When starting out your writing unit, using a mentor text is a successful way to allow students to understand the type of writing they are completing and see a good example for their writing. In this post, I am going to walk you through how to use a mentor text when doing a writing unit.
This post is part of a writing series on teaching writing to upper elementary students. Read about more aspects of teaching writing here!
Why use mentor texts in writing?
Mentor texts in writing are a great way for students to see what they should be writing about and how. It gives them the opportunity to hear what good and creative writing sounds like. It also helps their minds start to come up with ideas. Writing mentor texts are also great for students to refer back to throughout the writing process.
Writing and reading instruction integrate perfectly together. When I first start a writing unit, I am going to read the mentor text and do a comprehension activity with it. That way I am working on reading comprehension and also making sure that the students fully understand the type of writing.
Use of It as An Example
After reading and working on comprehension, you can go back through the mentor text and point out different aspects of the writing that you want your students to exhibit in their writing.
For example, you could go back and show the students how the author used reasons and examples to support their opinion if you were working with an opinion writing mentor text.
Shows the Topic of The Writing Piece
Then, you can have your students writing on that same topic as the mentor text.
For example, if you were doing informational writing pieces on animals, you could read one of the “Who Would Win?” books. Have your students research two animals and write a who would win informational essay of their own. (You can grab that unit here)
Allowing students to write on a similar topic helps them to use the knowledge they learned from the mentor text.
Extend on The Mentor Text Writing
After they complete the mentor text writing unit you can now keep writing in that genre often and they have that mentor text to refer back to.
So, if you were doing the informational writing unit on animals talked about above you now could go and have them write an informational writing piece about anything else and they have that knowledge to continue.
FREE SAMPLE OF WRITING WITH MENTOR TEXTS
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