Plot Structure Mentor Texts

There are so many great plot structure mentor texts out there! It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to these. In an effort to keep the post short, I am only including brief information and suggestions for each book. For more information about the books, click on the titles or book images to check out the Amazon listing.

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Plot Structure Mentor Texts with an External Conflict

A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech

This mentor text is great for introducing plot because of its clear plot structure. Tillie, along with the other students and teachers, enjoyed the days they had off school. However, Mr. Keene, the principal, loved school so much that he had made every day a school day. Tillie bravely explained the importance of days off to Mr. Keene when nobody else knew how to tell him.

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

This plot structure mentor text is a great introduction to identifying the main problem.

Dogzilla by Dav Pilkey

This is another great plot structure mentor text because it has a very clear problem and resolution. It’s also an incredibly fun read.

Kat Kong by Dav Pilkey

This is an amazing mentor text for discussing how events influence the plot structure. It is used in my week long plot unit. Check it out to see how to use this mentor text all week!

Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson

This is an excellent mentor text for discussing a character’s response to challenges. Based on a true story, Emmanuel overcomes the challeges of a deformed leg to become a hero for his country.

Plot Structure Mentor Texts with an Internal Conflict

A Bike Like Sergio’s by Meribeth Boelts

This is one of my favorite mentor texts for plot. It has strong internal conflict and will even spark class discussions about right and wrong.

Plot Structure Mentor Texts for Discussing Character Interactions

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

This book is perfect for discussing how the relationship between characters can change throughout the story. It also has a unique solution to the problem.

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

This mentor text is great for discussing how other characters can help the main character solve their problem, comparing character reations, and how the setting affects the plot.

Destiny’s Gift by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

This mentor text is great for discussing stories that don’t fit so easily into the plot structure diagrams that we’re all used to. The story ends with no clear resolution about what will happen to the store. Rather, it ends with a greater emphasis on the connection between the characters and how they make each other feel about the situation.

The Can Man by Laura E. Williams

This story is great for comparing and contrasting characters. It’s also perfect for discussing how a character responds to a challenge.

Plot Structure Mentor Texts for Discussing How Setting Affects the Characters and the Plot

Don’t Say Ain’t by Irene Smalls

Set in the 1950s, this mentor text is perfect for discussing how setting affects characters.

I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada

This is a wonderful book for comparing and contrasting, characters, settings, and events. The character goes back and forth between two very different “worlds” as she visits her grandparents. This is perfect for discussing how setting and characters affect the plot and events.

Plot Mentor Texts for Teaching Somebody Wanted, But, So, Then

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

The girls want to be friends, but the setting and Clover’s mom’s rules say it isn’t safe. So, they find a way around the rules by sitting on the fence. Then they become friends.

Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds

The lion, shark, and wolf wanted to be liked by the other animals, but everyong was afraid of them because they were carnivores. So, they decided to become vegetarians and tried to blend in. Then they met an owl who taught them it was ok to be who they are and they returned to their carnivorous ways.

Looking for plot structure resources? Check these out!


This week long TEKS and Common Core aligned plot structure unit will help you each your students to identify, sequence and understand how the main plot points work together and influence each other to develop the plot structure of the story. This plot unit covers several components of your ELA instruction: read aloud, detailed reading lessons, vocabulary, and grammar (using mentor sentences). There is also a connection to writing with response to text and writing station prompts!


These plot structure interactive notebook pages are sold separately. They are included in a year long Reading Interactive Notebook. Be sure to check out both.

hello, i'm laura heinen from cultivating critical readers

I help third and fourth grade RLA teachers like you create engaging and effective reading lessons without all the stress.

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While I may receive compensation for these referrals, you can trust that the recommendations made on this site are genuine. I will never link to or recommend a book or product that I do not fully support or believe in. All book titles are chosen for the benefit they will bring to your classroom.

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