Mining Mentor Texts for Craft Moves

I’ve been teaching graduate courses on the “teaching of writing” for a few years. Each semester, I assign a mentor texts project so my students can see the power of using children’s literature when teaching writing. This past spring, I drastically changed the mentor texts assignment. I asked my students to select two picture books — one fiction and one nonfiction — for which they would write lesson sets (similar to the ones I shared in Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts).

I asked my students to create lesson sets using the process I described in Chapter 1, Choosing Picture Books for Mentor Texts. (Since this assignment was new and because their work rested upon something of my own creation, I scheduled a couple of check-ins prior to the due date to make sure each partnership was on track.) My students’ final mentor texts projects were due last month. I was pleased with the teaching tools they created.

Two of my students, who worked together on their project, gave me permission to share their final mentor text project in this forum. I hope it’ll serve as inspiration for you to mine picture books you love for craft moves this summer.

Click on the link below to download lesson sets for A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Z. Jones and Tiny Creatures by Nicola Davies. These lesson sets were written by Katherine Fowler, who is a digital learning specialist at West Elementary School in Andover, MA and Shannon Harwood, a curriculum coordinator in Edmonton, AB. Many thanks to Candlewick Press who granted permission to share text from these books in this forum.

Fowler and Harwood – Final Mentor Text Project