Valentine’s Day Mentor Texts for Teaching Reading

Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day?  Even if you’re not a fan of the mushy-gushy ‘love’, this holiday is about so much more!  Loving ourselves and our family, friendship, and above all – happiness!  These are great topics to discuss in the classroom during the month of February.  To help you out, I gathered some of my favorite Valentine’s Day mentor texts you might want to use!  The great thing is, I paired each book with a reading skill that you use the book to teach with!  Come check out my Valentine’s Day mentor texts for teaching reading!

Valentine's Day Mentor Texts


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Mentor Text #1:  Nobody Hugs a Cactus

Nobody Hugs a Cactus This book is absolutely one of the most adorable books I’ve ever read!  This adorable little cactus warms our hearts by making a big transformation in such a small way.  This isn’t your traditional ‘Valentine’s Day’ book, but it’s perfect for this month to talk with students about how everyone deserves to be happy, loved, and have close friends.  A little too close in Hank’s (the cactus) case!

The reading skill I would use to teach this book would be character development! Hank, the cactus, transforms in the book from a mean and cranky cactus to one who thinks even he deserves and wants a friend.  Many important (and funny) events lead him to this transformation, making it a great book to use to teach character development!

Mentor Text #2:  The Love Letter

The Love Letter isn’t a book about romantic love like it sounds.  It’s a wonderful story about a letter that gets unintentionally passed from friend to friend until finally, the real The Love Letter bookauthor of the letter reveals who the letter is really written for – the moon.  The friends in the book realize how wonderful the letter made them feel, even though the letter wasn’t for them.  This book is great for students of any age to hear and talk about kindness, friendship, and the power of our words!

The reading skill I would use to teach this book would be cause and effect.  Many of the events in the text are linked to one another in obvious and unique ways.  This book would lend itself to a great conversation about cause and effect relationships in events and how multiple events can build up and cause one major event in a text.  Definitely a must-read each February!

Mentor Text #3:  Zombie in Love

Zombie in Love book There aren’t many ‘Valentine’ books out there that boys would just LOVE to read about, but this just might be one!  Zombie in Love is an adorable little story about one zombie’s journey to find someone to spend his life with.  He does everything he can to impress many girls, but none of them fit him just right.  That is until the night of the big dance, where his soul mate falls (literally) right in front of him!  I never thought I’d feel happy about zombies finding love, but this book made me do it!

The reading skill I would use to teach this book would be plot.  This book has a very classic story structure, perfect for reviewing the parts of plot – whether you’re teaching beginning, middle, end or the plot diagram with all of the pieces.  Students will be able to practice retelling and reconstructing the plot with a fun Valentine twist!

Mentor Text #4:  Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

This is definitely a Valentine classic so I hope you’ve read it already, but if not – definitely grab it!  This is an adorable story about a lonely man, named Mr. Hatch.  Mr. Hatch did Somebody Loves you mr. Hatch bookthe same thing every day.  He walked to work alone.  Mr. Hatch ate his lunch alone.  He lived all alone.  His life was very basic and he rarely smiled.  That is until one day when Mr. Hatch received a Valentine from the mailman.  This absolutely changed everything!  Now Mr. Hatch was caught smiling, dancing, talking and making all sorts of friends.  Unfortunately, that didn’t last long.  Mr. Hatch found out the Valentine he received wasn’t really for him.  This made Mr. Hatch go right back to being, well, Mr. Hatch.  Make sure to read the book to find out how it all ends! 😉

The reading skill I would use to teach this book would be character development – how the character changes throughout the story.  You can easily tie in character traits as well to have students compare and contrast Mr. Hatch during the two different times in his life.  Also discussing the cause of the change and dissecting how that affected the story!  This book is one of the best mentor texts for teaching characterization!

Mentor Text #5:  XO, Ox  A Love Story

XO, Ox A Love Story book Talk about a unique story!  The two characters in the story, the Ox and the Gazelle pass letters back and forth, but only one of them are love letters!  Ox is absolutely in love with Gazelle, who seems to be famous.  Gazelle, on the other hand, doesn’t have time for small-brained Ox’s.  She gets upset when Ox doesn’t understand what she is saying in her letters.  They correspond back and forth many times until finally, Gazelle has had enough.  Make sure to snag this one to see how it ends!

The reading skill I would use to teach this book would be making inferences.  There are many inferences that can be made through the letters, many that Ox himself doesn’t pick up on.  Also, towards the end of the story, many of the illustrations play an important role in the inferences and information needed to understand how the story ends.

Mentor Text #6:  Love, Z

I never thought I’d be reading a Valentine’s Day book with robots as the main character, but this is it!  What I love most about this book is the big picture.  The young robot goes on Love, Za journey to figure out what the word ‘love’ means.  Everyone he talks to gives him a different answer and answers that he doesn’t understand.  It’s not until he takes what he has learned about love and applies it to his own life, with the help of his family, that he finally figures out what love really means.  Tearjerker!  This book is extraordinary and the perfect book for Valentine’s Day!  Grab that anchor chart paper and get your students to talk about what ‘love’ means to them.  <3

The reading skill I would use to teach this book would be plot.  Similar to Zombie in Love, from above, this book has a very concise story structure, perfect for helping students identify the components of the plot of the story.  You could also twist it to focus on problem and solution as well since Z’s journey was all about him solving the problem about not knowing what ‘love’ meant!  This is definitely one of my favorite Valentine’s Day mentor texts around!

Mentor Text #7: Snowy Valentine 

Snowy Valentine book If you’re looking for a ‘classic’ type Valentine’s Day book, this is definitely it!  Jasper, the bunny, is on the search for the most perfect Valentine’s Day gift for his wife.  He searches high and low, asks many of his friends, but doesn’t come up with something he just knows she will love.  It isn’t until he returns home empty-handed that he realizes he gave her the most perfect gift just by trying.

Seriously, this book is simply adorable and perfect for teaching problem and solution.  The problem is very obvious in the story and the character attempts multiple times to solve the problem, which is perfect for showing students that solutions do not just come the first time characters try to solve them.  Talk about all of the attempts made by Jasper and how the final solution truly came to be.

Mentor Text #8:  This is NOT a Valentine

What an adorable story, and as the character would say, definitely NOT a Valentine’s Day story!  This book is perfect for all of the students who think Valentine’s Day is just about This is not a valentine book mushy-gushy love stuff!  The sweet character in this story gives his friend a gift, that is definitely NOT a valentine.  He explains in MUCH detail how and why the gift is most definitely not a valentine and through this, we can infer the perspective the character has about Valentine’s Day AND support it with much text evidence!  If you haven’t snagged this one, grab it and read it to your class today!


I hope you found some new mentor texts to add to your classroom library!  If you need some Winter Mentor Texts, make sure to check out that list too!  And I hope you and your class have a wonderful Valentine season!  If you want to save this post for later, make sure to use the image below!



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I’m a wife, a mommy of 3, blogger, and a full time teacher author and presenter. I love to read, shop, and spend time with my family! My hands are always busy, but my heart is so full!

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