In many classrooms, opinion writing is the first form of writing that is covered. It may seem simple for students to share their opinion, but we have all learned that it takes practice and structure. Because many read alouds and children’s stories are written in narrative form, it can also be harder to find quality mentor texts for this writing style. So, today, I am going to talk about 8 of the best mentor texts for opinion writing.
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Red is Best
Kathy Stintson gets it right with this color story. Red is Best is a perfect introduction to opinion writing, and is great for younger learners. This is the story of a young girl, Kelly, who loves the color red. Kelly’s mom doesn’t quite understand that Kelly’s red mitts make better snowballs, or that she can take big steps in her red rain boots. Kelly would rather drink from her red cup, too. Because juice tastes better in the red cup, than the green cup. This is a great mentor text for opinion writing because it is clear and simple. It is also engaging and gets kiddos thinking about their favorite things and why they love them!
Link: Red is Best
I Wanna Iguana
I Wanna Iguana is an excellent mentor text for opinion writing. This story is told through letters between Alex and his mother as Alex tries to convince her to let him have an iguana. Not only does the format provide students with great examples of opinion letters, but it also is a topic they may connect with.Many kids understand the struggle in convincing their parents to get a pet. Alex’s letters have sensible reasons, like his commitment to feeding and cleaning the cage. But, they also have hilarious anecdotes from Mom, like how will he get someone to marry him when he has a 15-foot long iguana in his house? Kids will find the letters and negotiations hilarious, the illustrations imaginative and the opinion structure as a great example!
Link: I Wanna Iguana
The Perfect Pet
Similar to the last story, The Perfect Pet will be a great book for kiddos to relate to. In this book, Elizabeth wants a pet, badly. She would take any pet, in fact! She’d like a horse, a dog, a cat, or even a turtle. Unfortunately, her parents are not on board. So, they get her a cactus instead. A great thing about this book is that Elizabeth is determined to find the perfect pet, so she spend the rest of the book finding reasons and evidence for why different pets would be just right. And, eventually, they find one! With humor and great reasoning examples, this book is the perfect opinion writing mentor text!
Link: The Perfect Pet
I Wanna New Room
If you loved I Wanna Iguana, you will love this book. A sequel, Alex and his brother Ethan are forced to share a room now that the new baby has arrived. Alex does not like sharing a room with his little brother, who he thinks is a nightmare. So, Alex begins his letter-writing campaign, in an attempt to convince his parents that he needs his own room. Although his first set of persuasive letters for an iguana were successful, he cannot convince his dad to expand the house so that he can have his own room. But, they do come up with an alternative plan. This is a good mentor text for opinion writing because it shows that not all persuasions and requests are plausible.
Link: I Wanna New Room
In Earrings! the main character is desperate to get her ears pierced. She loves earrings, of all kinds. They are amazing! They are beautiful! She NEEDS them. This may be the right story to start your opinion writing with, as you can relate it back to things that they are desperate to have! Judith Viorst always writes stories that entertain. So, add this one to your collection of opinion writing mentor texts!
My Teacher for President
My Teacher for President is another homerun mentor text for opinion writing. In the story, Oliver’s class has been learning about the presidency. After hearing about the things that are involved in the president’s job, Oliver decides that his teacher is the perfect candidate for president. My favorite part of this book is the illustrations. They show Oliver’s teacher going through a typical school day, contrasted with her carrying out presidential duties. Use this book to kickstart a _________ For President writing piece and your students can write and illustrate their own!
Link: My Teacher for President
Hey, Little Ant
This book is a different type of mentor text. This thought-provoking book makes you stop and think about respect for living things. Originally, this was a song about a conversation between a little girl and a tiny ant, and what happens in this “To Squish or Not to Squish?” story will help spark conversations with your students. So, although it may not be formatted in the way an opinion writing piece would be, you can definitely start developing opinions about important topics, like caring, kindness, respect, etc. That is what makes this a great mentor text for opinion writing!
Link: Hey, Little Ant
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
How can we have a list of best books with a Mo Willems book? This story is near and dear to many of our young readers’ hearts. So, why not use this to help our readers become writers? As you probably know, a bus driver takes a break from his bus route and the pigeon wants to take his place! He begs, pleads. He tries to convince them that he can drive the bus with all of the antics of a young child’s tantrum. Use this book as a mentor text for opinion writing, taking note of the best, and WORST, ways to get what you want!