Mentor Texts for Teaching Determining Importance

Mentor Texts for Teaching Determining Importance Collage Pin

One of the key concepts that readers need to use on a regular basis is determining importance. The ability to determine which parts of a text are important rather than simply interesting or additional information plays a huge role in comprehension.

When you think about finding the main idea, identifying the theme, or determining character traits, each of these reading skills requires readers to zero-in on parts of the text that are important and worth noting.

As students research information to answer questions or to write a report, again, determining importance can make the process relatively simple or extremely difficult.

This reading strategy is not an easy one to teach and will most likely require reinforcing the idea over time to lead students to mastery. The picture books below are a few of the books I like to use for mini-lessons about determining importance.


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1. Wilfred Gordan McDonald Partridge

Wilfred Gordan McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox tells the sweet tale of a young boy who helps an old lady get back some of her memory.


The Gardener Mentor Text

2. The Gardener

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart is set in the Depression era and tells the story of a young girl and the garden she cultivates on her rooftop in the city.


The Keeping Quilt Mentor Text

3. The Keeping Quilt

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco is a biography about immigration, following a Jewish family’s tradition and the story of their keeping quilt.


4. Grandfather’s Journey

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say is based on the author’s grandfather’s journey from Japan to the United States and back again.


Slither and Crawl Mentor Text

5. Slither and Crawl: Eye to Eye with Reptiles

Slither and Crawl: Eye to Eye with Reptiles by Jim Arnosky gets readers up close and personal with Reptiles, detailing all sorts of great information such as how to identify venomous snakes.


6. The Night I Followed the Dog

The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden is a fun children’s book about a young boy who think his dog is ordinary, that is, until he follows him on one eye-opening night.


7. Why Does the Earth Spin

Why Does the Earth Spin by Mary Kay Carson, in question and answer format, offers a great deal of fascinating information about our planet and its many wonders.


Hoop Genius Mentor Text

8. Hoop Genius

Hoop Genius by John Coy is a fun narrative about how basketball came to be.


Bats Mentor Text

9. Bats

Bats by Gail Gibbons is an informational picture book for those interested in learning all about bats!



Here are a few more mentor texts for teaching determining importance:

The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons

The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant

Rudi’s Pond by Eve Bunting

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies

Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Dinosaur Lady by Linda Skeers

Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds



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