The Ugly Pumpkin: A Fall Mentor Text

The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz is a book you can carry across October and November, and I have the best time reading it to my kids each year. It is perfect for teaching readers how to examine a character's actions, traits, and motivations. I usually spend a whole week with this book, and slowly scaffold character actions, traits, and motivations as we go. 

I'm so excited for you to find so many fall mentor texts today. Some friends and I have gathered our favorites, along with an amazing collection of lesson ideas.{There are affiliate links in this post in case you're like me, and can't wait a week to get a copy! :)} 


Before reading, I always do a quick review on what it means to think about someone's actions. We use a piece of chart paper to make a list of the things we've done since we arrived that day. 

Once we've got a good list, I ask them to keep track of the ugly pumpkin's actions as we read today. Someone almost always realizes they are listening for verbs that tell us what the ugly pumpkin is doing. :) 


The kids are listening for actions, and afterwards we go over the day's reading response. You may want to fill in an example (or two) with them. I really emphasize writing in complete sentences because they'll be expected to do the same as the week progresses. 

I don't worry too much about the page numbers, but I included it when I made this unit because this is a book I have multiple copies of. :) 


In the days that follow, we move on to examine a character's motivations and traits. 

What my students and I love about these lessons is that each written response builds on information we gathered about the character the day before. All they have to do is transfer the information to make the connection. I encourage them to go back to the previous day's response to get their assignment started. 

I love re-reading this book each day. But if you are going to be out, or you just aren't feeling up to a reread, I did find this cute video on YouTube! :) 

It's less than 2 minutes long - perfect for a quick review! 

On Day Four, we connect everything together in a sentence frame response. I love being able to have them go back to this activity when they begin to write responses about characters using their independent books in the weeks and months ahead. 

As I was looking through this pack, I decided to add on an extra day where I could invite the students to step into the character's shoes. I can't wait to try these responses out in the next week or so. I think I'm going to use them to create a fun hallway display and have the kids mount them on construction paper. 

I've included a sample of the activities in this unit in an EXCLUSIVE freebie sampler pack. Just sign up below to grab your own download! 

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    If you'd like to know more about the rest of the activities in this pack,  keep reading! 

    This 40+ page unit includes:

    • ALL of the printables featured in this post
    • three different center options
    • interactive notebook pages for retelling or sequencing
    •  a mystery phrase activity
    •  and an Ugly Pumpkin writing craftivity! 

    You can find it on TpT - it's on sale for a limited time! Click HERE or on the image below to grab it! 

    Make sure you check out the rest of the fall mentor text lessons and snag the freebies we're sharing with you this week. 

    Stop by the rest of The Reading Crew's posts to continue gathering phenomenal ideas for fall mentor texts! 

    An InLinkz Link-up

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    1. Cute, cute, CUTE!!! This book contains such a great message and I love all of the activities you created to go with it. Thanks for sharing :)
      The Techie Teacher

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