Making Connections Mentor Texts

One of my favorite times of the day in the classroom was when I got to read out loud to my students.  I loved sharing new literature with them, exposing them to unique characters and different cultures.  But the thing I loved the most when reading to them is our connections.  Making connections can be a very natural process and is best taught through modeling.  When reading to my students, we created conversations based on the deep connections we made to the texts.  This helped us not only understand the text more but also helped strengthened our student/teacher relationships.  Check out my favorite making connections mentor texts below!

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Making Connections Mentor Text #1:  Lunch from Home

 Lunch from Home is a sweet and short story about a classroom of diverse students who all bring in lunch from home.  However, some of the students in the class think the lunches they are bringing are weird and gross.  After a while of hearing this, the students decided they just wanted to bring sandwiches like everyone else.  Finally, after getting tired of eating sandwiches all the time, the students went back to what they know and love best – lunches that make them feel special and at home.

This book is a very quick read, great for early elementary grades!  And it’s the perfect book to talk about making connections.  Throughout the book, students can discuss connections to food, family, feeling left out or outcasted, comfort, and many other topics.  The other thing I love about this book is every student in class, when we discuss it, has a different and valuable connection to the book.  It’s something all students can connect to very easily which makes it the perfect book for making connections!

Mentor Text #2:  Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress

Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress is an adorable book about a young girl who finds an amazing yellow dress from a thrift store androsie and the preloved dress picture book cover it quickly becomes her favorite dress.  However, after wearing it day after day all through the summer, Rosie quickly grew out of her dress.  She tried so hard to make the dress have a different purpose but she was finally convinced by her mother to take it back to the thrift store where another young girl might just fall in love with it as she did.

Although this story may sound and feel easy to understand, it has some deep themes and connection possibilities.  All children become attached to something in their lives that they eventually have to give up.  A toy, a blanket, a pair of shoes.  How does that make them feel?  That item has become a part of their identity in a way so what happens when it’s no longer with us?  What connections can be made through the theme of giving back?  You can have some great discussions with your students with this book!

Making Connections Mentor Text #3:  Paper Son

paper son picture book cover Paper Son is a narrative biography about Tyrus Wong who was an immigrant from China and ended up becoming one of the key artists at Walt Disney and the movie Bambi.  The story tells of him and his father leaving China for America, scared of the journey and of the immigration police.  It goes through Tyrus’ childhood and the fact that he loved art more than school.  His father worked hard and was able to put him through art school where he explored the western and eastern styles of art.

One of the great things about this book is that it combines so many unique factors all in one.  Cultural awareness, history, art, pop culture, and many more!  When reading and discussing this story, it works very well for making connections.  Students typically make connections about being someone ‘new’ and how that feels.  They also make connections to the theme of doing what we have to do versus doing what we want which is something Tyrus struggled with.  Such great discussions from such an amazing book!

Looking for more mentor texts?  Check out my summarizing and characterization suggestions too!

Mentor Text #4:  Black Dog

In the story Black Dog, a family is shocked to see a very large dog outside of their house.  One by one, each character sees the dog black dog picture book cover and describes it as being bigger and bigger than the one who saw it before them.  It got to the point where the black dog was the size of a dinosaur.  Everyone hid from the dog, closed the curtains, and even called the police – who were no help at all.  Finally, the smallest in the family went outside to see the black dog.  He ran from the dog to see if it would eat him, only going through small spaces where the dog shouldn’t have been able to fit.  In the end, the size of the dog was extremely exaggerated, and was welcomed into the home.

A very unique story indeed, the Black Dog is a simple story but a powerful one to talk about making connections.  In the story, students can make connections about what it feels like to be scared of something or even more, to be scared of something that you didn’t need to be scared of in the first place.  Exaggeration is also a great topic for making connections.  Why did the characters exaggerate in the story?  When do we tend to exaggerate in our lives?

Making Connections Mentor Text #5:  Mommy’s Hometown

mommy's hometown picture book cover The story Mommy’s Hometown is about a young boy and his mother.  His mother grew up in a small town in Korea and tells her son story after story of what it was like growing up near the mountains, by the stream, and in the small town.  The young boy is so excited to travel to this special place he has heard so much about.  But when he arrives he finds that it’s not what he was told.  The small town is instead a large city with skyscrapers that block the beautiful mountains.  It takes time for the boy to adjust but he eventually sees and feels the magic of the town just as his mother did when she grew up.

I absolutely love this story!  I think it’s one that MANY adults can relate to in this day and age.  With life around us changing so fast and being in a tech-centered world, things are much different now than when we were little.  This is a great book for making connections due to the overall experience the little boy had visiting the town in Korea.  We have all been disappointed in our lives.  What caused the disappointment?  How did the situation end?  Another great book for a fun discussion of making connections!

I hope you found some new and amazing mentor texts to help teach making connections!  If you want to save this post for later, pin 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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