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Amy Williams

Professional Education Expert

Best Mini Lesson Books for Elementary Students & Best Reading Mini Lessons

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Elementary students look forward to read aloud times whether they’re kindergarteners or fifth graders. Draw on their love for listening to entertaining stories to branch off and teach other, maybe not so exciting skills like inferencing or writing with strong leads and memorable details. Using literature to teach skills not only promotes literacy and learning, it helps teachers create focused, authentic lessons. Check out your objectives for teaching then adjust the suggestions to fit your needs. The books are all favorites and can be used in a number of ways so choose your goal, provide examples through reading, and encourage students to make connections and extend their learning in a fun, memorable way. These books are all worthy of being on your shelf.

For the best mini lesson books for elementary students, look no further. We suggest the best reading mini lessons that give students a chance to test their listening skills with these reading lessons.

Best Books for Mini-Lessons (Elementary) by Amy Williams

The Best You Can Get

  • Enemy Pie

    Amy says: A young boy faces his worst summer when Jeremy Ross moves into the neighborhood becoming his new, number one, and only enemy ever. The boy’s father knows just what to do, give him Enemy Pie! Of course the only way for Enemy Pie to work is to first spend the entire day with your enemy. The story is entertaining, keeps kids predicting, and even teaches a life lesson about making friends. King’s colorful, exaggerated illustrations add to the liveliness of this endearing story. Use Enemy Pie for introducing craft and narrative writing, strong leads and paragraph development, idea development and strong details, or quotations. Give skills purpose with Munson’s well-crafted loveable story of conflict, resolution, and friendship.

    • By Derek Munson
    • Illustrated by Tara Calahan King
    • Chronicle Books, 2000
    • 40 pages
    • Ages 5-10
  • How I Became a Pirate

    Amy says: Jeremy Jacob is just a regular soccer-playing, sand castle-building kid when he joins, or is taken by, a band of pirates to help bury their treasure. Jeremy notices right away the pirates’ lack of manners and vegetable eating and is enamored with their rollicking, riotous behavior. He begins to miss the comforts of home; those everyday things like getting tucked in at night. The adventure eventually leads Jeremy back to his own backyard, the perfect place for a buried treasure. Long fills the story with classic, yet entertaining, pirate language and actions making the fantasy fun-filled. Teach elements of fantasy, paragraph organization, strong leads, language usage, and sentence fluency with compound sentences. Your class will be glad you did.

    • By Melinda Long
    • Illustrated by David Shannon
    • Harcourt, 2003
    • 44 pages
    • Ages 4-10
  • Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival

    Amy says: “Two Bobbies” is such a sweet book that you’ll want to make it fit any part of your curriculum just so you can share it with your students. It touches on topics from heroism, friendship, and survival, plus lends itself to studies of map skills, effects of changing weather, disaster preparation, and writing descriptive prose. Bobbi, the brave pooch, and kitty cat friend Bob Cat, named by relief workers because each had a bobbed tail, survived the horrific storm, Katrina. Bobbi was left by his owners chained to a porch with food and water, but broke free and was accompanied by Bob Cat as they prowled for months looking for food and simply surviving. The animal pair’s luck changed when they were rescued. The two were put in separate areas, but Bobbie wouldn’t stop howling until he was reunited with Bob Cat. It was only then that relief workers realized that Bob Cat was blind and that Bobbie, the loyal companion, must have been not only a friend, but also Bob Cat’s seeing-eye dog. The story spread like wildfire and the two were highlighted on Anderson Cooper 360 leading to a steady stream of adoption offers and a new home. The authors, best friends themselves, did a remarkable job telling a story of friendship and filling in the details of the furry friends’ tale.

    • By Kirby Larson & Mary Nethery
    • Illustrated by Jean Cassels
    • Walker and Company, August 2008
    • 32 pages
    • Ages 4 and up
  • Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School

    Amy says: Kids love dog stories of all kinds and the story of poor Ike will not fail. Ike has been sent to Brotweiler obedience school, and decides he want to spring free of his unwarranted imprisonment. He starts a series of exaggerated, persuasive letters to his owner, Mrs. LaRue, describing the horrors of “prison” in hopes of a little pity. The contrast of Ike’s truth and his fiction is humorous and attention getting on its own, but the illustrations show the truth in color and Ike’s exaggerated tales of prison life in black and white. Teague’s book is a perfect set up for letter writing, voice and persuasive techniques including word choice for enhancing the art of persuasion and making inferences.

