Friday, December 30, 2011

Poetry Mentor Text

My FAVORITE read-aloud while teaching a Poetry Unit:

Jack, the character in this book, taught me to love poetry, someone who never enjoyed this genre.
It always seems a mystery to me, symbolism I couldn't figure out. Now, thanks to Jack, I enjoy the shapes of poems, the rhythm, the sound, the beat. I can read it and not totally get it but I can always enjoy it!

My "bible" that I refer to when teaching poetry:

Georgia Heard's poetry ideas are easy to follow and kids respond so well to them!

Favorite poets to share with kids:
Jack Prelutsky - our nations 1st Children's Poet Laureate! You can see him reading his poems at the Library of Congress' Book Festival:
He also has a great website:

Mary Ann Hoberman - our nation's 2nd Poet Laureate! I especially like her poems for 2-voices!

J. Patrick Lewis - our present nation's Poet Laureate (from 2011-13) - I am a great fan of his shape poems!

Nikki Grimes - a fabulous African-American poet who grew up a reader but never saw herself in books. So she decided to write books with African-American characters. My favorite is Denitra Brown!

Shel Silverstein -  totally FUN to read-aloud his poems. Check out his website:

Valerie Worth - writes small poems; I also share her books with my most reluctant writers. It helps them to see that a poem can be just a few lines with just a few words per line.

Judith Viorst - a very funny poet!

Douglas Florian - I especially like his poems about the four seasons

Eloise Greenfield - Her poems have a great beat!

Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith - Science Verse is a must to share with reluctant boy readers.

Lee Bennett Hopkins - I especially liked reading his life story, written in poetry form in Been to Yesterdays.

Langston Hughes - I have a personal fondness for Dreams.

I started printing out the pictures of these poets and hanging them up above the stack of poetry books they wrote. This way kids would see that poets are men and women, black, and white, young and old and most are still alive. It felt almost like these poets, along with their books, were in our classroom!

Books you MUST have in your classroom while teaching a Poetry Unit:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Historical Fiction / Realistic Fiction Mentor Text

When the 4th grade was teaching the characteristics of realistic fiction and historical fiction and comparing the two genres, I suggested an author-study of Louise Borden.

Her realistic fiction books include:

And her historical fiction books include:

To see ALL her books, visit her informative website:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grammar Mentor Text

As 5th graders in the state of VA prepare for the Writing SOL in March, I gathered these MENTOR texts to share as read-alouds or during a mini-lesson when reviewing grammar rules.