Planning an entire English reading and writing unit can be overwhelming, amiright?? It really can take HOURS of precious planning time. And then choosing a fiction mentor text to support your narrative writing lesson plans usually looks like sifting through children’s book after children’s book. Who’s got time for that?!
Now, if you’re a graduate teacher? You might feel like you don’t even know where to start! I remember feeling so swamped in my first year of teaching. It’s something I often think back to when I’m creating new resources for busy teachers like you!
So, what is a mentor text?
Mentor texts are any texts that serve as an example of good writing for writers of any level. It will provide learners with an opportunity to learn something – an idea to infuse into their own writing or an approach they can put their own spin on.
What is a good fiction mentor text?
Good fiction mentor texts have easily identifiable settings and characters, as well as a problem and solution. Sound simple enough right?
Fiction mentor texts are also beautifully-crafted picture books that teachers can use as a resource to teach writing. Mentor texts are fabulous examples of what great writing looks like.
You could look at it like this, too…
“Let’s think of mentor text as a treasure chest full of buried gold and jewels, and ourselves as a guide, while our students are the pirates in desperate search of this hidden treasure. With this in mind, our job is to guide our crew to their correct destination, which in this case is the treasure trove of outstanding writing.” – Tami Parker
(If you’re keen to learn more, you should definitely check out this podcast ep with Ralph Fletcher.)
Examples of great fiction mentor texts for teaching Narrative writing
Here is a list of TEN early years mentor texts to compliment my Narratives Writing Unit. I’ve also included a little blurb for each book to make it even quicker for you to find a book your class will love!
by Pamela Allen
Alexander’s Outing follows a duckling who always seems to stragglebehind even with his mother’s warning to stay close. Alexander lands himself in a bit of trouble when he falls down a deep dark hole. Lucky for him there is a very kind group of people who make a plan to rescue him.
by Pamela Allen
When it’s time for Old Tom to milk Belinda the cow, who is usually milked by Tom’s wife, Old Tom comes up with a surprising and hilarious solution.
by Anna Mc Gregor
When three different groups of kangaroos – red, blue and yellow – all come to the same watering hole, they aren’t sure what to make each of other at first. But they soon they discover that they aren’t so different after all. As the three groups become one, new colours appear, and soon the roos have created a beautiful rainbow!
by Mo Willems
Knuffle Bunny explores questions about our use of language and how exactly we communicate with each other. When Trixie loses her beloved Knuffle Bunny on the way to the laundromat, she can’t find the right words to explain to her father what’s wrong, and he must guess until he finds the right answer.
Sam’s Bush Journey
by Sally Morgan
Like most young boys, Sam loves DVDs, iPods, and iPhones. He hates the outdoors, and would be happy if it all disappeared. Then he goes to stay with his Nanna who loves the outdoors and going for long walks in the Australian bush. Soon, Sam realizes through his own journey that the bush has an abundance of good things to offer—including adventure.
Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten
by Bob Graham
All the children are afraid of mean Mr Wintergarten. Rose’s ball goes over the fence into Mr Wintergarten’s garden and, prompted by her mother, Rose visits her frosty next-door neighbour, bearing hot fairy cakes and flowers.
by Bob Graham
Max’s sister Alison loves Grandad’s magic. Sometimes it comes in very handy – like when Grandad produces a chocolate bear from under little Max’s shirt to stop him from yelling. But even Alison is shocked when, one Sunday, Grandad attempts his greatest trick of all — and juggles with disaster!
by Stephen Michael King
Mutt Dog is brave and fast and gentle and loyal and smart, but he’s also hungry, and he doesn’t have a home. Then one day his luck changes, and he at last finds a family–and a cozy, loving place to belong.
The Very Kranky Bear
by Nick Bland
Moose, Lion, Zebra, and Sheep take shelter in a cave on a cold and rainy day, only to realize that a bear is there. The bear roars loudly and says that he is trying to sleep. Not understanding why the bear is so cranky, the other animals come up with ways to cheer up the bear.
Rocky and Louie
by Phillip Walleystack and Raewyn Caisley
Louie’s big brother, Rocky, has big dreams and wants to chase them. But Louie doesn’t want him to forget where he belongs. A heartfelt story about the bond between two brothers and their special connection to country.
NARRATIVE WRITING – LESSON PLANS & RESOURCE PACK
If one or two of these fiction mentor texts stood out to you – amazing! Let me help you with the next step, too!!
My Narrative Writing Pack includes EVERYTHING you need to teach a Fiction Unit to your little learners. In essence, it’s an entire unit including step by step lesson plans. I’ve also included coloured posters outlining the features of a narrative and examples of each feature with a definition and cute graphics to match. There are graphic organizers and activities for your students to plan and create their stories. And possibly the best part? It comes with a breakdown of how to teach a narrative writing unit for you to follow. Consider all your hard work DONE!
So really, all you gotta do – pick a fiction mentor text from the list above, grab my Narrative Writing Unit and you’re off and running!