    • By Mark Teague
    • Scholastic Press, September 2002
    • 32 pages
    • Ages 4-10
  • Salt in His Shoes

    Amy says: Michael Jordan’s mother and sister tell the story of young Michael pre-fame and pre-pro basketball. Young Michael wasn’t always the big, strong, confident, winning athlete we remember him for today. Michael was intimidated by a taller, older player in his neighborhood games with his brothers and just knew that if he were taller he’d be a better player. His mother told him to put salt in his shoes every night and to pray and he’d get taller, but the results just weren’t fast enough and he felt like giving up. Michael’s father wisely told him it’s “how you use your skills.” Michael took the advise to heart and continued to pursue his dream, of making the important shot in the neighborhood game, and more. Nelson’s pictures are intriguing and the story inspires. Teach leads, character traits, cause and effect with Michael’s pursuit of a dream.

    • By Deloris Jordan & Roslyn M. Jordan
    • Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
    • Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, November 2000
    • 32 pages
    • Ages 4-12

You will be happy with any of these

  • Hooway for Wodney Wat

    Amy says: Shy little Rodney Rat, Wodney Wat, is teased relentlessly for not being able to say his Rs. Wodney goes from timidly hiding under his jacket to being the confident hero of P.S. 142 after getting rid of the class bully, Camilla Capybera, thanks to his mispronunciations and telling Camilla to go “wake” (rake) the leaves and to “go west” (rest) during a game of Simon Says. Any student that has ever been teased will especially connect to Wodney’s heroic story. Use for lessons on bullying, phonemic awareness, quotations, and endless journal ideas. Go ahead and get two copies because this one will get worn out faster than you can imagine!

    • By Helen Lester
    • Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
    • Walter Lorraine Books, 1999
    • 32 pages
    • Ages 4-10
  • Grandma’s Records

    Amy says: Set the stage for writing memoir with Velasquez’s story of family heritage, memories of his grandmother, and their musical connections. Young Eric spent summers with his grandmother in Spanish Harlem learning, from her influence, to love music and art. He danced with his grandmother, listened to conga, and heard stories of her childhood in Puerto Rico. He loved watching her place her hand over her heart every time her favorite song played. He later learned that this special gesture wasn’t just that of his grandmother’s but of all whose hearts remain in Puerto Rico no matter how far away they are. The story is sweet and leads to discussions and lessons on cultural awareness, music history, grandparents, or those who’ve made an influence.

    • By Eric Velasquez
    • Walker & Company, June 2001
    • 32 pages
    • Ages 5-12
  • A Bad Case of Stripes

    Amy says: Young Camilla Cream worries about what others think of her. She wants to fit in so much that she won’t even eat the lima beans she loves because all her friends hate them. Camilla tries on forty-two outfits just trying to decide what to wear the first day of school. Camilla is so worried about what others think that she breaks out in a “bad case of stripes,” rainbow colored stripes from head to toe. The stripes go from bad to worse and Camilla returns to school and begins to change based on the voices she hears, she goes from stars and stripes during the pledge, to polka-dots and checkerboard patterns. Specialists of all kinds, a veterinarian included, try to cure Camilla as her condition worsens to extremes of sprouting roots and berries to eventually blending in with her room. Camilla finally finds relief after a visit from a sweet little lady with a lima bean cure. The book is fun and artistic and may even make a few kids eat their vegetables. Students will be able to draw conclusions and make text to self-connections as most have had a similar feeling of wanting to fit in like Camilla. Shannon’s narrative form showcases idea development with memorable details and adding an emotional tone with use of voice. Your students will love getting to explore writing after reading “A Bad Case of Stripes.”

    • By David Shannon
    • Blue Sky Press, 1998
    • 32 pages
    • Ages 4-10
  • More Parts

    Amy says: Give your class the giggles with Arnold’s witty rhyming verse, expressive, eye-popping artwork, and twisted tale of idioms. The young boy in the story becomes alarmed when his dad asks him to give him a hand and is told to stretch his arms and legs. English Language Learners will enjoy the fun take on the confusion so common when learning the language. The imaginative artwork adds depth to the story and creates images any students will remember. In fact, they’ll ask to read and look at this book over and over again. You can’t beat that!

    • By Tedd Arnold
    • Dial, 2001
    • 32 pages
    • Ages 4-12
  • Big Al

    Amy says: Big Al is a natural for lessons on respect, acceptance, friendship, and the skills of cause and effect and predicting. The story has a well-defined beginning, middle, and end so works well for lessons on retelling and story mapping. For a short, sweet story, it sure has a lot to offer lesson wise. Big Al, the nicest fish in the ocean, can’t seem to make friends because his size and appearance make him look too scary. He tries strategy after strategy for friendship, but to no avail. Everything turns around for Big Al when the little fish in the ocean come into harms way and in true heroic fashion, Big Al saves the day. Students realize it’s what’s on the inside that counts and that we all have unique qualities and strengths. Heartwarming.

    • By Andrew Clements
    • Illustrated by Yoshi
    • Aladdin, 1997
    • 32 pages
    • Ages 4-10

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These best mini lesson books for elementary students are essential for teaching students how to listen and discern details of the stories. These best reading mini lessons feature objectives that you can transform to meet your needs. Always the best price, our reading books for mini lessons will inspire new plans for your next class.