Reflection: Lesson Planning Learning Craft and Content Using Mentor Texts Continued - Section 2: Guided Reading: Craft In "Pets"


One of the hardest parts of using mentor texts is finding them. There are so many out there that it can seem overwhelming and hard to figure out where to begin, which to use, and why. There is really no right way to determine if a mentor text is good enough to use in the classroom, one has to figure out what works best for them and their classroom but there are a few things to remember.

1. Is the text accessible to the students? Some mentor texts that have I tried to use are way over my students' heads. While I thought the imagery might be great or the message is relatable, the students are not able to understand the content so I had had to toss it for the time being. While many push, including the Common Core, towards rigorous texts, I'd much rather my students do rigorous work with a simpler text than easier work with a harder text.

2. Are the craft techniques evident, if not, can students be pushed to find and understand them? Occasionally, I'll find a narrative that I love for the content, but the craft techniques are not evident or the narrative itself is too basic. If that's the case, I need to determine when and when I want to use the narrative in the unit.

3. Will my students enjoy reading this? This seems like an easy question. I know myself I have lost sight of this when determining which mentor texts to use. I may have loved it, but then I remembered my 13 and 14 year old students are going to read it.

4. Where can I look for mentor texts? While there are tons and tons online and I'm sure many of them are great, I prefer to go straight to the source. I use mentor texts from memoirs for the personal narrative unit. I think those excerpts are richer in content and writing rather than some I have found online. It also gives me a chance to spend time strolling around a bookstore.

  Choosing Mentor Texts
  Lesson Planning: Choosing Mentor Texts
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Learning Craft and Content Using Mentor Texts Continued

Unit 8: Personal Narrative/Memoirs: Reading and Analyzing Mentor Texts
Lesson 3 of 7

Objective: SWBAT analyze a personal narrative ("Pets") for craft techniques.

Big Idea: What the story is about and how it's written?: Two different but valuable qualities.

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English / Language Arts, mentor text, personal narrative, craft techniques, Mentor Texts, narrative, Metaphor
  43 minutes
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