Using A Tree is a Plant as a Mentor Text for Comprehension Skills

Captivate your audience with a great book and these teaching tips! Using A Tree is a Plant as a mentor text will help your students with comprehension skills.

A Tree Is a Plant, by Clyde Robert Bulla, is a great science mentor text for children. It explains for kids in simple terms how trees grow and what the different parts of a tree do. Not only does it explain why trees are plants, but also how they help other species survive in the environment. Through this book, children can learn about trees on an age-appropriate level, but also other reading comprehension skills.

I love selecting mentor texts for skill modeling whether it’s for reading, writing, or to use reading skills in content areas.  In this post we will be focusing on mentor texts for science. The book I am highlighting is A Tree is a Plant by Clyde Bulla.

Captivate your audience with a great book and these teaching tips! Using A Tree is a Plant as a mentor text will help your students with comprehension skills.

Why use this book?

I have used this book several times to support my second grade students’ science studies. For many of my students, it helps to have a second or third exposure to key concepts they’re learning.  This book includes nonfiction features, a target skill for second grade. It also would work well if students are researching plants.  Many options are available in the unit I’m sharing. It includes:

  • Prereading Schema Builder
  • Vocabulary
  • Main Idea and Details
  • Summarizing
  • Visualizing
  • Notetaking
  • Response to Reading Activities

About the author of a tree is a plant:

Clyde Bulla is a well established author, and his books typically work well for students who struggle since he controls the vocabulary somewhat. Other titles I’ve used and recommend of his are A Lion to Guard UsThe Chalkbox Kid, Pocahontas and the Stranger, and Shoeshine Girl.  Most of his books are chapter books, and he has quite a bit of historical fiction.  He’s definitely an author to explore if you’re looking for a book for the middle grades.

More about a tree is a plant

A Tree is a Plant by Clyde Bulla is an essential book for young readers to understand the natural world. The book takes readers on a journey through the life cycle of trees, from seedlings to full grown trees. This engaging text and rich illustrations share why trees are important—not just to us, but also to all living creatures.

Through Clyde Bulla’s writing, readers discover what goes into keeping trees healthy and vibrant, such as its need for air, dirt, sunshine and watering with rain or snow. Young readers will discover how soil provides necessary nutrients like nitrogen which helps give the tree strength and allows it to create leaves and fruits which can be eaten by animals that live in the woodland area around them.

The book explores fascinating details about types of trees from deciduous and evergreen which provides your kids with exposure to rich vocabulary. Additionally, A Tree is a Plant serves as a perfect introduction to topics such as photosynthesis and respiration, growing tips for gardeners, sustainability efforts for forests, conservation, and so much more!

Discussion questions for a tree is a plant:

Questioning is a key comprehension skill. It’s important to encourage kids to question before, during, and after reading. Here are some essential discussion questions you might use:

  • What is the definition of a tree?
  • What factors affect a trees’ growth?
  • How do trees impact the environment?
  • How long does it take for a tree to mature?
  • What types of trees exist?
  • Why is it important to plant new trees?

Other posts you might like:

For other mentor text lessons, click on the mentor text label to the right and come back soon.



Carla is a licensed reading specialist with 27 years of experience in the regular classroom (grades 1, 4, and 5), in Title 1 reading, as a tech specialists, and a literacy coach. She has a passion for literacy instruction and meeting the needs of the individual learner.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Thanks for dropping by, Charlotte! This may be below your students' level, but the content might support a few Fifth grade concepts.

  2. I love this collection of science books! We use them all the time! The kids love them!
    Thanks for linking up!

  3. Wow! What an inspiration your blog is! I am new to the blogging world. I joined TBTS, and I am so glad I found your website to learn from. Looking forward to seeing more from you soon. :) You can visit me at

  4. Hello Kristin! Glad you dropped by. I will take a moment and see what you have going with your blog too. I love the word "read" in the title. :-) Glad you liked what is going on here. I've enjoyed it and am a member of TBTS too.

  5. I have not read this book! I need to check this book out for sure. Thanks!!! You do amaze me.
    Curious Firsties

Comments are closed.