WritingFix: Picture Book as Mentor Texts for all 6 Traits!

When I encountered that term mentor text at in summer of 2006, I decided not to let my cynicism overshadow the opportunity. I figured if they'd bothered to name an old, nameless idea, they must have some fresh ideas about using them that they've recently discovered. I listened intently at each conference session, then processed the information by reflecting on my own classroom practices. What I discovered was that I already had three distinctly different ways I was using mentor texts to design my writing lessons, so I classified them into three groups. I did this to see if I could figure out which category of the three I used more frequently, and I used that information to help me decide on what technique I wanted to work on with my next set of lessons. I chose to design some new lessons inspired by the mentor text technique I discovered I used the least. I set it as a professional development goal with my evaluator, and I've been working on bettering my use of mentor texts ever since.

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So here is what I am attempting to do with the following three book recommendations: I am attempting to share with you the most unique mentor text title I've thought of for all three types of mentor texts. I suspect the books-as-mentor-texts I am about to recommend are known, but that few have thought about how to incorporate them as an inspiration for writing. I share this with you in hopes that you'll share it with others. If you want to share a unique mentor text idea with me...you may:

Literary essay mentor texts for narrative writing

Literary essay mentor texts for ..

In 2006, when I made the decision to learn even more about mentor texts and how they affected my writing instruction, I spread out 15-20 of my very favorite mentor texts from my very best writing lessons on the carpet in front of my bookshelf. In Language Arts, I require my students do "sorts" all the time with words and sentences and quotes, and so I was immediately inspired to attempt to sort my mentor texts in an interesting way. I sorted them first by genre. I sorted them next by reading level. Neither of these sorts did much to challenge my thinking. However, when I asked myself, "How are you specifically using these mentor texts to teach writing?" something really interesting happened. I made a discovery that became very meaningful to me. The sort I ended up doing showed me that I had three distinctly different ways I was using mentor texts to inspire student writing. I was using some of my texts as idea mentor texts, some as structure mentor texts, and others as craft mentor texts. You can read about these three different categories I created by viewing the PowerPoint slideshow, which you can freely download at our or by clicking on the picture of my opening slide, which is at right. In my PowerPoint slides, I define each category, and I share a purposefully diverse selection of mentor texts that I have personally used while designing writing instruction to 3rd-12th grade writers. When I present to teachers about mentor texts, I explain how it's the writing task I have students complete after being exposed to the text that determines in which category I place the text. This is a pretty important concept to understand before you can start sharpening your own use of mentor texts, and so it deserves the discussion I set aside for it at my trainings. I usually place a pile of possible mentor texts at each table in the training room, and my participants like to sort them once they watch the Powerpoint. They discover that the same mentor texts can be used to teach a variety of things.

Then write a well-organized essay that analyzes how that ..

I select my mentor texts carefully, and though they are based on my current needs for improving writing, I invite other teachers to join me in exploring them. Eventually, I begin posting lessons based on them as part of our Ning.

Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts

A Discussion Prompt for Teachers Using this Page during Collaborative Professional Development: We have come to believe in the importance of incorporating a great mentor text into a writing lesson. A mentor text is a published piece of writing whose idea, whose structure, or whose written craft can be analyzed andd discussed as a means of inspiring students' own writing. During our teacher workshops, we helped our participants understand these three purposes of a mentor text. Here is a link to a used by one of our trainers, ; it explains the three categories of mentor texts we ask our teachers to think about. As you explore the lessons posted on this page--alone or with colleagues--here are two discussion questions to help you think about these lessons' design: "Is the mentor text being used to inspire an idea, a structure, or a craft skill from student writers? What's an additional mentor text that you might incorporate into the already-written lesson that would add another opportunity for students to think about ideas, structures, or writing skills?"

Popular Persuasive Writing Mentor Texts Books - Goodreads

I find a lot of my teacher workshop participants expect the incorporation of mentor texts into writing instruction to be easy, but it really isn't. Just because you have a well-written or engaging text to discuss before students begin writing does not guarantee you have a better writing lesson. Allow me to explain this opinion I have with an example mentor text that I know many already teachers know about: by Chris Van Allsburg.