Mentor Texts for Teaching Responsibility

Mentor Texts for Teaching Responsibility title image

Teaching responsibility is important. Why? As students grow, taking ownership of your actions and learning from mistakes are just a few character traits we want adults to have. If only there was a magic wand we teachers could use to help our students magically become responsible adults!  If you have the fairy dust, the magic snap, or a dream class that demonstrates responsibility all the time, you are definitely lucky.  The rest of us need a toolbox full of books, apps, incentives, and a stash of stickers to encourage our young people.

In this post, I’ll share great mentor texts and ideas you can use to work on teaching responsibility.

Teaching responsibility with I Wanna Iguana:

Alex really wants a pet iguana, so he writes a persuasive letter to his mom to convince her. This book works beautifully for modeling how to organize arguments and could provide students with ideas they might use in their own writing.  

If you wish to use this book, you may be able to use the unit I’ve built. It comes in both PDF and Digital for Google Slides TM. The focus is persuasive writing, but it gives you the opportunity to talk about the responsibility of caring for a pet. The pros and cons of each kind of pet, and other reading skills.

Use David Gets in Trouble for teaching responsibility

Another fantastic choice for learning to be responsible comes from favorite author, David Shannon. Poor David is always having struggles, but in the end, he learns that he doesn’t feel very good when he gives excuses.  I think many children can relate to David’s experiences, and the David books are popular choices for reading aloud in class, but using them as mentor texts for writing ideas or to model voice is even better. The resource below is not free, but it is reasonably priced.

teaching responsibility with Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

In addition to these two books, I love Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. This story is just plain entertaining and useful for comprehension, modeling behaviors, making connections, and for modeling writing traits.  Plus, there are a ton of resources available to use with it.

Books by Julia Cook

The final author that has done a fantastic job with teaching appropriate behavior through her story plots is Julia Cook.  I was lucky enough to meet Julia not once, but twice.  She has visited our community multiple times, and her list of published books is growing rapidly.  Julia was a guidance counselor who found a love for writing, and her books are unique and gaining in popularity.  Below, I’ve listed a few of my favorites:


Teaching responsibility Activities:

Of course, you can also find activities on Teachers Pay Teachers for teaching responsibility too. Here are a few that I thought looked pretty good.

other posts you might like:

Mentor texts are so wonderful for teaching a whole host of skills both for comprehension, science standards, or social skills. Please share your favorite titles below.


pin for later:

Teaching responsibility is important, and what better way to teach it than with mentor texts. This post gives you a few suggested texts and ideas.


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 2 Comments

  1. Hi Carla! I love your book choices, especially I Wanna Iguana. The voice is priceless.
    I also like The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby for personal responsibility. As with most books, there are many lessons to be found in this one, including an effective way to deal with bullies and peer pressure. Have a great week!
    One Lucky Teacher

  2. Those are great suggestions! There's also one called "No Excuses" by Dr. Dyer that I've seen, but not read yet.

Comments are closed.