Monday, March 31, 2014

Must Read Monday: Mentor Text Picture Books and Teen Fiction

Despite my crazy schedule of being a full-time teacher and part-time doctoral student, I always find time for pleasure reading.  I read all the time for graduate school, but that is mostly articles and nonfiction. I love fiction, and I have been entertaining a love affair with young adult literature since the 6th grade.

There are a couple of great linkies on Mondays about books, so I figured that is a great way for me to share what I have been reading.

Teach Mentor Texts - It's Monday! What have you been reading?

Teaching Maddeness - Must Read Monday

Must-Read Monday Linky

I read a ton of books over Christmas break and Spring Break, so I have quite a few books I would like to review overall.  However, this is a good way for me to get started.

Picture Books:

This last week we used The Best Story and Crow Call as our mentor texts for writing.

The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli is a cute story about generating ideas for stories and how the best stories come from the heart.  You can follow it up by having your students make a heart map. We used it to discuss ideas for what make the best stories.  We are working on narrative writing.

Crow Call by Lois Lowry is a fabulous story for discussing creating small moments in a story and also using sensory details.  We used this to model personal narratives and describing one day in detail.

For reading in class, we are working a unit to survey different genres.  They are reading stories from ReadingA-Z from different genres.  Then, they will choose a genre they want to read and I will assign literature circles for novels based on their genre preferences.  We introduced our genre unit by reading The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore.  This is such a great story with a great theme of the joy that can be found in a book.  Next year, I will read this book at the beginning of the year and use it to introduce genres.

Teen Fiction:

Here is what I have read in the last couple weeks in teen fiction. I try to read a lot of teen fiction because I also have fifth great students who read at very high reading levels and are already reading a lot of the teen fiction.  I like to know which books might have content I think is too mature for them and which ones are a little more clean.

I finished Looking For Alaska by John Green.   It is a great book with some really interesting characters.  It deals with a lot of mature subject matter like sex, drugs, smoking, and suicide so I would not recommend it for younger students.  It definitely brings up a lot of room for discussion on character analysis.  I would recommend it for 8th grade and up.

I had finished The Fault in Our Stars right before Looking for Alaska.  The Fault in Our Stars is so popular right now.  It is a sad story about two cancer patients who fall in love.  It definitely deals with issues of life, death, and love.  Overall, it is a cleaner read than Looking For Alaska but definitely still on the mature side.  After reading The Fault in Our Stars, I almost wanted to go back and reread A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (which I have not read since 10th grade).

I have recently discovered that I can check out ebooks from my library and borrow them for two weeks on the Kindle on my iPad.  It is awesome!  It is making it so easy for me to keep up with my reading without going broke.

This weekend I read Mystic City by Theo Lawrence.  It reminded me a lot of Legend.  It is a love story set in a dystopian novel.  It was a clean read and one younger students could read.  I would recommend it to any student who liked Legend.

I also read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  This book involves sixth grade students and some time travel.  It takes place in the 1970's in New York City.  It might make an interesting read aloud.  This book does reference A Wrinkle in Time a lot, so it might be nice to pair with A Wrinkle in Time.  This book reminds me a little of Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett for situational plot and characters, but I liked Chasing Vermeer a lot better.

What have you been reading?


  1. Hi there April, lots of familiar titles here. My adult book club read When You Reach Me - others absolutely loved it, I enjoyed it personally but did not fall in love with it. Same with Looking for Alaska, which I didn't particularly enjoy, and so I'm a wee bit reluctant to read The Fault in our Stars. I loved Crow Call though. :) thanks for sharing all these and hope you have a great reading week!

  2. I’m glad you’re doing this! :) Sounds like great fun!! I'll be glad if you see my blog!

  3. I’m glad you’re doing this! :) Sounds like great fun!! I'll be glad if you see my blog!

  4. I haven't seen Crow Call yet. It looks really interesting. Thanks for the reviews and synopses!


Pin It button on image hover