we do a lot of reading in our home, I’ve gotten away from using Mentor Texts during our reading and writing time….and that really is a disservice to my kiddos.

Though I received this product for free and was compensated for my time, the opinions are my own. 

Kendall Hunt

As I said before, I haven’t been using mentor texts as often as I would like in our homeschool room…that is until recently. You see, we received the book “Odd Boy Out” AND a teacher manual to go with it. All of a sudden I had a fantastic picture book to read and scripted lesson plans to follow.

Kendall Hunt Pathways 2.0 curriculum took the planning out of using mentor texts, and provide my kids and I a wonderful picture book with amazing language, life lessons, and reading goals for that we could work on while reading a mentor text.

Since I know that is best practices, I was thrilled with the quality of the book we were provided. And how easy it was to use them.

Mentor Texts For Reading

Kendall Hunt provided the book “Odd Boy Out” for my children and I to read and learn from.

This charming book about Albert Einstein was a wonderful book to get us back to using Mentor Texts. And here is what the first two days looked like!!!

Day 1

Using Mentor Texts for Reading

Our first step was to enjoy this wonderfully written story.

Next, our lesson began….and we dived into citing evidence. It may sound complicated, but it was all laid out in a scripted text.

We discussed how great readers can ask and answer questions about a text. I encouraged the boys to use the words because when answering a question, and we practiced on the “Odd Boy Out”

Using Mentor Texts for Reading


Then, my favorite, they took off to read their own book and try it out. Guess what? They were successful.

Using Mentor Texts for Reading

Day 2

The next day we reread the book, and my boys answered questions about the book as we read. I was careful to bring back citing evidence and have them do this as they answered the questions. Once again, there wasn’t any planning on my part as this was all laid out.

Using Mentor Texts for Reading

After I had asked them a ton of questions, we discussed creating their own text-dependent questions. The boys and I practiced using “Odd Boy Out” and then they had a chance to practice as they read independently.

For our first time through this, they came up with some great questions.

Using Mentor Texts for Reading

Other Activites to Do With Our Mentor Texts

  1. First, there is a section of the day set aside for vocabulary. Each week there is a list of vocabulary to introduce. All the words are in the Mentor Text, and daily activities are already included for you.
  2. In our second grade book, there was a phonics section provided for us to work through.
  3. You will also find detailed writing lessons. They don’t always correspond with the Mentor Text, but good writing samples are given for students to study and model.
  4. By Design, a science book is even connected in with some of the reading lessons.

You can check out exactly what is covered by looking through this pamphlet.


So back to the honesty thing. Why don’t I use mentor texts the way I should? Mainly because life gets crazy and using Mentor Texts requires planning. But when it is all laid out for me, the book is provided with the curriculum… there isn’t anything standing in my way to use mentor texts for reading. Thanks Kendall Publishing!!!

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