Developing reading and writing connections is the purpose of using mentor texts. This lesson focuses on developing the sequence of events in narrative writing using temporal words based on the examples we see in a well-structured mentor text. The composition of a story such as its flow from beginning, middle, to end contributes to the reader's comprehension of text. Students learn that story development follows a pattern that leads to conflict and resolution in a logical pattern.
I like using classic picture books as the mentor text for this lesson because it allows my second graders to focus on the writing skill in more concrete ways. At this stage in their writing development, students use illustrations to capture the meaning of text. Before they write their multiple paragraph essays, Picture books give concrete examples that model the author's use of literary device directly and simplistically.
For this lesson, I use the picture book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle to model sequencing order of events. I show ▶ The Very Hungry Caterpillar video and ask students to discuss elements of sequencing presented. Afterwards we discuss what we saw on the video relating to the author's use of literary devices and focus the discussions on student analysis of video.
I also use a sequencing flip chart that presents definitions and examples of transition words used in sequential writing. The video is also embedded into the flip chart for easier access.
I model writing that incorporates sequencing so students can see another concrete example. I use a Chain of Events Graphic Organizer to plot my sample narrative. Our class decided to write a narrative about a lost puppy. The puppy wandered into different places and situations as we developed conflict into this story. At the end, the puppy found its way back home as the story reaches a resolution. After reviewing the organizer, we discuss the final writing. After the discussion, I inform students that they will create their own writing, similar to the one I modeled, but on a topic of their choosing.
Students work in pairs using a Chain of Events Graphic Organizer to plan their writing. I ask students to discuss what they had learned from the first section of this lesson and implement that knowledge in their writing. Students are also encourage to use the mentor text, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as inspiration for their writing.
I give students construction paper to create a storybook using sequencing transition words in their own writing. A clever example that resulted from my students' brainstorming session is a book entitled: Diary of Mouse. The transition words these students used in their writing were months of the year such as October, March, and May. They followed the example from the mentor text on sequencing.
Students shared their writing with their classmates. I encouraged students to share their writing because they will gain others' perspectives from other students' feedback of their work as well as as listening to other presentations. Sharing ideas and perspectives results in authentic and deeper learning.