What are mentor texts?

Mentor texts are books that teach many skills in social justice, reading, writing, science, math, social studies, art, etc. This website includes books I've used as mentor texts to teach the Social Justice Standards and K-5 Reading Standards.

What age range do you suggest?

Although this resource supports elementary ages, I believe all these titles can be used at any grade level, including secondary. When the book is particularly impactful in a primary classroom (K-2), I note in the description, "Emergent Reader Strategies." I think reading Emergent Reader books to older kids is also a fantastic way to increase engagement and begin diving into research in a specific area. For example, the book, "Home Grown," on the Action page, is a true story that gets kids thinking about community service projects that they can research and support or inspire them to start their own.

How do you choose which communities to represent?

I strive to represent people from marginalized communities. I'm purposely choosing to prioritize voices that have not been prioritized historically. I am always open to expanding my knowledge and understanding of what oppressed communities face around the world and am open to your ideas!

What research do you do on the authors?

I review biographies on the authors to ensure that the stories they tell either reflect their own lived experiences or reflect learning they have gained through dedicating their time to those communities.

Why only human characters?

In this study, preschool students showed more altruistic behaviors after reading a book about generosity with human characters than the same book with animal characters. For this reason, I am prioritizing human characters. However, I am thinking about the ways Indigenous communities have used oral traditions with non-human characters to foster wellness since time immemorial. I think the problem lies more in our colonized mindset society than in our children's ability to transfer altruistic behaviors from animal characters.

Why did you record videos of yourself teaching?

On this site, I include several videos that I made for teachers during remote learning (I was a District ELA coach during the 2020-2021 school year). It is important to keep in mind that these videos were for a specific purpose and time period. I was responsible for finding diverse anti-racist anti-bias texts, writing lessons that matched the reading strategies that were required in our District Curriculum and recording/editing the lessons. I was doing this work at a very fast pace, producing at least 6 recorded lessons per week. Although I'm proud of my work, had I had more time, the quality (and script) would have obviously been better. :)

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain