Mentor Text Review: Saltie Mumma

  • Author and illustrator: Sandra Kendell
  • Publisher: Windy Hollow Books

Saltie Mumma by Sandra Kendell is an information book that provides the reader with insight into the lifecycle of saltwater crocodiles by following the journey of a mother crocodile in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: The author of this book knows a lot about crocodiles and it shows. She is clearly interested in the topic and fascinated by crocodiles herself. This is a lesson for students to write about things they themselves are interested in, that way, they can stay on topic and add plenty of interesting details.

ORGANISATION: This is a hybrid text that contains a narrative and a non-fiction piece of writing on each page (in the style Claire Saxby made famous with all her books). Students could replicate this style in their own writing by telling a narrative and then adding facts in a different colour or font on the same page.

WORD CHOICE: This book contains loads of terrific tier 2 words that would be perfect for a vocabulary study. Verbs such as lurking, appear, strike, swipes, chomps, lunging and sculpting would be especially useful for building students’ vocabulary to help them with both reading and writing. The non-fiction text on each page can be used to highlight the technical vocabulary the author has used. Words such as estuaries, predators, cold blooded and ‘wet’ season help to show the reader that the writer is an authority on the topic.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

DETERMINIG IMPORTANCE: Talk to students about all the information presented to them in this information text. Jot down some facts from the book onto cardboard strips (or the whiteboard). Ask students: if they were doing a project on crocodiles, which facts would be most important to share? If they were learning about baby crocodiles, which information would be most important to remember?

QUESTIONING and SYNTHESISING: Complete a KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) chart with students before, during and after reading this book. Are there any lingering questions? Where could you go to find more information to answer these?