You know that your students have a lot of opinions. Getting them to write those opinions in a logical and succinct way can be tough. One of the best ways to introduce opinion writing is to model how beloved authors share their opinions through the use of mentor texts. The list below includes some tried and true mentor texts along with a few that may be new to you. No matter which book(s) you choose, your students will be laughing the whole time they’re learning!
What Are Mentor Texts?
Mentor texts are pieces of writing that are presented to your students as good examples of a specific skill. They can be used to model everything from excellent uses of setting to our focus in this blog post, opinion writing.
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The main character Alex wants an Iguana and spends the book laying out his arguments for why his mom should let him get one. The comparison between Alex’s opinion of life with an iguana and what his mom thinks life with an iguana will be is hilarious.
There is a reason that this book is one that you will hear about anytime opinion writing is brought up. It’s a classic! It’s a story about two battling opinions. A boy thinks ants are for squishing and the ant disagrees.
A bear at a campground LOVES the food that campers leave but a park ranger has a very different opinion. Your students will enjoy hearing a story about two characters with such hilariously different opinions.
Is it a duck or is it a rabbit?! This book is a great way to introduce the idea of arguing to support your opinion through the use of kid-friendly optical illusion.
If your students are anything like mine they LOVE the Pigeon book series. Pigeon is very opinionated about the fact that he is not tired and wants to stay up.
Introduce opinion writing with this fantastic mentor text. A boy thinks that a stegosaurus would be the best pet. He then supports his opinion, just like we’re trying to get our students to do!
Your students might think that a pig parade is a good idea but they’re wrong. This book is a great example of using support to back up an opinion.
A girl wants, no NEEDS to get her ears pierced. At least, that’s her opinion. Listen to all of her arguments in this book!
Written by the same author as Can I Have A Stegasaurus, Mom? Can I? Please!? A boy thinks that a pterdodactly would be awesome to bring to school. Follow along as he finds creative ways to support his opinion.
Dennis and Mellie decide to write a very thorough, and fun, essay about their desire to get a dog. This is a great mentor text because of the variety and depth of their support for owning a dog.
Kelly has an opinion- red is the best. The red mittens are better. Her red stockings are better. Her red boots are better. Red is simply the best and she lists a lot of great reasons why her opinion is right.
I bet if you ask your students with siblings who their parent’s favorite kid is that they would have a pretty strong opinion, just like “The Great One” in this hilarious book of sibling rivalry.
This book can lead to a highly engaging writing prompt for your students, “what is the best pet?” This is a funny book about Elizabeth who is trying to form her own opinion on the topic!
What’s wrong with cows that can type? It gives them the chance to share all their opinions with the farmer! Not only do they have opinions but so do a lot of the other animals on the farm.
Introduce Opinion Writing Using Visual Rubrics
Don’t forget to use these mentor texts to model, model, model. As you read the mentor texts above use them to create visual rubrics for your students to refer to during their own writing. There’s a great visual rubric included in the Writing Bulletin Board.
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Writing Bulletin Board Set
Now You’re Ready to Teach Opinion Writing!
Now that you’ve presented your students with some awesome and fun mentor texts to introduce opinion writing it’s time to get them doing some writing of their own! How to Teach Opinion Writing in the Primary Classroom