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Oral Mentor Texts + a Giveaway!

Storytelling in the classroom is a powerful tool when helping students learn to take an idea and use story language. Assuming that children understand the elements of a story is assuming too much. These elements must be taught if they are meant to be used in the writing process.

oral mentor texts

These are just a few of the main ideas from the book, Oral Mentor Texts, by Connie Dierking and Sherra Jones. What I love about this book is there is a focus on talking and oral storytelling. They encourage teachers to create classroom oral stories. Not only do these stories become a go to for the class as a mentor text they also don’t require any materials. You can create an oral story and walk around while conferring with that mentor text right in your head and the heads of your students. Perfect!

Take it a step further and you can create a storyboard of your classroom story for students to use when retelling. Sequencing and story elements become a focus for children and their understanding of story language.

Telling stories is contagious; the more students do it, the better they get at it. And the better they get at it, the more they want to do it. The payoff? Good storytellers become good story writers.

I’ve been talking for the past two weeks about visualizing a story and creating that story on paper. The idea of oral storytelling as a class opens the door to shared visualization and scaffolding students toward student visualization of an idea.

The beauty of this scenario is that every student experiences a story being born, a process that will support each of them every day in writing workshop when they are asked to find an incident in their life and recreate the sequence of events as a story. Students see that stories can be found anywhere. They have a model for how to retell a story. The class story is a solid introduction.

This book goes into much more detail about how to encourage key elements of a great story through sections on strong leads, endings, sentence structure, alliteration, inserting facts and poetry as well as an even more extensive list of writer’s craft.

In my classroom I decided to take some of these ideas and put them into action. The first few weeks of school we were visited by a guest, a fly. Here is our classroom oral story:

Guess what, we have a class pet and his name is Mr. Fly. He keeps buzzing all around our heads and he is very annoying. I wish he would find the door and just leave, but he refuses. Instead he just keeps buzzing and buzzing by our ears. Mr. Fly likes it here. I guess he can stay, at least for now!

We retold and retold the story, talking about Mr. Fly and his annoying antics. We would tell the story during free moments of our day and sometimes prior to workshop. Then, I took the story and created pictures for students to play with during our “Open Choice” playtime.

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Students manipulated the pictures to put them in order and retell the funny story of Mr. Fly.

One step further, I created a class book with students helping create the illustrations.

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We now have the oral story in “our back pockets” for any time we want to tell it, we have the story pictures and a class book which has been a great model for making books during our workshop time. Students have retold the story to their families and during parent teacher conferences I even had a parent say, “Oh, this must be Mr. Fly,” as he flew around our heads. This story is embedded in my students. They hear a strong lead and an ending to a story. They hear the story language and vocabulary like “annoying” and “refuses.” They have learned about ending marks and spaces. This story has come full circle for my students. It began just as they do in their writing and ended with a beautiful product. From talking, to drawing to writing and creating another mentor text for my students both in book form and oral story form.

If you would like a copy of Oral Mentor Texts, please see the details below!

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • This giveaway is for a copy of Oral Mentor Texts. Many thanks to Connie Dierking and Heinemann for donating a copy for one reader.
  • For a chance to win this copy of Oral Mentor Texts, please leave a comment about this post by Thursday, October 30th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose name I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Sunday, November 2nd.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)

AND the winner is….

Caroline Peevy and Jill have been chosen using a random number generator matched to their comment number! Each will receive a copy of Oral Mentor Texts from Heinemann who graciously offered to do TWO giveaways!

Betsy Hubbard View All

Daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and writer.

82 thoughts on “Oral Mentor Texts + a Giveaway! Leave a comment

  1. We use Oral Storytelling in our classroom daily. One of the great benefits of this component is that it is a great place to immerse children in the kinds of things you want them to do as writers in an upcoming narrative unit. For example, if you want your students to start adding dialogue to their narrative stories you can start by coaching into adding dialogue to the oral stories you tell as a class. We love this component of our day and feel that the students take away so much from the experience!!

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  2. My third graders love storytelling & we use it to model during the start of new writing units. I’d love to learn more about using oral storytelling in my classroom!

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  3. So excited to see such thoughtful conversation around oral storytelling! Thank you Betsy for making public the value of the oral story. We regularly highlight the written story but forget stories always start with the spoken word.

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  4. Teaching kids how to enjoy writing is a passion of mine…and I have kids from grade 3 to 7 in my classroom. I think this text is one that I could not only use to support kids but also to suggest to my teaching friends who share my commitment to helping kids see the power of words and how writing empowers them to communicate, entertain, and connect with others!!

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  5. I would love to win this book! I’ve been wanting to begin each year with a story telling unit to help my firsties better understand the how to tell and write stories!

