I am so excited to be back with another blog link-up with the Reading Crew!

This time, we are focusing on Fall Mentor Texts!


I chose a wonderful informational book PERFECT for fall: Owls by Gail Gibbons. It is great for informational studies, and just a little bit spooky!

Not only are we all sharing ideas for mentor texts, but you can also win all the books above!  Read all the way through the post to see how to win!

I am a big believer in using activating strategies for students, especially when working with informational text. I think they help students with predicting information prior to reading. They also help students organize new learning and “filing” it correctly and appropriately in the brain for easier retrieval later.
Basically, by implementing extensive previewing strategies, kids can organize their learning and apply it later.
We will be using two strategies before reading this text.
The first is a good old KWL chart.  I am sure you are familiar with this.  However, we are going to add to it a bit – this is a KWL Plus chart. Have you ever heard of it before?
Students will be using the same components and procedures as they would with a regular KWL chart.  However, after students brainstorm what they know about the topic (the K), they will be filling out the bottom section, “Categories of Information We Expect to Use” before moving on to the W (What I Want to Learn). 
To fill this organizer out, first, brainstorm what students already know about a topic.  Then, look at what students have listed in the K (What I Know) section.  Can the information be grouped or categorized?  Consider categories such as diet, habitat, life cycle, etc. and list it on the bottom.  Finally, create a “code” for each category and then “code” where you expect the information will be found.
The codes are a really important part of the task.  They force the reader to think in groups/topics and predict what could possibly be in the text.  It helps them prepare for how this type of text will be organized and helps them anticipate that.  It also can help with text mapping and summarizing the text at the end.
If the KWL Plus format is used often enough, students can transfer knowledge from one context to another.  For example, students will realize that many animal books will cover diet, habitat, and appearance. It is important to think carefully about the topics at the bottom.  These can be used later to help create informational paragraphs about owls.
After completing the categories, complete the Want to Know section, like usual.  If possible, code these to PREDICT where the information will be found in the book (section on diet? habitats?).
Since this is an informational book, you want to make sure to “zero in” on text features.
Before reading the text, brainstorm the text features that could POSSIBLY be found in the text. Then, write each feature on a post-it note and attach it to an anchor chart.  Do this before ever opening the book.
Next, either right before reading the book using an extensive picture walk or during the first reading label the text features.
Show students each page of the text.  As students see a text feature, ask them to raise their hands to identify the text feature. Then, pull the matching post-it notes off the anchor chart, and use then as a label to identify the text features.  If a text feature is found that was NOT on the anchor chart, simply write it on a new post-it note and label away!  Now, students have already had their attention drawn to the text features so they can apply them when reading!
Click below to grab your freebies!
Are you looking for more activities for this book? I started writing and INTENDED for this blog post to be all about finding the main idea.  Then, I kept writing…and writing…and writing.  Before I knew it, I had created an entire one-week mini-unit!  Whoops! That was NOT my goal, but I ran with it.
It has 5-6 days of bulleted lessons and tons of other activities – including the ones above.




It has the activation ideas above, two vocabulary lessons (you can choose which one to use), main idea instruction and activities, a writing activity and craft. You can snag it right now for only $4 on TpT! Click here to grab it!
Want to check out MORE mentor text lessons?  Make sure to check out all the links below! If you want to win a copy of each book in the link-up, scroll down under the link-up to enter!  Good luck!!

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