Reading and Writing Strategies at Work: A Mentor Text Lesson for Owls by Gail Gibbons

I am so excited to be back with another blog link up with the Reading Crew!

This time, we are focusing on Fall Mentor Texts!

I chose a wonderful informational book PERFECT for fall: Owls by Gail Gibbons. Perfect for informational studies, and just a little bit spooky!

 Not only are we all sharing ideas for mentor texts, you can win all the books above! Read all the way through the post to see how to win!

I am a big believer in using activating strategies for students, especially when working with informational text. I think they help students with predicting information prior to reading. They also help students organize new learning  and "filing" it correctly and appropriately in the brain for easier retrieval later.  

Basically, by implementing extensive previewing strategies, kids can organizing their learning and apply it later.

We will be using two strategies before reading this text.

The first is a good old KWL chart.  I am sure you are familiar with this!  However, we are going to add to it a bit!  This is a KWL Plus chart. Have you ever heard of it before?

  Students will be doing the same components and procedures as a KWL chart.  However, after students brainstorm what they know about the topic (the K), they will be filling out the bottom section, "Categories of Information We Expect to Use" before moving on the the W (What I Want to Learn). 

To fill this organizer out, first brainstorm what students already know about a topic. Then, look at what students have listed in the K (What I Know) section.  Can the information be grouped or categorized?  Consider categories such as diet, habitat, life cycle, etc and list it in the bottom.  Finally, create a "code" for each category and then "code" where you expect the information will be found.

These codes are a really important part of the task.  They force the reader to think in groups/ topics of and predict what could possibly be in the text.  It helps them prepare for how this type of text will be organized and helps them anticipate that.  It also can help with text mapping and summarizing the text at the end. 

If the KWL Plus format is used often enough, students can transfer knowledge from one context to another.  For example, students will realize that many animal books will cover diet, habitat, and appearance. It is important to think carefully about the topics at the bottom.  These can later be used to help create informational paragraphs about owls.

After completing the categories, complete the Want to Know section, like usual.  If possible, code these to PREDICT where the information will be found in the book (section on diet? habitats?).

Since this is an informational book, you want  to make sure to zero in on text features.

Before reading the text, brainstorm the text features that could POSSIBLY be found in the text. Then, write each feature on a post it note and attach it to an anchor chart. Do this before ever opening the book.

This can either be done right before reading the book with an extensive picture walk or during the first reading.  

Show students each page of the text.  As students see a text feature, ask them to raise their hands to identify the text feature.  Then, pull the matching post it notes off the anchor chart, and use it as a label to identify the text feature.  If a text feature is found that was NOT on the anchor chart, simply write it on a new post it note and label away! 

Now students have already had their attention drawn to the text features so they can apply them when reading!

Click below to grab your freebies!

Are you looking for more activities for this book? I started writing and INTENDED for this blog post to be all about finding the main idea.  Then, I kept writing...and writing...and writing.  Before I knew it, I had created an entire one week mini unit!  Whoops! That was NOT my goal, but I ran with it.

It has 5-6 days of bulleted lessons and tons of other activities- including the ones above.

It has the activation ideas above, two vocabulary lessons (you can choose which one to use), main idea instruction and activities, a writing activity and craft. You can snag it right now for only $4 on TpT! Click here to grab it!

Want to check out MORE mentor text lessons?  Make sure to check out all the links below! If you want to win a copy of each book in the link up, scroll down under the link up to enter!  Good luck!!

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  1. Wow, Mandy! You offer such awesome ideas to go along with this ONE book. Awesome post :)
    The Techie Teacher

  2. I love Gail Gibbons and this book and your post don't disappoint! Great post and resource!

  3. This is a great post. How you come it up! I think it is very important when the teacher has a lot of ideas for his lessons. Because if the students are interested in it and they like the teacher, then they will study harder and do their home assignments. I think that if the student goes to essay writing service uk for help with his paper work, it means that he is lazy or his lessons are boring. Thank you for these activities for students on the lessons. I hope you feel their love.

  4. Useful tips and strategies, they are suitable for children with a non-standard type of thinking. It will also be useful for some adults. I know many people who use such services bookwormlab review, I had used them myself, they helped me to free up time for personal needs, it is important for a man in adolescence.

  5. These materials - Owls by Gail Gibbons - look very helpful, bright, and fun at the same time. Especially good old KWL chart. I'm thinking about getting all of them.
    Thanks for sharing with us and motivating us!
    Geneva from DSA Personal Statement


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