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  6. So looking forward to possibly winning this book. It would add that special element to my lessons and help to diversify my lessons as well! Hope I get picked!!

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  7. I love that this book is so supportive of our young learners needs to tell a story. And how you can make an everyday event into a story was a great example.

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  8. I love that something we usually consider annoying (a fly) was used for something so productive! No wonder I start my mornings reading Two Writing Teachers. You never know where you’ll find inspiration for storytelling.

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  9. I’m very excited to read about this book. I am pleased we are now emphasizing the connection between oral and written language.

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  10. We have been emphasizing story telling during our narrative units and I do find it so necessary to model this for our students. It’s not something the just “catch.” With lots of modeling, I have recently seen so much growth lately. I’d love a copy of this book to learn more!

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  11. Your example of Mr. fly reminds me that those small shared classroom experiences are wonderful opportunities to show our youngest writers how to live the “writerly” life! Writers watch life carefully for ideas. Telling the stories orally and making them part of our community of literacy makes them powerful mentor texts! Thank you!

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  12. Than you for all these creative ideas. This will also help develop verbal expression and fluency in the early grades. We would love to have this book.

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  13. I’m so glad to read this post and know that you recommend it. I’ve had the Heinemann brochure by my bed. I checked out the book on the Heinemann website. I wanted to get it, but just wasn’t sure it was something I needed. Now I know it would be a worthwhile purchase.

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  14. This is awesome! I love the idea of telling stories in class to get Kindergarteners ready for workshop. The best aha from your post- is to use this as a story element in centers with pictures. I’m very excited to try this in my kindergarten class!

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  15. Oral language is such a key to literacy development. I’ve been reading Fountas and Pinnell’s book about struggling readers and they talk about how every day your emergent readers need to hear and tell stories.

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  16. So glad our reading teacher introduced me to this site this year! I have learned so much and really appreciate the kindergarten specific posts 🙂

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  17. Our Kindergarten through second grade students LOVE writing! Oral storytelling is SO crucial and I’d love more ideas to facilitate it!

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  18. Flies are perfect for class pets (no feeding, no cleanup, and they’re very quiet). Great for inquiry too: What do they eat and how do they eat it? How do they see? Do they have ears? What’s their lifespan? Model research and create another class book – this one faction (=nonfiction).
    Have fun!

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  19. I would love to have this book for my First Grade class. Last year I had a story telling unit and I am about to start this year again since I see how much it helps the kids to become better storytellers and writers.

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  20. I’m a librarian in a dual language school (English/Spanish) on the TX/Mexico border. Oral story telling is a Hispanic tradition. This book would a superb resource for my teachers.

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  21. We love to talk about the Irish cultural tradition of oral storytelling during our immigration unit in 5th grade. This book sounds like a great tie-in to that.

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  22. Interesting! I know oral language skills benefit writing…and some students just may need this support still in upper elementary grades where SO much emphasis is getting ideas on the page and THEN sharing…Hmmm. Thanks for sharing.

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  23. Oral storytelling has always been a part of launching Writing Workshop for the teachers in my primary building. I love it that this book is devoted to that.

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  24. I am very interested in this post and the book. I teach Kindergarten and one of my goals this year is to increase the amount of time the kids spend talking before writer’s workshop and other times of day. I also like the idea of using a class story to help model what a story sounds like. I am going to try some of this in my class. Thanks for the post and the chance to win the book.

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  25. I can’t wait to read this and share with colleagues!!! I have been shouting the need to increase oral language practice to enhance reading and writing skills for a few years and now I will have a resource to better explain what I am talking about!! Yay!! Thanks for the giveaway!!!

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  26. This year I have become addicted to interactive writing. I see the benefits and love what my students transfer into their own writing. This would fit SO nicely with interactive writing. I might have to get a copy myself.

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  27. Many of my struggling story writers are also struggling story tellers. They need a LOT of support with oral sequencing, let alone using complete sentences, let alone using descriptive language. Oral recitation is KEY to get the spoken telling smooth, the remembering fluent, in order to lead to the written. klf18@scasd.org

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  28. The less a teacher talks, the more opportunities students have to process information and to learn. By telling a story orally, they learn from each other.

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  29. What perfect timing! Our school has been focusing on the oral language aspect of our students’ day! I love the concept of this book!

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  30. The power of talk is becoming underestimated in the classroom among all that there is to do. I would love a copy of this text to bring talk back to the forefront of conversation!

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  31. I love the fact that you stress the importance of having the students orally tell their story first! If they can say aloud, then writing it down on paper becomes so much easier for them. Thank you for sharing another great writing resource! I would love a chance to win this book 🙂

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