Mentor Texts for Weather Units in Upper Elementary

Teaching about the weather has always been so much fun for me!

One of the things I love to do with a weather unit is to tie it into language arts!

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite books to use as mentor texts in upper elementary.

Some of them give more factual information, while others are great springboards for a class discussion, a writing activity, or simply to enjoy!

1. Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

A little girl is frightened of the booming thunder, but her grandmother tries to distract her by making a special thunder cake together.


2. Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackwell

This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a lighthouse keeper and all of the responsibilities that go with that, regardless of the weather.


3. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

This is the true story of how Wilson Bentley photographed thousands of snowflakes and came to realize the beauty and uniqueness of each one.


4. The Man Who Named the Clouds by Julie Hannah and Joan Holub

Luke Howard starting keeping a weather journal when he was ten years old in 1782. He ended up classifying clouds as an adult. One of my favorite parts is looking at the paintings Howard made in the 1800’s compared to actual photographs from today.


5. Water is Water by Miranda Paul

This book takes readers through all of the phases of the water cycle in a poetic way. I love the illustrations by Jason Chin, who also illustrated Redwoods, Coral Reefs, and more.


6. Weather Forecasting by Gail Gibbons

This book shows readers what it’s like to work in a weather station. Gail Gibbons has also authored other weather books like Hurricanes and Tornadoes.


7. Thunder Rose by Jerdine Nolen

This tall tale reminds me a bit of Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill. In this story, Rose MacGruber could hold lightning and thunder in her hands from the time she was a newborn!

This is a great one to show hyperbole and to use as a model to have students create their own tall tales.


8. The Cloud Book by Tomie de Paola

This book is loaded with scientific information while describing what other cultures have thought about clouds over the years. I love this book!


9. The Snowflake by Neil Waldman

This book tells the story of a single drop of water month by month. At the end of the book, the author explains that the water we drink may have also been used by Abraham Lincoln or even a Tyrannosaurus Rex! This little fact guarantees a great conversation in your classroom or home!

10. Blizzard by John Rocco

This book tells about the author’s experiences as a little boy in the Rhode Island blizzard of 1978. It’s a great book to use to teach theme since there are clear examples of compassion and giving within the story.


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

Click here to take a look at the Weather Play.

Here’s a summary of the play:

It’s Career Day for Miss Sprinkle and her students (Raindrop, Drizzle, Mist, and Droplet). Miss Sprinkle takes her class on a field trip to get to know all the different types of weather careers available. Along the way, they meet lots of cute characters like the brothers, Thunder and Lightning, the bad boy, Blizzard, the hippie clouds (Nimbus, Stratus and Cumulus) and more. In the end, each little water droplet decides which career he/she would like to pursue.

Reader's Theater Weather Play

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 stand-alone reading resource or to supplement science units (it’s loaded with scientific weather information but is so much fun!). The Weather Play script is kid-approved and comes with very complete teacher notes!


If you are looking for other Reader’s Theater plays to supplement other subjects, I have a few others you might enjoy! 


You can definitely use these for fluency practice, to incorporate science into reading, or to use as a whole school or parent performance if you’d like. Each script is kid-approved (lots of humor) and comes with very complete teacher notes!

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

Mega Science Bundle Reader's Theaters

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