Always: A Mentor Text for Writing Questions and Repetition

Always

Written by Ann Stott

Illustrated by Matt Phelan

Published by Candlewick Press in August 2008

Review copy provided by the publisher

Always is a touching tale about a young boy who questions whether his mother’s love (for him) is unconditional. He asks his mother a series of questions that include whether she loves him he remembers to feed the hamster (or if he doesn’t), if she loves him when he uses the potty (or when he doesn’t), whether she loves him when he eats his pees (or if he doesn’t)… This book is truly touching and should be read to any young child who wants to know whether or not their mom (or dad) will love them unconditionally.

However, this book can be used as a mentor text in any elementary Writing Workshop. Here are two ways I identified:

  • Writing Questions: Do you have students who have trouble writing complete questions? If so, this book is full of questions, all of which start with the same stem (see repetition below). Further, noticing that all of the questions end with the same punctuation mark (a question mark) might be helpful for emerging writers who are unsure about when and how to use ending punctuation.
  • Repetition: Stott uses the words “Do you love me when…” as a stem for almost all of the questions the little boy asks his mother. At the end of the book the little boy asks his mother “Do you love me?” which breaks the repetition slightly. Then, the mother’s response of “Yes, I love you,” completely breaks the repetition since her pledge of unconditional love follows all of his questions on the final five pages of the 32 page text. Therefore, this book can help you teach writers how to use repetition purposefully so that they can use it appropriately and then stop once they’re ready to make their point.