What are Mentor Texts?
Mentor texts, also called anchor texts, are books that you can use as an example when teaching a writing lesson. Author Ralph Fletcher (Mentor Author, Mentor Texts, 2011 and Joy Write, 2017 among his many titles) writes that mentor texts are “…any texts that you can learn from, and every writer, no matter how skilled you are or how beginning you are, encounters and reads something that can lift and inform and infuse their own writing. I’d say anything that you can learn from – not by talking about but just looking at the actual writing itself, being used in a really skillful, powerful way.”
Some other great Web resources on Mentor Texts: Teach Mentor Texts and Learning at the Primary Pond, specifically her blog post on tips for using mentor texts with primary grades. The National Council of Teachers of English as a great blog post about teaching mentor texts for argument writing. NCTE often has chats about using mentor texts and mentor text categories – on Twitter, search #NCTEchat
At HBS, teachers Kelli Novak, Mike Larrabee, and Shawne McCord put together a resource that lists mentor texts in the areas of Narrative, Research, Informational, and Poetry. The books listed in this document are all available in the HBS Library. The library catalogue has also been updated to include mentor text search words found in the catalogue.
An example: you would like to find a mentor text for examples of similes, type in “mentor text simile” in the catalogue and you will receive five excellent titles, available in the library, for use in your teaching. This document can be added to by other faculty and the library will continue to add mentor text search terms to make it easier to find these books.