Mentor Texts for Teaching Synthesizing

Synthesizing is one of the more difficult reading comprehension strategies to teach. This higher-level type of thinking occurs when students combine their own schema with information from the text to create a new level of understanding. This ongoing process takes place as a reader’s thinking is changed as he/she learns and grows.

Synthesizing often occurs with longer pieces of literature, like chapter books, but it can also be modeled using picture books.

Here is the sentence frame I like to use for synthesizing:

At first I was thinking …

Then I was thinking …

Now I am thinking …

This set of sentence starters helps students to see the progression of how their own thinking changes as they get new information from the text.

One reading tip I like to share with students is to stop every now and then to think about their reading (being metacognitive) and to notice how their thinking has changed since they started the story, or since they paused to think the last time.

The books listed below have interesting and thought provoking stories your students will enjoy!


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Fables Mentor Text

1. Fables

Fables by Arnold Lobel is a collection of twenty fables, each one occupying one page and accompanied by sweet illustrations.


Beekle Mentor Text

2. The Adventures of Beeckle: The Unimaginary Friend

The Adventures of Beeckle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat is a fun tale of an imaginary friend in search of a child.


Emma Kate Mentor Text

3. Emma Kate

Emma Kate by Patricia Polacco is about young girl named Emma Kate’s imaginary friend and how they love to do just about everything together.


Roxaboxen Mentor Text

4. Roxaboxen

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran is about an imaginary town created by a little girl, her sisters, and her friends.


The Stranger Mentor Text

5. The Stranger

The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg tells the mysterious story of a stranger who has no memory of who he is or where he’s from.


Martin and Alice Mentor Text

6. Martin and Anne

Martin and Anne by Nancy Churbib tells about the parallel journeys both Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. experienced in their journey to find hope even during difficult times.


Finding Winnie Mentor Text

7. Finding Winnie

Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick tells the true story of the bear who was the ultimate inspiration for Winne-the-Pooh.


The Junkyard Wonders Mentor Text

8. The Junkyard Wonders

The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco is about a young girl who moves to new school in search of a fresh start so that no one will know her as a “special” student.


Seeds and Trees Mentor Text

9. Seeds and Trees

Seeds and Trees by Brandon Walden is a beautiful picture book about a young prince who faithfully pants and grows the seeds others give him.


Mentor Texts for Teaching Synthesizing Book List Pin


Here are a few more synthesizing mentor texts:

Thunder Underground by Jane Yolen (poems)

Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim

Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

The Littlest Matryoshka by Corinne Demas Bliss

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens

Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn Jordan



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