There are many Halloween books for kids that are great mentor texts for young writers. Engaging students through picture books strengthens their writing by providing models of how to write narratives that include descriptive details and interesting word choices. This post spotlights three of the best Halloween stories to help you teach writing to elementary students.
While one of these books is most definitely a Halloween book, the other two do not mention Halloween at all. They would be good options for classrooms who can not mention Halloween directly. They are perfect for October mentor texts or really at any time of year.
In my classroom I always started the year teaching the students how to write narratives. This form of writing was then practiced throughout the year in class and as homework throughour Paragraph of the Week routines. By giving the students the opportunity to regularly put into practice the elements we observed through the mentor text read alouds, their writing consistently improved throughout the year and I had an extremely easy way to document their progress over time.
One of my favorite books for modeling narrative writing has long been Halloween by Jerry Seinfeld. Not only is it funny and engaging, but the author’s use of voice is outstanding. The artwork from different perspectives are great examples for young authors who are learning to write and illustrate their own work.
The book is also useful for focusing on identifying character traits and using text-based evidence to support student thinking. The trait activity shown in the photo above is available for you to download and use with any Halloween book in my FREE Halloween Graphic Organizers resource.
A wonderful mentor text to use that has no mention of Halloween is I Need My Monster by Amanda Knoll. Although a picture book, it has rich language and introduces suspense. This is a great book for practicing summarizing. Have your students complete a story summary sheet based on the book and then have them fill in their own story summary sheet as a prewriting activity for composing their own writing sample. I have created several graphic organizers to help students with their writing you may want to check out.
Finally, I want to spotlight Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds. This is another book that is not a Halloween book, but does work really well as an October read aloud. I originally used this book in the spring as part of a large science unit focused on the life cycle of plants. I started to use it in the fall when we focused on reading and writing mystery books because of the author’s use of suspense in his writing. It was always a favorite text!
As readers I had them practice making predictions throughout the story and also used the book for identifying cause and effect in a text. The illustrations in this book are interesting and different so they also serve as a great model for those budding authors and illustrators in your room.
Teaching Resources referenced in this blog post include:
- Paragraph of the Week: Weekly Writing for the Entire Year
- The Mystery Genre: A Reading and Writing Unit
- The Life Cylce of Plants
- Graphic Organizers to Improve Student Writing
- Reading Graphic Organizers to Use With Any Book
You May Also Be Interested in:
- The Pumpkin Book Report
- Haunted House for Sale – A Descriptive Writing Project
- Paragraph of the Week Opinion and Narrative Bundle
- Genre Posters and Activities
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