Mentor texts are a useful way to help your students become better writers. By showing your students examples of good writing, they begin to understand the mechanics of writing and they are inspired to write better on their own. When students are shown examples of good writing and then try to emulate the writing, they become better writers.
4 Tips for Teaching With Mentor Texts
You can also ask them to notice the length of each sentence. Discuss how varying the lengths of sentences inside of a paragraph makes the writing more interesting. Here, you could also show an example of the same paragraph written with sentences of all the same length to demonstrate how writing without variety in their sentences makes the paragraph less engaging.
For example, you might choose the following line from a mentor text:
Finally, the darkness fades to dawn, and the sun rolls before us like a wagon
Model how they could rewrite this sentence using the same structure and literary
devices. You might rewrite the sentence in this way:
Finally, the rooster crows, and the sun rises over the horizon like a ball of fire.
After your students rewrite their sentences, you might ask for a few volunteers to
write the mentor text as well as their new sentences on the whiteboard.
Learning to write well takes practice. Mentor texts are an effective way to show your students examples of good writing. When students practice writing by emulating moves that authors make, their writing improves. Make mentor texts a part of your weekly curriculum. Your students will benefit from analyzing examples of effective writing as well as using the text to craft their own sentences. When students are exposed to mentor texts as examples, they become better writers.