Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsburg at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What are You Reading? weekly on their blogs. To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to head over to these blogs.
I have been keeping my eyes open for nonfiction books that inspire more creative approaches to teaching informational writing and I loved Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean! This book has wonderful short stories about each of the dogs that weave in the information, serving as a fabulous mentor text for how narrative writing can be informative. In addition to being a mentor text, this book is also full of lessons about resilience, growth mindsets, and overcoming odds. One of my favorite lines is "Luciano found a way for all of the dogs to do what they did best." What a world it would be if we could substitute the nouns in this sentence!
Miracle Mud by David Kelly is also a fabulous mentor text for narrative nonfiction as well as a springboard for talking about perseverance, creativity, innovation, and growth mindset. Lena Blackburne wanted to be a professional baseball player, but his miracle mud was his ticket into the baseball Hall of Fame. In addition to the text and the themes, this book also offers many opportunities to study the power of grammar and punctuation. David Kelly includes ellipses, dashes, quotation marks, and many forms of end punctuation, as well as varied sentence structure, parallelism, and purposeful repetition. This is a book that all students will enjoy!
One of my missions for the year is to develop high impact lessons that address the Common Core Language Standards and The Grammar Plan Book by Constance Weaver has been a great resource. Citing specific picture books and texts, she describes workshop oriented lessons that show students the skills, how to use them, and offers practical and explicit instructional strategies for the transfer and integration of these skills in student writing.