Mentor Texts, Activities, Ideas for Teaching Fact and Opinion

Facts and Opinions

Of all of the comprehension skills, I have found that teaching facts and opinions is relatively less challenging for young readers. Maybe it’s because 2nd graders especially have a lot of opinions? Ha! I am excited to share with you today some books and lesson ideas for teaching this skill!
Just as explicit and consistent phonics instruction is highly effective, so is keeping consistency with your reading comprehension lessons. Having the same set of materials for each skill is so helpful!

Introducing the Skill

We always introduce a new skill whole group with a mentor text and a mini-lesson. Then, we apply what we learned throughout the week to new texts, guided reading books and independent reading (all 3 if the stars align perfectly).
The four books I chose for teaching Fact and Opinion include:

I start by introducing the skill with a reference poster. You could make your own anchor chart, too. I like having the reference poster handy and ready to go. I print and laminate my lesson plan and keep that inside the comprehension kit, too!

Since we will be interacting with the mini-lesson materials, students take ownership over the materials which makes them more likely to actually reference them.

Mentor Texts


by Deb Bird for introducing opinions. I find that even though my students can easily share their opinions, they need extra practice with expressing their opinion especially varying their language. This Map Your Thinking graphic organizer shares different alternatives to “I think…”

Then, we continue to read additional texts. I choose 2-3 stopping points–sometimes planned ahead of time or sometimes on a whim so that my thinking aloud is genuine. I will connect the text to the reference poster. “I just read this sentence and I am not sure if it’s a fact or opinion–let me see how I can figure it out.”

Discussion

After we are done reading, we discuss–ideally in more than one way. We might talk a little as a whole group but then I will pair them up to answer some follow up questions together. Then we will share out again. Or I will break them into small groups and bounce around to hear their discussions. Allowing for collaborative discussion is key!

When we are done on that first day as a whole group, I send them off to read. As the week goes on, we will continue with this skill and use tools like graphic organizers or text annotations to practice.

Connecting to Small Groups

In small groups, we will apply this skill to instructional level texts. We will continue discussions and work with finding facts and opinions in the book. When students show readiness for a higher level of comprehension, we will work on developing an opinion based on facts from the texts. This is a great time to work on informational writing or opinion writing as they support one another.
If you would like to check out the materials referenced in this post, check out my Facts and Opinions Comprehension Kit here.

You can also download the Comprehension Kits guide including additional suggested mentor texts and a scope and sequence by clicking here or on the images below.

Are you looking for other comprehension skills? For more teaching ideas and text suggestions, check out blog posts like this one by clicking here.
Disclaimer: The links to the books in this post are affiliate links. This means, if you purchase the item through that link, I will receive a small compensation as an Amazon Affiliate. This is at no additional cost to you. I only recommend books that I personally love and use in my classroom.
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