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4 Mentor Texts for Teaching Story Elements

Boy lying down on the floor reading a book
Understanding story elements are important skills in both reading and writing. In lower graders, we often use the words beginning, middle, and end. We even briefly talk about describing the characters. But in upper elementary, we need our students to begin understanding that there is MORE than just these simple words. What is rising action? What is the climax of a story? What is the falling action? Help your students practice identifying each of these elements while using mentor texts! 

If you are interested in snagging any of these books, click the picture to find it on Amazon. 

Mentor Text with text "The Night I Followed the Dog" and Graphic Organizer with text "Story Elements"

The Night I Followed the Dog

Have you ever wondered what your dog does while you are sleeping? When this young boy follows his dog, he learns so much that he never knew! This story has a great plot structure that allows you to show students the components that all great stories should include.

Mentor Text with text "The Potato Chip Champ" and Graphic Organizer with text "Story Elements"

The Potato Chip Champ

The baseball team has a new player, Walter. Everyone loves Walter. Well, everyone loves him, expect Champ. Champ can't seem to figure out why everyone loves Walter so much.

When Champ hurts himself and Walter steps in his place, you can image the jealousy and problems that this creates. Will a simple act of kindness change the course of their friendship? It's possible! The Potato Chip Champ is a great example of a story with a good plot structure that will help your students see each component, such as the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion.

Mentor Text with text "Henry's Freedom Box" and Graphic Organizer with text "Story Elements"

Henry's Freedom Box

In this real-life story of Henry's experience with the Underground Railroad, your students can practice finding the elements that should be included in a story. Henry, desperate to escape slavery, mails himself to freedom. Will he make it? 

Mentor Text with text "Grandpa's Teeth" and Graphic Organizer with text "Story Elements"

Grandpa's Teeth

Where are Grandpa's Teeth?! This is a story with a clear problem and a great example of a plot. Plus, the conclusion is PERFECT!

At the beginning of this story, Grandpa realizes that his teeth are missing. They search the house. They call the police. They check out teeth from people all over the community. No one can find Grandpa's teeth. At the end of the book, the mayor gives Grandpa a new set. Forget finding that old set. Once you finish the book, you'll laugh out loud when you see who has the set of teeth...or at least I did! :) 

Click here for your FREE Mentor Text Cheat Sheet!
Do you love mentor texts as much as I do? Have trouble organizing them all?

Do you want to use mentor texts but you don't know where to start?

I have a FREE Mentor Text Cheat Sheet for you! In this Google Sheet, you'll find MY list of Mentor Texts and the reading skills that I use them to teach. You can add your own books, sort by author or reading skills, find shortcuts to my blog posts, AND

>>>my favorite feature<<<
>>>cue the drum roll, please<<<

Choose from a dropdown menu to show where you can find the book. For example, I use a boatload of mentor texts in my reading instruction. I can't afford to buy them all. I find some in our school library, the local library, borrow from my teacher friends, and SOME of them, I do own!

Using the dropdown menu, you can easily remind yourself where you can find your mentor text when you need it! Click the image above OR click here to grab it.

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