Kindergarten Mentor Texts to teach reading and writing with Cynthia Rylant’s Scarecrow book (affiliate link)… you bet!
This last week I had the pleasure of visiting a kindergarten classroom. She had already started the book, Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant for her Guiding Readers/Close Read, so when she asked me to do a lesson on word choice… I could not contain my excitement. This book is PERFECT for word choice (among other things.)
As you know, in our Guiding Readers/Reading Comprehension units, the teacher does the decoding work and the students do the thinking work. Each day of the week, we revisit the same book [in this case, Scarecrow], but we read it for a different purpose. Within a few lessons, students start to take ownership of the thinking work they are asked to do. This carries over to their own experiences with books.
Here are few examples from this kindergarten mentor text that students worked on.
Recalling Text Details
This is a book that does not really have a sequential order, so students we asked to recall details that were in the story or not in the story. Asking students to tune into the events and moments in the story is a life-long skill.
Everyone loves Scarecrow and his kind, gentle disposition!
At this point of the year, many students are still making most of their meaning through their illustrations.
“I saw a sad scarecrow.”
“I read a book, Mad Scarecrow.”
We also had fun putting this craft together (also in the units).
This one cracked me up… those FEET! Ha!
As I said, I was in her classroom for two days. She was looking for a way to move students away from “I like” stories. So I started by modeling a lesson. In this lesson, we shared the pen. I wrote about my family and told the students that I could have written, “I like my family,” but I decided to try a different sentence that told more. “We are outside on a sunny day.” I modeled how it was okay to use invented spelling and that we should use the words we WANT to write, versus using just the words we know how to spell.
Then I modeled again. I resisted writing, “Scarecrow likes the garden.” I held the pen as students helped me put the sounds down. Once again, I welcomed the invented spelling.
Then it was the students’ turn.
At first glance, this might be a confusing illustration. Once he told me he was at the museum, and those were dinosaur bones and other exhibits… I thought… BAAAA-rilliant!
“Scarecrow dreamed about Santa Claus.” of course he did!
Sidenote: I don’t write on the students’ writing. This can ignite teacher dependence and anxiety in the writer. If I want to remember what they wrote, I can just flip it over and scribble it out. When I student asks what I wrote, I just say, “Oh… these are notes just for me.” When it is my own classroom, I put these notes in my conferring notebook.
THIS ONE! LOVE! “The owl is whistling in the night.”
You can find our detailed writers’ workshop curriculum by clicking HERE.
Each day is scripted to give you support and show you the possibilities. With time, you will become so confident in teaching writing that you will be comfortable moving the lessons around and teaching them in a different order to meet the needs of your students. These units were written in 2011 and updated a few years ago to make them, even more, teacher friendly. We love reading the unit feedback.
Tell me about your favorite kindergarten mentor texts!
You may also be interested in:
- Writing and Conferring in Kindergarten
- 9 Books that Get Kids Writing in Writers Workshop
- 5 Things You Need to Know About Writers Workshop
- Interactive Read Aloud
- More Scarecrow Lesson Plans
Mentor Text Free Files
We have collected quite a few mentor texts lists for reading and writing instruction. Simply add your email to the box below and it will be sent along the way. This includes a HUGE resource guide and curriculum map!