5 Powerful Mentor Texts that Model and Encourage Goal Setting

climbing mountains

Goal setting is important for all students whether the goal is related to literacy, math, fitness or any other topic. In the classroom, setting goals for reading is a common task. In this post, I’ll share book recommendations for goal setting you and your students will enjoy.

Martin’s Big Word, an inspiration for setting goals

What a beautiful example of picking and carrying out a goal!  We’ve just celebrated MLK Jr Day, and certainly, he is a great exemplar for goal setting. The first book I would recommend is Martin’s Big Words.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a brilliant individual driven to improve life for others by leading humbly and peacefully.  Oh if we could undo history!  Instead, we should learn from errors and work together following his example. One way to do this is to share his story.

Oh the Places you’ll go for Goal setting

At the start of the year, you might share this book and follow it up with the goal setting writing activity on the right. This writing set may be helpful.

The second title I’ll share is Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. This is commonly given for graduations. Why? Because it models setting goals and achieving them! This one has been around a while, but sometimes we need refreshers to remember to pick them up. I think this is a “Planning for Life” book, so perhaps it would tie in nicely with long range plans.

goal setting with goal!

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin may not be widely known.  It is one I picked up last summer at our local, Ollie’s store since I had so many boys that love to play soccer.  The cover caught my eye, but the story made me buy it. It is about a time when a young boy from South Africa receives a football as a gift and uses determination to be able to play with his friends in order to forget the fighting that is going on around them.

Although when you play soccer, the word goal may have a different meaning. The goal in soccer is to score! By setting goals, we all score when we meet them!

Stand tall molly lou melon

How about Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon?  If you’re not familiar with this series, run to the library to check it out.  They are adorable, and perfect for the middle grades. Molly turns her faults into talents and follows her grandmother’s advice to, “Sing out clear and strong and the world will cry tears of joy,” Her struggle is with a bully, but the key is that she has a problem and develops a plan to work through it. That is goal setting pure and simple making Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon a great choice.

The North star, a goal setting exemplar

The last book is another fairly new one to me, and it too came from my favorite little discount store, Ollie’s (I am addicted to the book section. Sh! Don’t tell my husband!). It’s a small little book, and it’s message is all about pursuing your dreams. Peter Reynolds is a newer author, but he’s putting out lots of great titles. Check this one out when you get a chance.

What are some of your favorite books for this topic?  Share your thoughts in the comments section. I’d love to hear about a few new titles myself.


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 6 Comments

  1. I am going to have to check out The North Star! My class LOVES the Molly Lou Mellon series! I also love Amazing Grace for teaching goals!

  2. Nice selection! While you mentioned some I already have on my favorite list there were a few I need to check out. Thanks for sharing.

  3. You know I love Amazing Grace too, but Emily already had it listed. Molly Lou Mellon was one my sister shared with me years ago. Aren't they awesome??

  4. Several of my boys read it for AR points and commented that they liked it. I am always looking for sports fiction just because I have so many that love them. Thanks for visiting Julie!

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