Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Recommended Grades: 1-5

We all have an inner exclamation mark.  The question is, how do we find it?  The story of the exclamation mark and how it took him a little time to figure out what he wanted to say and how to say it.

Lesson Idea:


Mentor Text: Conventions/Finding Your Inner Self:   Exclamation Mark is an excellent mentor text for two very different topics.  On a surface level, use Exclamation Mark as a mentor text when discussing conventions and end marks in particular.  The font size in the text makes for excellent discussion around the use of the exclamation mark.  On a deeper level, the Exclamation Mark is a metaphor for finding your inner self and sharing it with the world.

©2014 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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Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth

Recommended Grades: 4-6

Using an adorable panda, Koo, Jon J. Muth challenges readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haiku about the four seasons. In the author’s note, Muth explains that haiku has evolved over time and now poets no longer adhere to the rigid structure of 5-7-5 syllables. Instead, Muth uses sensory images to capture a moment of emotion in words.

Lesson Idea:


Mentor Text: Author’s Craft/Word Choice: Read aloud Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons and discuss how haiku has evolved over time. Look at several of the haiku and talk about Muth’s use of sensory details instead of the typical 5-7-5 syllable structure. Using  Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons as a mentor text for author’s craft, encourage students to write haiku that develops through sensory images, instead of the traditional, rigid 5-7-5 syllable structure.

©2014 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.

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst

Recommended Grades: 3-5

Alexander receives money from his grandparents and really wants to keep it, but does he?    

Lesson Idea:

Reading Workshop


Comprehension Strategies: Making Inferences: Read aloud Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday and model how to infer what characters are feeling based on the pictures and text.  Create a t-chart that says Text Clues and Inference and use it as a guide to scaffold for students (or What the Picture Shows/Inference).  Once you’ve modeled, provide students the opportunity to make inferences with a partner (use a different book) using the t-chart.  Eventually, have students make inferences as they read without the t-chart.

©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.

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

Recommended Grades: 4-6

In June2002, an unusual ceremony begins in a village in western Kenya.  An American diplomat is surrounded by hundreds of Maasai people. A gift is about to be bestowed on the American people, and he is there to accept it.


This touching story of a small village and their gift for our grieving country after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 is an appropriate book to read as we remember the 10th anniversary of this horrific event.

Lesson idea:  14 Cows for America is a fine book to just read aloud to your class and discuss the events and feelings surrounding that fateful day.  These children have never known a world without color coding and long security lines at airports.  The fact that a small village in Kenya gifted our country with something so meaningful and important to them is a great point of discussion.

Visualizing Text:  If you would like to tie the book into a reading comprehension lesson, read it aloud and model how to visualize text.  Read aloud the book without showing the pictures and model what you visualize as you read.  Most of the text allows for a sensory experience.                

©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.