Why Twas the Night Before Christmas by Jan Brett Makes a Great Mentor Text

Why Twas the Night Before Christmas by Jan Brett Makes a Great Mentor Text featured image

There are many different versions of the tale, Twas the Night Before Christmas. Since I’m a huge Jan Brett fan, I thought I’d share her version of this story and a few things you can do with it.

Comparing Twas the night before Christmas versions

So did you know there are nearly 20 pages of books listed with this title! There was even one titled, The Teachers Night Before Christmas! Who knew?? So, by all means, if you want to teach compare and contrast, I do not think you’ll have a problem with that! For starters, you might compare and contrast the illustrations across texts. Here are just a few other titles and versions you might check out:

  • The Night before Christmas by Clement Moore
  • The Night before Kindergarten
  • Twas the Night before Thanksgiving
  • Twas the Night before Fifth Grade, and
  • Twas the Night before Christmas in New Jersey

Twas the Night Before Christmas Preview

Jan Brett’s trademark borders add so much to the story, and in so many of her books, there is an element of mischief! Are these features found in other texts? In Jan Brett’s version, mischief is caused by the elves. Trouble with Trolls and Christmas Trolls are two other Jan Brett books that work well this time of year for making comparisons. If you can’t get a hold of two versions of Twas the Night Before Christmas, you might try explore more of Jan Brett’s holiday books.

Using twas the night before christmas as a Writing Mentor Text:

With so many versions of Twas the Night Before Christmas, another teaching option for the book is writing. Patterning student writing on other texts is a great way to work on word choice, description, and even story plot. I created the resource to the right for this purpose, and it’s all yours with the subscriber opt in below. If you have already subscribed, just visit the VIP library to download the resource. (New subscribers-be sure to check that out once you’re subscription is received. The password is shared once you submit.)

twas the night before christmas project:

To create this project, you will need a manilla envelope for each student. Fold it in half with the back side on top. You will glue the story cover on the top half, put the writing plan on the back of that half on the inside, and staple the story onto the bottom half. The inside of the envelope can be used for storing puppets or story artifacts that can be shared orally if you have your students read their work out loud.

Using Twas the Night Before Christmas for comprehension

There are many versions of Twas the Night Before Christmas, and that means many teaching options too. Check out this post for ways you can use various versions for teaching reading skills and writing.

If you have specific skills you are working on, my friend, Kelly, over at Mrs. Avery’s Island, created this collection of graphic organizers that can be used with various versions of this book. You can practice main idea and supporting details for fiction, retelling, and story elements with the three organizers she’s included. To download, simply click the image to the left.

 Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Jan Brett is a favorite author of mine, and I’ve featured several of her books in other blog posts. You’ll find lots of teaching ideas in each one. The posts below feature Wild Christmas Reindeer, Gingerbread Friends and Gingerbread Baby, The Mitten, and The Hat. You are sure to find a few tips to make studying her books engaging and fun!

Jan Brett is my favorite winter time author, and certainly, I use her books every single year as part of our thematic weeks. They are so much fun.

Must See Resources for This Time of Year:

Resource Download:

Have a wonderful weekend, and if you like, share your favorite versions of Twas the Night Before Christmas and your favorite teaching ideas with them.


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.