Mentor Texts for Teaching Character Traits

Teaching character traits is one of my favorite things! There are so many different ways to approach it, and it’s fun to get creative.

You won’t be surprised to hear that one of my favorite ways to teach this is by using mentor texts (if you’ve looked around this blog at all you know I love a good mentor text!).

Here are some of my favorite mentor texts to use when teaching Character Traits.

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1. The Can Man

In this story, a boy named Tim, who wants a skateboard more than anything else for his birthday. He knows his family can’t afford one, and he is inspired by a homeless man in the neighborhood who collects cans to make money. Tim has several encounters with the Can Man that change his outlook. This story will get your students thinking about small acts of kindness and what a big impact they can have.

2. Amazing Grace

Grace is a kiddo who loves stories! When the teacher announces the class is putting on a play of Peter Pan, she is eager to audition for the lead role. Other kids are quick to point out that she’s not a girl, and she’s black, so she can’t! Grace’s Nana reminds Grace that she can do anything she puts her mind to! Grace decides to go for it, and puts her all into the audition.

3. The Recess Queen

This story focuses on Mean Jean, who rules the playground, and a new girl named Katie Sue. Katie Sue isn’t afraid of Mean Jean, and plays what she wants to play at recess. She even asks Mean Jean to play with her, which all the other kids have always been too scared to do. Everyone is amazed at her transformation! This story is a good reminder that sometimes standing up to bullies is the best way to beat them, AND that sometimes what a “bully” really needs is someone to give them a chance.

4. Wemberly Worried

Little Wemberly worries about everything, big, small, and in between. As her first day of school approaches, Wemberly is more worried than ever! Luckily she meets a fellow worrywart at school, and together they learn that there are way better things to do at school besides just worry.

5. Not Norman

Curtis is dying for a pet, a soft furry pet to sleep in bed with him, or an energetic pet that would run around and catch. Imagine his disappointment when he gets Norman, a goldfish, instead! When he gets the chance, will Curtis trade Norman in for a “good pet,” or will he start to recognize all of Norman’s good qualities?

6. Knots on a Counting Rope

This touching story is about a young Native American boy who is blind. One night, he asks his grandfather to once again share the story of the boy’s life, which is represented by knots on a rope. Through Grandfather’s story, we learn that the boy was born blind, and all of the obstacles that he has overcome in his life so far. Each time they talk about this story, another knot is added to the rope, symbolizing the passage of time and the boy’s growing confidence.

7. The Night I Followed the Dog

Like most of us, the boy in this book believes his dog is pretty ordinary. But one day, when he looks outside a little earlier than usual, he sees his pup hopping out of a limo. He decides to follow his do and find out what is going on. Turns out, there is a whole world of dogs that we humans know nothing about! The boys dog leads him an a great adventure, to find out what dogs to do relax while their owners are sleeping.

8. The Invisible Boy

Brian, who thinks of himself as the invisible boy, never gets much attention from the other kids at school. When a new student, Justin, arrives Max makes him feel welcome and included.  When the two team up to work on a project together for school, Max finally gets the attention he’s been hoping for. This is a great book to highlight the importance of including everyone, especially the quieter students whose needs tend to get overlooked.

9. Max the Brave

Max is an adorable cat who wants everyone to know how fearless he is! He decides to do that, he needs to catch a mouse. The only problem? He doesn’t actually know what a mouse is or where to find one. This books is the story of the funny adventure that Max goes on the prove his bravery. It’s geared more towards younger readers, but with its humor and vibrant illustrations, older students will love it, too!

10. My Rotten Redhead Older Brother

In a classic case of sibling rivalry, Patricia’s brother, Richard can do everything better than she can! One night Patricia sees a shooting star and wishes for there to be something that she can do better than Richard. Will she get her wish? Any student with a younger or older sibling will identify with this story.


Are you working on Character Traits with your class? Need some more ideas? I’ve got you covered!

If you are looking for an activity to use for centers, independent work, or whole-class games, take a peek at this one:



Have you been looking high and low for more ideas about teaching Character Traits? Check out these blogs!


Thank you so much for stopping by!


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Hi, I’m Jenn! I love to create resources that hit standards, are engaging for students, and save teachers time. It’s my goal to help you help your students have fun while learning! Thanks so much for joining me here!

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