Using mentor texts to teach grammar skills is a great way to get students’ attention and demonstrate how authors use correct grammar in their writing. In this post, I’ll share some awesome mentor texts to teach grammar skills in a meaningful way.
Mentor Texts to Teach Grammar
Incorporating a variety of activities in your grammar units is crucial for keeping students engaged and excited to learn. Mentor texts to teach grammar serve the dual purpose of keeping students’ interest and giving them meaningful examples of how grammar skills are used in context.
There are a few different types of books you can use as mentor texts. One option is an authentic text, which is basically a text that was written without teaching/learning language in mind. Another option is to use texts that were specifically written to help students learn different aspects of language and grammar. I’ve included both types of text in this post.
These books are all available on Amazon. You also might already have some of them in your classroom library!
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Mentor Texts to Teach Nouns
by Bill Maynard
In this story, whenever Ned says a noun, the object appears over his head. Incredible Ned has a variety of people, places, and things on each page, so it’s an excellent option for an authentic text to use while teaching nouns. The story is also written with engaging rhymes, colorful illustrations, and a fun sense of humor. Read this text aloud with students and have them identify nouns on each page and tell if they are people, places, or things. For nouns teaching activities click here.
by Brian P. Cleary
Students will learn what a noun is and a variety of examples in this story. A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink is part of the Words are Categorical series written specifically to teach about different grammar topics. The playful rhymes and vibrant illustrations make this a great read aloud, and it would be an excellent activity to introduce a grammar unit on nouns.
by Julia Cothran
Whether it’s a parade of penguins, a squad of squid, or a gaggle of geese, students will learn all about different collective nouns in this adorable and fun story. This book is wonderfully written with rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration that will keep students’ interest while still teaching content. For collective nouns teaching activities click here.
Common & Proper Nouns
by Judith Viorst
This popular story about a boy named Alexander and his terrible day is always a fun one for students, and it has the added bonus of having a variety of proper nouns. There are several examples of specific brands, names, and locations. Read this story aloud during your grammar unit on common and proper nouns and see if your students can spot the proper nouns and tell why they are proper. For common & proper nouns teaching activities click here.
Mentor Texts to Teach Verbs
by Kate Messner
This beautifully written story tells about animals living beneath the snow in winter. Over and Under the Snow has a ton of amazing, vivid verbs to help students build vocabulary while learning about verbs. It’s an excellent choice for a read aloud during a verbs grammar unit. Try having students act out some especially interesting verbs to solidify their understanding of action verbs. For verbs teaching activities click here.
by Michael Dahl
If You Were a Verb provides information on all kinds of verbs, and it also gives a quick introduction to verb tenses. This story is a great option as a read aloud to introduce a verb tenses grammar unit. It will give students an overall review and reminder about what verbs are and how they are used. For verb tenses teaching activities click here.
by Nick Bland
In this delightful story, four animal friends try everything they can to cheer up a very cranky bear. The rhyming language and cute illustrations help to make this an excellent read-aloud story. It is also packed with adjectives that will allow your students to see and understand how adjectives are used and how they improve stories. For adjective teaching activities click here.
Mentor Texts to Teach Punctuation
by Amy Krauss
Exclamation Mark is a clever tale that teaches about punctuation while also conveying the message that it’s great to be who you are, even if you’re different than others. Try using this as a fun grammar read aloud during a grammar unit on punctuation. For punctuation teaching activities click here.
by Elsa Knight Bruno
This playful rhyming text presents information about all types of punctuation in a fun way. For each type of punctuation, the story gives a poem describing its use along with some examples. Read the whole text aloud at once to your class, or read the corresponding poem to introduce each type of punctuation separately.
by Gene Barretta
In this clever story, Aunt Ant, who just moved to the zoo, describes the interesting animal behavior she is seeing. Between the moose who ate eight bowls of mousse and the hare who has no hair, students will be introduced to all kinds of homophones in a fun and engaging way. Use this text as a read aloud to get students excited to learn all about homophones. For homphones teaching activities click here.
by Patricia Trattles
With its silly illustrations and simple text, Flying Butter is a great independent reading option to help students learn about compound words. This story has some great word play (butter flies or butterflies?!) to help students understand the significance and importance of combining two words to form a compound word. For compound words teaching activities click here.
Mentor Texts to Teach Contractions
by Brian P. Cleary
This story teaches students what contractions are and how they are formed using apostrophes. The rhyming text and fun illustrations draw students in and keep them engaged in the process of creating contractions. I’m and Won’t, They’re and Don’t is great for introducing contractions through a read aloud. For contractions teaching activities click here.
by Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is always a favorite, and it can also be a great mentor text for teaching grammar skills like contractions. As you read the book aloud, pause to have students find the contractions on each page. Then discuss what two words form the contraction. Connect this story to your science lessons by trying the Great Cookie Dunk Experiment!
