Mentor Texts for Rocks and Minerals Units in Upper Elementary

I really love teaching about rocks and minerals!

I have a huge rock collection that I enjoy taking out every year! Another thing I love to do with a rocks and minerals unit is to tie it into language arts!

I thought it might be fun to share some favorite books I like to use as mentor texts in upper elementary.

Some of them give more factual information, while others work well for class discussions, for a writing activity, a reading mini-lesson, or simply to read and enjoy!

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1. The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain

This is a foldout book that has two perspectives: what it looks like beneath the ground in the city and what it looks like underneath the ground in the countryside. There are detailed illustrations with layers of rock and the Earth’s molten core, as well as animal burrows, pipes, and fossils. There’s so much information here!

2. A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston

Besides having lots of good rocks and mineral information, this book is so beautifully illustrated! It not only covers the rock cycle but also shows the ways rocks are used.


3. Ricky, the Rock That Couldn’t Roll by Jay Miletsky

This one is just plain fun! It’s a rhyming book about a group of rock friends (and their friend the ladybug) who decide to roll down their favorite hill except that there’s a problem. Ricky is flat on one side and isn’t able to roll with them. This book has a strong friendship theme and makes for a great discussion about problem-solving too.


4. The Pebble in My Pocket by Meredith Hooper

When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be more like a narrative of a pebble’s life but this book is much more scientific. It presents lots of factual information about the earth’s timeline by following a pebble’s journey from its creation in a volcano, to ending up in a glacier, and all the steps between.


5. Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor

It’s obvious that the author of this book loves rocks! This classic book inspires kids to appreciate rocks and gets them excited about rock hunting.


6. Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran

I was surprised to learn that this book is based on a true story! The kids in this book go outside and find rocks, sticks, and other odds and ends. They use their imagination to make a town called Roxboxen. I love the themes of exploration and imagination in this book!


7. Rocks in His Head by Carol Otis Hurst

This book is based on a true story. The author’s father was an avid rock collector although everyone told him it was foolish (you’ve got rocks in your head). Even when the Great Depression begins and the family has to sell the gas station they own and their house, he still finds joy in collecting rocks. The book is great to use to model the example of following your dreams.


8. The Rock Factory by Jacqui Bailey

Information about different types of rocks (and volcanoes) is presented in an easy-to-understand, straight-forward kind of way. I like the illustrations in this book and the way it was organized. It could be used as an introduction to rocks or as a review.


9. Earthsteps by Diane Nelson Spickert

The book starts 250 million years ago with a rock falling down a cliff and landing in a muddy rock pile. From there, it shows how the earth changes, how the rock weathers to a pebble, then a grain of sand, and then transforms!


10. If You Find a Rock by Barbara Hirsch Lember

I love the way this book inspires kids to get excited about nature and rocks in particular. You won’t find scientific information about rocks in this book, just poetic text and beautiful coffee-table-worthy photographs that celebrate rocks!


Besides using mentor text to extend my rocks and minerals unit, I also like to use a reader’s theater to incorporate science and reading!

Click here to take a look at my rocks and minerals play called I Wanna Be a Rock Star!

Here’s a summary of the play:

Basalt (the main character) has decided to leave the quarry to search for an agent who will help him become a rock star. Along the way, he meets each rock group, like the igneous rocks who are having a luau. During his travels, we get to know cute characters like the Geologist, a nerdy know it all, Moh, the fast-talking, slick agent and Diamond the diva superstar. In the end, Basalt seeks the advice of The Geode, a wise, all-knowing guru, who helps him follow his dreams.

I actually created it as big end of the year performances for parents as well as the entire school, but it also works well as a reading activity or to supplement science units (it’s loaded with scientific rocks and minerals information but is so much fun!). The I Wanna Be a Rock Star script is kid-approved, is loaded with humor, and comes with very complete teacher notes!

Rocks and Minerals Reader's Theater


Looking for other Reader’s Theater plays to supplement other subjects? I have a few others you might enjoy! 

SAVE MORE and GET MORE with the Reader’s Theater Bundle!

Reader's Theater Bundle of 6 Science Plays


Want to learn more about the benefits of Reader’s Theater or grab additional mentor texts? 

Using Reader’s Theater to Increase Fluency in Upper Elementary 

Mentor Texts for Solar System Units

Mentor Texts for Weather Units


Thanks so much for stopping by!

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