Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Recommended Grades: 2-5

As the story begins, the bus driver leaves the bus, but implores the reader to keep the Pigeon from driving the bus.  The Pigeon pulls out all the stops to get the reader to allow him to drive the bus.  Do his techniques work?  

Lesson Idea:

Writers Workshop


Mentor Texts/Persuasion: As an introduction to a persuasive writing unit, have students create a list of things they can convince a friend to do.  Read aloud Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and discuss the ways the Pigeon tried to convince the reader to allow him to drive the bus.  Ask students to create a humorous book convincing someone to do something from their list.

Note: Created in collaboration with our third grade team

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

My Brother Dan’s Delicious by Steven Layne

Recommended Grades: 2-5

Third grader, Joey, is left home alone.  And what happens when you are left home alone?  Your imagination gets the best of you and sometimes “monsters” visit.  When Joey’s imagination gets the best of him, he figures out exactly what he would say if a monster wants to eat him, “My brother Dan is delicious.” 

Lesson Idea:

Writers Workshop


Mentor Texts: Read aloud My Brother Dan’s Delicious as part of a unit on the techniques of persuasion.  Discuss the techniques of persuasion (opposites, statistics (numbers), and repetition) and how they are evident in My Brother Dan’s DeliciousCreate an anchor chart that labels the techniques of persuasion.  Post the chart so students may use it as a model when writing their own persuasive piece (the example below is the second poster of 2).

Note: Other books you may want to include in a unit on the techniques of persuasion: A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea and Have I Got a Book for You!

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black

Recommended Grades: 4-6

Like most children, you probably think a pig parade is a terrific idea. . . this book begins, but the author shows you exactly why a pig parade is a terrible idea. 

Note: This month, I will share several Black Eyed Susan nominees.  A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea is a 2011-2012 nominee.

Lesson Idea:


Model Texts: I’ve written about model texts before, and this one is a great example of a model text to teach persuasive writing to students.  Read aloud A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea and discuss the techniques the author uses to persuade the reader that the idea of a pig parade is a bad one.  The author also utilizes great sequencing words and a surprise wrap up that’s worth investigating.  Perhaps, use the ending as a starter for students to write their own persuasive piece.

©2011 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff

January Theme:  Organization

Happy New Year!  Over the next five months (and last month!), I will take time to focus on picture books that you can use with each of the Six Traits of Writing.  Each month will be dedicated to a new trait.

This month’s theme is Organization.  How can we use picture books to model for students how authors choose to organize their writing?

Recommended Grades: K-2

I Wanna Iguana is a cute book of letters between a boy and his mother.  Alex wants to convince his mother that he should receive his friend’s iguana when the friend moves.  He provides plenty of reasons for his mother and his mother seems to refute each one.  Will the boy receive the iguana in the end?

Lesson idea: Read aloud this book and discuss how the author organized the book into letters between mother and son.  Also, discuss how Alex tries to persuade his mother to let him have the iguana.  Read other models of books that are organized as letters.  Dear Teacher by Amy Husband is another great model of a book organized as letters.  Have students choose a topic and two characters to write letters back and forth.  Perhaps combine with a unit on persuasion and have students write letters to have one character persuade another character to do something.   

If you are looking for additional resources and ways to teach organization to students, find past posts under the Organization tag.

**Note** I provide these lesson ideas under the assumption that you are familiar with The Six Traits of Writing.  If you are not, and would like more information on teaching students about organization or any other six traits component, please feel free to contact me at Dlittle[at]linkstoliteracy[dot]com.  I am happy to provide more specific lessons or resources if necessary.

©2011 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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