Mentor Texts to Teach Commas
by Lynne Truss
There’s a big difference between eating a huge hot dog and eating a huge, hot dog! Eats, Shoots & Leaves demonstrates the importance of correct comma placement by showing how it can completely change the meaning of the sentence. This mentor text for teaching grammar is comical and silly, but it leaves an impact for sure! For commas in a series, dates and places activities click here.
by Mark Teague
This authentic text is another excellent option as a read aloud during a grammar unit on commas. The humorous story is written in the form of letters from a dog who is having a difficult time when he is sent to obedience school. There’s no doubt your students will enjoy the amusing story, and there’s at least one example of each type of comma use throughout the text. After reading the story aloud, project different pages to draw students’ attention to how the commas are used and why they are so important.
Mentor Texts to Teach Adverbs
by Michael Dahl
If You Were An Adverb gives an explanation of what an adverb is and gives a variety of examples of adverbs in context. It’s another great introductory mentor text for teaching grammar that will help students understand the basics of adverbs. Read this story to your class before you start your grammar unit on adverbs and your students will have a better grasp on the concept as you start your grammar lessons. For adverbs teaching activities click here.
Mentor Text to Teach Multiple Meaning Words
by Charles Ghigna
In this playful text, students will be introduced to a variety of multiple meaning words in context. See the Yak Yak is a very simple, silly story to get students engaged and interested in the topic of multiple meaning words. It includes multiple meaning words such as bat, seal, duck, fly, fish, and of course yak. This mentor text for teaching grammar is especially helpful for showing that some multiple meaning words are different parts of speech. For multiple meaning words teaching activities click here.
Shades of Meaning
by Lester L. Laminack
Saturdays and Teacakes tells the story of a little boy who visits his grandmother’s house each Saturday. This story is an excellent authentic mentor text for teaching grammar and word choice because of its careful description of the boy’s experience. The concrete details and sensory descriptions provide a great example of the impact of words in stories. For shades of maning teaching activities click here.
Mentor Texts to Teach Prepositions
by Nancy Loewen
Prepositions connect a noun or a pronoun to other words in a sentence. This part of speech can be a little trickier for students to identify and use, so starting your prepositions grammar unit with this read aloud book will help students build background knowledge. If You Were a Preposition explains what prepositions are and when they are used in kid-friendly language that young students will understand. For preposition teaching ativities click here.
by Michael Rosen
Another great mentor text for teaching prepositions is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, which is an authentic text that tells the story of a family who goes through obstacles as they search for a bear. Prepositions are a huge part of this tale, and the prepositions over, under, and through are used in a repetitive way that will highlight their use to students. Read this story aloud during your prepositions grammar unit and have students identify prepositions and act out the bear hunt. Make a cross-curricular connection to science by talking about the landforms the family sees and the bear’s habitat!
by Nancy Loewen
Introduce or reinforce the concept and use of pronouns with this helpful story. If You Were a Pronoun gives examples of how many pronouns should be used. It also demonstrates the importance of using pronouns to avoid repetition in sentences and text. All of the pronouns used in the story are easily identifiable because they are written in capital letters and they are colorful. For pronouns teaching activities click here.
by Rick Walton
In this silly rewriting of the classic “Three Little Pigs” story, three big pig brothers are visited by witches who want to take their three castles. It has a surprising ending that will have students giggling! Pig Pigger Piggest is an excellent read aloud option to get students engaged and interested in comparative and superlative adjectives. For adjectives teaching activities click here.
Mentor Texts to Teach Prefixes & Suffixes
By Brian P. Cleary
What is a prefix, anyway? This book gives students the basics when it comes to prefixes and what they mean. It’s a great option for introducing or reinforcing the skill to students. With playful rhyming and colorful illustrations, this story creatively explains prefixes to young learners. For prefix activities and suffix activities click here.
by Brian P. Cleary
From the same author as the text about prefixes, this story tells all about suffixes and what they mean. The cute rhymes and fun pictures make this story a great choice for young students.
by Jane Yolen
Owl Moon is a classic book, and it also works great as a mentor text for teaching grammar and figurative language. In this story, a young girl joins her father to search for an owl on a chilly winter night. The gentle and poetic text is filled with excellent figurative language, and the gorgeous illustrations make the story even more magical. For figurative language activities click here.
by Jon Scieszka
This fun mentor text centers around Henry, an alien kid who needs to come up with an excellent excuse for being late for school. Throughout the story, Henry uses alien vocabulary words surrounded by different types of context clues. Students have so much fun determining the meaning of the crazy words! It’s a fun and engaging text that allows students to practice a critical vocabulary skill. For context clues teaching activities click here.
More Mentor Texts to Teach Grammar Skills
In my 2nd Grade Grammar Curriculum, there are short reading passages included in each unit to target each grammar skill. These high-interest texts address all of the grammar concepts mentioned in this post and more.
CLICK HERE to check out the 2nd Grade Grammar Curriculum with units to teach every second grade grammar and language standard. Available separately or in money-saving bundles, each unit includes an entire week of grammar activities plus minilessons on PowerPoint, daily lesson plans, and assessment.
Mentor texts are an excellent addition to any grammar curriculum. I hope this post helps you choose the perfect mentor texts to enrich your lessons and keep your students engaged!
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