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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mentor Text of the Week- The Beetle Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta

In an attempt to get more minilessons into the hands of dedicated (but strapped for time) educators, I have dedicated a portion of my website/blog

to the Mentor Text of the Week (MTOW).  Each week, I will choose an accessible mentor texts and give you the following:

  • The tittle, author, and illustrator
  • The text type (as related to the Common Core) and genre
  • The grades to which it would fit met appropriately
  • Various minilessons that could be used at different stages of the writing process
Please feel free to check back each week as well as follow us on Facebook at for updates.  Enjoy!

This week's text is...
The Beetle Alphabet Book 
by Jerry Pallotta, 
Illustrated by David Biedrzycki

This text is an informational/nonfiction piece of text, most appropriate for grades 2-5.

Possible Minilessons for Writing Workshop:

  • Clever dedication ("Thanks to John, Paul, George, Ringo…)
  • Titles of Beatles songs hidden on many beetle illustrations throughout the book                                                                                                                                        (Check out letter I, J, N just to name a few…)
  • ABC structure
  • Diagrams with labels
  • Introduction that speaks to the reader and excites them
  • Domain-specific words woven into the facts
  • ​Eye-popping, bold, close-up illustrations that hook the reader into the text and topic
  • Small topic, perfect for a selecting lesson on choosing topics that are interesting to a reader                                                                                                                   and also researchable
  • Analogies to help reader understand concepts/facts being presented
  • Added in thoughts/opinions of the author 
  • Two page spreads
  • Use of interesting and purposeful punctuation: exclamation points, question marks,                                                                                                             and commas in a series, 
  • ​Perspective in illustrations so the reader can see the world through the beetles' eyes
  • Varied sentence length, beginnings, and types of sentences (exclamatory, interrogative, declarative)
  • Voice/Humor/Talking to the reader that connects the facts on the page to everyday situations
  • Interesting, surprising, silly, and new facts about animals the reader may already know
  • Illustrations  that allow reader to truly comprehend the size of the beetles (actual sizes are shown in the shadow of each letter)