This fall I was always in search of mentor texts to use with my Personal Narrative and Interpretive Essay writing units. The Lucy Calkins writing unit books do a nice job of giving you a sample text and using it throughout the unit, but where the books are for grades 3-5 teachers I always run into the problem of students who have had their teachers use the mentor text book before. Seriously, how many times can you see and listen to Tiger Rising broken down and discussed?
Our school is in the process of developing a "hands-off" book list for grades. It would be a list of books that each grade "owns" to use as mentor texts. I cannot wait for this to happen! While I can see the benefit that some students would have knowing the text, there are so many great novels and picture books out there-why not expose them to them?
Often when I do use excerpts of books students will get the book from the library because it has inspired them to want to read on. I just used Frindle for teaching strong characters (specifically the chapter: Mrs.Granger). I had three boys looking for it at our school library. It is just another great way to motivate different lit.
Seeing as there are only 24 hours in each day, I do not have time to read different novels to be able to connect them to different mini-lessons. That is where these two books come in (below). YAY! They are amazing, they not only give you the books to use, but how to use them. It is very similar to the Calkin's style, yet with different text sets.
How do you choose mentor texts? Anybody have any good lists to share?