Mentor Texts for Teaching Text to Text Connections


I love teaching about making text to text connections! My students always get excited about comparing and contrasting things from two books that we’ve read together!

Besides being fun though, making text to text connections while reading can help students activate their background knowledge and use higher-level thinking.

The goal is to directly teach students to make text to text connections so that with enough practice, students will start making these types of connections as a natural part of their reading-thinking process.

Making strong text to text connections is one way to increase their understanding of the text.

I’ve listed some of my favorite books to read to illustrate this reading concept during reading lessons. Of course, many paired books will work equally well.

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Jabari Jumps Mentor TextThe Thing Lou Couldn't Do Mentor Text

1. Jabari Jumps and The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwell is about a young boy, Jabari, who, after finishing swimming lessons, must find the courage to take the big jump off the diving board.

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires follows a girl named Lou and her brave group of friends. They go on many adventures together, and one day Lou finds that there is one task in which she is not fearless.


Songbird Mentor Text Caterpillar Dreams Mentor Text

2. Songbird and Caterpillar Dreams

Songbird by Jenn Larson (that’s me!!!) is a story about Sydney, a small bird who finds the courage to dream big when she discovers her love for music while living in Central Park.

Caterpillar Dreams by Clive McFarland is a tale of courage about a young caterpillar named Henri. Henri must leave the safety of his home in order to chase his big, seemingly impossible dream.


Those Shoes Mentor Text The Hundred Dresses Mentor Text

3. Those Shoes and The Hundred Dresses 

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts follows a boy named Jeremy who wants a certain pair of shoes – the pair of shoes that everyone else at school seems to be wearing.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is about a Polish girl in Connecticut who is mocked for seeming different.


The Relatives Came Mentor Text

4. The Relatives Came and When Lightning Comes in a Jar 

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant is a picture book about a family’s many relatives and their chaotic visit to the family’s home.

When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Ernest L. Polacco is the story of a special family reunion. At this reunion, the children’s grandma promises to teach them something amazing – how to catch “lightning” in a jar.


Tree Lady Mentor TextWangari's Trees of Peace Mentor Text

5. Tree Lady and Wangari’s Trees of Peace

Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins is the true story of  activist Kate Sessions, who helps San Diego grow from a desert into a lush city filled with beautiful parks and gardens.

Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter is the true story of Wangari Maathai, an environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, whose passion and dedication to our planet has made the world of a difference.


Amazing Grace Mentor Text Oliver Button is a Sissy Mentor Text

6. Amazing Grace and Oliver Button is a Sissy

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman is a story about discrimination. Grace is told she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black. However, she is determined to do whatever is she sets her mind to.

Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola is a story about gender stereotyping. The young boy in this story, Oliver, must overcome teasing from other students for liking activities such as reading, painting, and tap-dancing rather than sports.



Mentor Texts for Text to Text Connections Book Images Pin


Here are a few more mentor texts for text to text connections:

Thank you, Mr. Falkner by Patricia Polacco and More Than Anything Else by Marie Bradby

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill

Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds and Flight School by Lita Judge

Moosetache by Margie Palatini and Calvin Can’t Fly by Jennifer Berne

A Chair for my Mother by Vera Willaims and The Can Man by Laura E. Williams

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully and The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein




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