Mentor text

Cassandra Peterson 9/10/15 Section C

Writing Demands

The purpose of writing is to communicate thoughts clearly, build on prior knowledge and create new ideas. In writing their are three different ways that we can communicate they are narrative, opinion and informatively. Writing can be a way for students to show their understanding, relate experience and justifying their opinions.

Writing Strategies

There are 10 effective ways to teach writing:

1. summarizing

2. collaborating

3. specific goals

4. word processing

5. understanding sentence combinations


7. inquiry writing activity

8. using a processed writing approach

9. models - mentor text can be a model

10. writing to learn content

Why Should I use a Mentor Text?

  • Mentor texts are a form of models for student because the allow students to see how an author constructed language and structure to create a message and how these elements benefit a text.
  • They can benefit the student and the teacher because the student can physically see what is expected of them.
  • It allows the student to become a better writer because they are reading published writing and using similar structure and language within their writing.
  • It allows teachers to feel more comfortable teaching writing because they are able to show the students professional quality work and have students create similar pieces.

Principles for using Mentor Text

1. Selecting mentor text
  • picture books
  • magazine
  • tone, length and style should be similar to what student will produce

2.Thing to noice

  • Structure- order of information(flow), how do you get from beginning to end, helps us understand how information is presented
  • Word Choice- how does the author communicate their point of bias, makes writing clear and compelling, can help convey a point,

3. Support

  • Teacher models "things to notice" in a text till students grasp understanding of how to do it.
  • relate to how they can use it in their own work

Can I Use Mentor Text In Other Content Areas

Of course, Social studies and science are some of the other content areas that mentor texts can be used in as well. It helps them to understand decisions within their writing and support their ideas.

When writing a mentor text students need to include:

  1. Introduce topic to audience
  2. make sure structure is logical so it builds or narrows to a topic
  3. include: facts, definitions, concrete details, quotes, and any other relevant information

Ways to use mentor text in social studies & science include:

  • short research projects
  • historical events
  • biographical sketch
  • explore or pursue a topic
  • stance/opinion on a topic
  • creating certain feelings about a topic

Ms. Peterson's Opinion

I think that Mentor text is a great way to show students quality writing as well as what might be expected of them for an assignment. I think for some students it would raise the bar to have them be able to see the structure of a text and be able to write a quality paper and for other students I see it not benefiting them. I think for some students it would be boring for them to have sit and read through another article and write their own. It would be important to me as a teacher that if I used Mentor text it was a topic I felt the class was passionate about or I could split them into groups and have them do it based on topics they might be passionate about. I think if the students were interested in the topic they were going to write about and read a mentor text that was the opposite view or similar view they might be able to construct some very well written piece. I think this lesson could also tie into plagiarism as well by teaching the students that they can't copy the text. I think it will impact the way I teach because I can use it as a helping hand for me and for student to reflect on.

3 questions

1. What is one way you would use Mentor Text to incorporate another content area?

2. What is structure and what are different ways you could organize a text to have good structure?

3. How could you adapt a mentor text for an ELL student or a student with an academic disability in your classroom?

Mentor Texts in the Writing Workshop
Using mentor texts effectively


Pytash, K., & Morgan, D. (2014). USING MENTOR TEXTS TO TEACH WRITING IN SCIENCE AND SOCIAL STUDIES (2nd ed., Vol. 68, pp. 93-102). The International Reading Association.