A mentor text is a piece of written text that models specific skills and strategies (or craft moves) for students in reading and writing.
Mentor texts are authentic, real-world examples of different kinds of writing from which writers can practice strategies and use as examples.
Use mentor texts when you teach reading to study things like genre or text structure as well as practice reading strategies and skills.
Most authors will tell you that the NUMBER ONE thing you can do to become a better writer is to be a READER.
What’s even more powerful is LEARNING TO READ LIKE A WRITER. That’s where mentor texts benefit our students.
We can use picture books, chapter books, nonfiction, middle grade books, and so forth to show growing writers specifics about the author’s craft.
So, find exceptionally written children’s books that are mentor texts for a writing concept. You might want to teach thinking of interesting IDEAS, describing with VIVID VERBS, writing with SENSORY DETAILS, or concluding with SATISFYING endings.
Then, you’ll read and notice and label the craft strategies. Explicitly. (Where are the vivid verbs, etc.?)
And finally, you will help kids apply the strategies from the mentor text to their own writing.