Kids have a lot of opinions! But getting them to write those opinions and give reasons can be tough. A great way to introduce opinion writing is to model how our favorite authors share their opinions through mentor texts. Students need to be exposed to examples of the writing genre we are teaching. These mentor texts are not just for exposing students to the genre, but they are powerful for explicitly teaching the structure and features. Here are my favorite opinion writing mentor texts.
I’m sharing all of these books on video as well! Check out the Opinion Writing Texts on my Youtube channel.
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Opinion Writing Mentor Texts
I Wanna Iguana – Karen Kaufman Orloff
Alex just has to convince his mom to let him have an iguana, so he puts his arguments in writing. He promises that she won’t have to feed it or clean its cage or even see it if she doesn’t want to. Of course Mom imagines life with a six-foot-long iguana eating them out of house and home. He gives plenty of reasons why he should have the pet and backs them up with how he will take care of it. This is a fun, engaging book that develops the skills of supplying reasons for opinions.
Hey, Little Ant – Phillip M. Hoose
To squish or not to squish? What would you do if the ant you were about to step on looked up and started talking? Would you stop and listen? That’s what happens in this funny, thought-provoking book. Told from different perspectives – the ant and the boy who is going to step on him. Each one gives their reasons behind their opinions.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus – Mo Willems
Most of the pigeon books are great demonstrations of opinion writing. When the Bus Driver takes a break from his route, pigeon volunteers. But you’ve never met a pigeon like this one before! Pigeon tries to convince the reader why he should be able to drive the bus.
The Perfect Pet – Margie Palatini
A funny book to share with kids who really, really, REALLY want a pet! Most kids will really relate to this one. Elizabeth really wants a pet. She’d like a horse, a dog, a cat, or even a turtle. But her parents do not want a pet. Instead they give her a cactus. Even though her new plant proves to be a good listener, Elizabeth still really wants a pet.
While Elizabeth campaigns to find the right pet, her family imagines some hair-raising possibilities, until Doug comes along. Doug is, without a doubt, the most unusual, perfect pet of all. Doug is a bug! He’s not big like a horse or loud like a dog. He doesn’t scratch, or shed, or jump on furniture. And he hardly eats a thing. Students will definitely have their own opinion about what animal would make the best pet.
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog – Dev Petty
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog is about a willful young frog with a serious identity crisis and his heard-it-all-before father. Frog wants to be anything but a slimy, wet frog. A cat, perhaps. Or a rabbit. An owl? But when a hungry wolf arrives—a wolf who HATES eating frogs—our hero decides that being himself isn’t so bad after all. Your students will identify with little Frog’s desire to be something different, while laughing along at his schemes to prove himself right.
The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Each crayon has a reason and gives clear examples on why they want to quit.
Blue crayon needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. Black crayon wants to be used for more than just outlining. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best? Great for supplying reasons as well as explaining those reasons.
What are your favorite opinion writing mentor texts!
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