Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mentor Text Collection for teaching similes!

Allison Brown                                                                                                                                    Writing Workshop
Mentor Text Collection: Simile (Grades 1-3)
v  My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil by Hanoch Piven.  Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010.
This book is perfect for introducing similes and they are on every page! The story is about a little girl whose grandma asks her about school and the girl draws several class portraits and includes details in the form of similes that tell what makes each person in her class special. 
v  Nico’s Octopus by Caroline Pitcher. Crocodile Books/Interlink Publishing Group, 2003.
This book is about a little boy named Nico who rescues a small octopus from a fisherman’s net and takes it home as a pet.  After caring for the octopus the little boy later finds out some bittersweet news  that the octopus is laying eggs but will soon die because after an octopus becomes a mother it passes away.  He must then decide to set the babies free.  This story is a sweet story and is filled with similes on almost every page.  It also includes interesting facts about octopuses at the end of the story.
v  Black Cat by Christopher Myers.  Scholastic Press, 1999.
This short story tells about a black cat that lives in the city.  Throughout the book the author is asking questions to the cat and then gives detailed one sentence descriptions of where the cat lives and roams throughout the city.  The story has wonderful illustrations that use a combination of photographs, collages, ink, and gouache.  The book also has some strong examples of similes that can be found on pages three, seven, and fifteen.
v  Storm in the Night by Mary Stolz.  Harper & Row, Publishers, 1988.
This story is about a little boy named Thomas that has to sit through a scary thunderstorm that has knocked the lights out.  While sitting through the storm his grandfather tells him stories about his childhood and how he used to be scared of storms.  Throughout the story the author uses a wide variety of similes to describe objects such as “Thomas had a chin as smooth as a peach”. 
v  Hide and Seek Fog by Alvin Tresselt.  Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1966.
This is an older story that is about a bad fog that crept upon the shore and caused the fishermen not to be able to fish and people not to be able to see.  The fog lasted several days.  In the story the author uses a few good examples of similes to describe the way the fog looked.  This would be a good text to use for students after they had already been introduced to similes.  Students then could attempt to identify where the similes were used throughout all the author’s descriptive details.
v  My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks by Hanoch Piven. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2007.
This is another wonderful book to use to introduce the topic of similes.  Every page is filled with numerous examples of different similes.  In the story a little girl draws a family portrait and then adds details by the use of common objects to show each person in her family’s personality while using similes to correlate the person with the objects in the pictures.
v  River Friendly River Wild by Jane Kurtz.  Simon & Schuster Books, 2000.
This book is about a family that experiences being evacuated because of a flood and then has to return to their community to survey the damage.  The book is organized in poems.  Several of the poems throughout the book include beautiful examples of similes.  In the first sentence it uses the simile, “The River wiggled like a fat brown thread along the flat quilt of the Red River Valley, stitching North Dakota and Minnesota together.”  This book is also based on the author’s true experience of being evacuated into a FEMA mobile home in the 1997 flood.
v  Predictable by Bruce Lansky. Reprinted from If Pigs Could Fly…and Other Deep Thoughts. Meadowbrook Press, 2000.
This is a poem by a teacher who has had his poems published in the book listed above.  It is a great example of the use of similes and is funny.  The poem would also be a great resource for a teacher to use for students to begin creating similes by allowing students to create the last part of the simile with a fill in the blank activity.  For example the line “thin as a toothpick” could be “thin as a ___________”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
v  The Snow Whale by Caroline Pitcher.  Sierra Club Books, 1996.
This story is about a snow day where a sister and brother decide to make a snow whale.  The sister explains to her brother that snow and rain comes from the water rising up from the oceans and rivers and then goes into the clouds and come back down as snow.  Throughout the story the author uses descriptive similes about the whale.  In the end of the story the snow whale melts and the sister is sad.  The brother explains that it has just gone back to the ocean.
v  Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis.  The Penguin Group, 2008.
This is a story about a little girl who dresses like a ladybug and attempts to play with her brother but her brother tells her she is too little.  The little girl decides to try to have her own fun.  This text does not have many similes but would still be a good text to have in a center after the concepts of similes have already been taught.  Students could attempt to find the simile in the text and then create their own like it.

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