It's all about the right book at the right time, given to the right student or used in the right lesson . . . Here is where we gather all those suggestions from our contributors for using mentor texts, including lesson protocols and scores of video examples.
Christy Rush-Levine reminds us that text selection affects students. By shaping a unit of study to contain texts of varying formats and representing a wide variety of characters, students are empowered to develop their own ideas even while reading a whole-class text. Download a diverse text list to deepen a discussion of how family shapes identity.
Melanie Meehan unlocks a few craft moves in Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson.
Bitsy Parks outlines how to select mentor texts in order to have more ownership over the lesson and engage students.
Christy Rush-Levine scaffolds her middle-school students’ understanding of craft moves by moving from short stories to novels when studying specific authors.
Whenever a tricky literary concept comes up, Tammy Mulligan finds herself returning to a favorite mentor text to guide students. She explains the value of shared simple stories for understanding complicated literary elements.
Bitsy Parks confers with Aubrey early in the year, using books from whole-class lessons as a scaffold for understanding key text elements like title, author, and illustrations.
Katherine Sokolowski finds her students are struggling to understand point of view. She takes a detour over a week with mentor texts, quick assists from favorite writers on Twitter, and practice sessions retelling Little Red Riding Hood to teach the concept.
Gigi McAllister helps her fourth graders develop the characters in their writing with a minilesson. She uses three mentor texts, one of which is her own writing.
Bitsy Parks explains how the ending weeks of read alouds in her first-grade classroom are designed to celebrate learning and shared experiences from the entire year.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they use one mentor text, Owl Moon, to teach multiple lessons on craft during a writing unit.
Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share some of their favorite mentor texts for a unit on letter writing.
Shari Frost deals with the failure of a classic read-aloud text to reach young African American boys by finding more engaging books for them.
Mary Lee Hahn is skeptical about how her fifth-grade students might use graphic organizers. But once she tries them alongside students, she begins to see their utility.
Christy Rush-Levine finds a community of new teachers bonds over a text highlighting addiction struggles. The experience leads her to think through what elements are essential for whole-class texts in her middle school classroom.
If you're looking for the perfect launch for writers' notebooks this school year, you might want to begin with story. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain how.
Katie DiCesare is helping her students move from mentor texts to seeing authors as mentors through their websites and other digital resources.
Melanie Meehan shares four important tips for using mentor texts effectively with students of any age.
Ruth Ayres shares how she was always someone who wrote — until she became a teacher. Getting back into writing was all about motivating her reluctant students.
Shari Frost explains how teachers can use paired texts to help young readers build their skills, starting with books they already know and love.
Jennifer Schwanke finds teachers can get territorial about texts, "claiming" them for their grade level. She explores when it is appropriate to repeat the use of a text in subsequent grades.
Katrina Edwards shares her plans for presenting children’s literature to help her first-grade students acquire the skills they need to be positive and proactive problem solvers.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills carefully select the first mentor text for crafting leads in their fourth-grade classroom.
Ruth Ayres shares some of her favorite mentors and mentor texts for developing good writing processes and habits.
Katie DiCesare uses technology in her first-grade classroom so that students can see the lives of the authors who create the texts they love.
Melanie Meehan talks with a third-grade teacher about how she helps students focus on craft elements in nonfiction mentor texts.
Stella Villalba models nonfiction writing for her first- and second-grade English language learners, and in the process integrates vocabulary instruction into her lesson. This is the first video in a three-part series.
Melanie Meehan uses a conferring card in her writing conference with Cara to ensure she has a record of the strengths and revision possibilities they discussed.
Gretchen Schroeder finds the article of the week activity is an excellent vehicle for learning about content literacy gaps in student background knowledge and how to fill them.
Jillian Heise discovers that her students need more access to the mentor texts she reads aloud, so she develops strategies to get them to students.
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