The library is like a candy store where everything is free.
I hear a quiet knock on my back door and rush to open it. Thirteen-year-old Abigail stands with her arms filled with books, and an expectant look on her face.
“Did it come?” she asks.
I smile and grab A Torch Against the Night and hold it out for her to see. She puts a stack of books she is returning to me on the counter and reaches to take it, her smile no longer shy.
“It came yesterday. Go ahead and take it, and I’ll read it when you finish.” Though I’m almost as eager as she is to read this next book in the series, her excitement is all I need to put the book into her hands.
I love children’s literature. It’s my passion. When I retired from teaching, I created a children’s literature library in our basement. Not only was I unwilling to part with my collection, but I am consumed with adding to it. Only now, it’s friends and family who stop by my house for a picture book pick-me-up, or the latest in a YA series. And increasingly, it’s my neighbors who have come to see my house as a local library.
Last week, Abigail brought her friend Sophia from across the street when she stopped by for weekend reading reinforcements. Turns out Sophia’s immersed in The Red Queen series and squealed “Oh my God!” when she saw the second book, Glass Sword, on the shelf. Two days later, she appeared at my door with a plate of cookies to return the book and browse for more.
Her dad stopped me when I left the house later that afternoon to thank me for sharing books.
“She’s such a reader!” he told me.
“I have plenty of books for your other girls, too,” I told him.
Abigail’s three younger siblings and Sophia’s two little sisters are my latest library visitors. They disappear into the basement library, browse, choose books, and stop for a chat. I must admit I love having young friends to share my books with. I get cookies, book talk, recommendations, and shy hugs. I’m hoping the girls will continue to spread the word that there’s a new library in the neighborhood. I am hoping it’s as rewarding for them as it is for me.
This week we look at mentor texts from many angles. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Ruth Shagoury was the Mary Stuart Rogers Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education at Lewis & Clark College. She works with students of all ages, from preschool through adult learners. Ruth has written over a dozen books on topics ranging from early writing development to teacher research. She hosts the Lit for Kids blog with her daughter Meghan Rose.
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Shark vs. Train! Fork vs. Spoon! Versus stories are incredibly popular in writing workshops these days. Cathy Mere found herself struggling to teach narrative conventions to students writing versus tales, so she created a booklist of mentor texts:
Kim Campbell shares her favorite short nonfiction mentor texts to use with adolescents when teaching essay writing:
Shari Frost has compiled a booklist featuring characters who write. These picture books are wonderful mentor texts for minilessons on writing:
Amber McMath explains how the right mentor text can inspire resilience, and includes a few of her favorites:
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Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they use one mentor text, Owl Moon, to teach multiple lessons on craft during a writing unit:
Is your mentor text a mirror for students? Shari Frost explains the term and provides criteria for selecting mirror books:
Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share some of their favorite mentor texts for a unit on letter writing:
In this week’s video, Katherine Sokolowski demonstrates how she helps a group of girls in her fifth-grade classroom learn to help each other select books based on previous experiences and tastes:
In an encore video, Melanie Meehan talks with a third-grade teacher about how she helps students focus on craft elements in nonfiction mentor texts:
That’s all for this week!