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Mentor Texts

Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature, K-6

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How do children's book authors create the wonder that we feel when reading our favorite books? What can students and teachers learn from these authors and books if we let them serve as writing mentors? In Mentor Texts, Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli show teachers how to help students become confident, accomplished writers, using literature as their foundation.

The book is organized around the characteristics of good writing—focus, content, organization, style, and conventions—and includes:

  • mentor texts that can be used to scaffold student work;
  • student writing examples to demonstrate how students take risks as writers;
  • teacher writing examples to show the power of teacher as writer;
  • a comprehensive annotated list of children's literature that includes specific suggestions for teaching points;
  • “Your Turn” lessons at the end of each chapter that show how to put the ideas into practice.

Rose and Lynne write in a friendly and conversational style, employing numerous anecdotes to help teachers visualize the process, and offer strategies that can be immediately implemented in the classroom. Each “Your Turn” lesson is built around the gradual release of responsibility model, offering suggestions for demonstrations and shared or guided writing. Reflection is emphasized as a necessary component to understanding why mentor authors chose certain strategies, literary devices, sentence structures, and words.

This practical resource demonstrates the power of learning to read like writers. It shows teachers and students how to discover the ways that authors make writing come alive, and how to use that knowledge to inspire and improve their own writing.

About the Author(s)

Rose comes from a family of musicians and teachers, both of which have greatly influenced her life. A volunteer job in high school led her to pursue work with hearing and language impaired children.

Lynne, a native of Philadelphia, received her bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education, her supervisory certificate in elementary education, her reading specialist certificate from LaSalle University, and her educational leadership doctorate degree from Immaculata University.

Table of Contents

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1. Reinventing the Writer with Mentor Texts
2. Digging for Treasure: Discovering Personal Stories by Connecting with Read-Alouds
3. What Are You Really Writing About? Discovering the Inside Story
4. When Writers Use a Magnifying Lens
5. Creating Powerful Beginnings and Satisfying Endings
6. Using Scaffolds to Organize Texts
7. Poetry: Everybody Can Be a Writer
8. Choice, Voice, and All That Jazz
9. Walk Around the Author's Syntax
10. A Treasure Chest of Books

Product Details

Media: 328 pp/paper
Year: 2009
Item No: WEB-0433
ISBN: 978-157110-433-5
Grade Range: K-6