Utilizing mentor texts is an integral part of my instructional strategies across all disciplines. Often, I invite my students to emulate the author that they love reading the most, figuring that they were drawn to reading the books by that author because of the his or her craft in the first place. Why not try to create authentic writing using your favorite author as a model?
Quite a few years ago when teaching fourth-grade, finding a mentor text for the unit of study in Personal Essays was a struggle for me. They were either too baby-ish, or too mature, very few that were just-right.
Then, one day, I came across NPR’s “This I Believe” segment- a child was sharing his beliefs on the program. This sparked an idea in me, and I started using the manuscripts for the segments as my mentor texts for personal essays.
Fast forward, when I was re-designing persuasive writing unit of study for my third-graders, these segments came to mind once again.
Turns out, NPR is no longer hosting the series, they have taken a life of their own as an organization this i believe, still cherishing one person’s thoughts at a time. Moreover, I also noticed that they have an entire educator’s page with suggested curriculum.
Now, this, I listen.