Sunday, March 2, 2014

Great Language Arts Mentor Text! Ordinary Oscar!

Happy March to You! :)

I can't believe it's already March!!! Where has the time gone?

I'm here for this week's Must Read Mentor Text Linky focused on Language Arts! And I have a FUN text to share with you!

It's called Ordinary Oscar by Laura Adkins. It's one of my favorites!

Every time I read this book, I smile. It's so ADORABLE! :) BUT, it's also so full of WONDERFUL language arts possibilities! 

A quick summary: Oscar is a snail who is fed up with his ordinary life. He dreams of being different, exciting, and famous. After visiting the wise old snail, his Fairy Godsnail pays him a visit. She grants him three wishes. While using his wishes Oscar soon realizes that being ordinary is really not so bad. 

The first skill that I teach when I read this book to my students is theme. This story shows students that everyone is special just the way they are. We all are "extraordinary" in our own ways. They can also make connections to Oscar - we have all had times when we wished we were something more, and it never works out how we hoped. Oscar is a character that can be compared and contrasted with many other characters. I love comparing him to the triangle in the The Very Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns (another of my favorite books), they are very similar and both learn a very important lesson.

I also love to review and preview grammar skills with this book such as verbs, adjectives, and dialog.  

I absolutely love how the author uses such vivid language throughout the story. Not only does she use vivid verbs and amazing adjectives, but she also fills the story with figurative language. Some of my favorite puns are on the page pictured above when Oscar imagines what it would be like to be famous. The other snails are admiring him and they are saying things like "He just OOZES charm!" and "He's really come out of his shell!" which is also idiom. Adkins also uses alliteration throughout the book: ordinary Oscar, slime slither, and stunning stupendous spectacular snail.  

As I read the book I like to have the students record the amazing adjectives and vivid verbs used by the author. For example, the author writes that the snails "munch" and "crunch" the leaves rather than simply eating them. We write these in our writer's notebook so that we can refer to them later in our own writing.

Although I have used this book with my third and fourth graders it would be a great book to use with first and second grades as well. Students can make predictions based upon the text and illustrations. They can also create story maps sequencing the main events. Literary elements such as character, setting , problem, and solution can also be discussed. 
My last suggestion for this book is a writing activity. At the end of the story the author includes a newspaper article describing how Oscar becomes a hero to his mother and family. It would be fun to have my student's create another newspaper article about Oscar, or even a character from another story we have read. 

I hope that you will check out this book because I am sure that you and your students will enjoy it as much as I do!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please linkup your favorite language arts texts. I look forward to adding some new books to my Amazon wishlist :) Have a great rest of your weekend!

Next week's linky- Math


  1. Very cute book, and awesome that you are presenting Oscar on Oscar night. That could be a great comparison and lesson between someone truly being extraordinary versus being simply famous!
    Enjoy your Sunday!

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  2. This book looks hilarious :) I can see myself using it to teach theme, for one. It also sounds great for setting students (firsties) up for making text to text connections. Thanks for sharing!!
    Love your linky!
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  3. Thanks for sharing this one! A new one to me... It will fit very nicely with our adjective explorations! So I guess that means I need to track down a copy. :0)

    Sarah @ Hoots N' Hollers

  4. This book is new to me too! Thanks for the great lesson suggestions - my students always need reminders of great adjectives and vivid verbs to spruce up their writing.

  5. I *LOVE* this book!!! It's one I read during the first week of school each year - and it always prompts such great discussions about appreciating who we are created to be and about staying true to yourself rather than trying to copy who a classmate it. I love how you incorporate so many grammar skills into the book too - we've always picked up on the alliteration and the idioms, but I haven't thought to use it to really focus in on vivid verbs and adjectives - great idea!

    Joy in the Journey

  6. This book looks VERY cute. I love the idea of using it for theme (and everything else you mentioned!)

    Fit to be Fourth

  7. I did not know about this title. I am going to add it the books I use when we play figures of speech tic tac toe! It's a great game for a half day of school right before a vacation. Thanks for sharing. Caitlin TheRoomMom

  8. Although I don't always participate, I LOVE your linky party! You ladies have such great ideas and continue to host a wonderful party, that's why I nominated you for The Sunshine Blogger Award. Check out my post for details. :)
    Short and Sassy Teacher

  9. There will further be more ideas to be revealed in this regard and hopefully it will lay a good foundation within some meaning and objects. professional proof reading


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