Sunday, February 16, 2014

Making Mentor Texts Meaningful and Memorable

Want to make those amazing mentor texts you spend countless hours hand picking for your mini-lessons more meaningful?  This is a simple strategy I've used to sear these texts into my students' little second grade brains and to help them see the connection between the books we read and their own writing (you could do this in reader's notebooks too, but so far I've only done it in writing).
Just go find a picture of the book - a simple Google image search will do the trick - copy and paste rows and columns of the picture of the book cover in a PowerPoint slide (PowerPoint is WAY easier to play with graphics in than Word), print out the slide and cut up a small picture of the book cover for every student.
As a follow-up mini-lesson after reading the book to the class, students can glue the copy of the book cover in their writer's notebooks and brainstorm ideas for writing that stem from this mentor text.  As I peeked over the kiddos' shoulders during workshop time yesterday I found one of my sweet girlies going back to her All the Places to Love page and adding more ideas of favorite places she could write about.  Success!

Here are some of the mentor texts I love to use to inspire ideas for writing:
Looking Back: A Book of Memories is such a fun text!  I use the chapter where Lois Lowry describes how she went about choosing her dog.  The kids absolutely love seeing the dog that she ended up choosing and can almost always come up with ideas for pet stories.  I also read the chapter where Lois found a dead rat and brought it home thinking it would make a good pet.  It always takes a few minutes for the kids to figure out what she brought home and put in the oven.  I love their little smiles when they finally figure out what happened.

All the Places to Loveis a perfect book to inspire ideas for writing based on favorite places.  It's also a great one to model word choice.  

Knots in My Yo-Yo Stringis a book that really inspired me as a writer.  I use this book as a start for students to draw a map of a place they know well and jot down stories they have in this place.  

Alphabet books can be tricky, but one of my favorites is O is for Orca: An Alphabet Book.  It is a great model for short but interesting research.  Be careful though - if you let kids create their own alphabet books they might just work on them for the entire year.

Do you have any go-to mentor texts to inspire writing?  Please share them!  I am always looking for new books to add to my "writing teacher" shelf.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea. I'm going to use it next week with a chapter book I just read to my grade one class. Thanks, Katie!
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