12 Apr Slice of Life: Studying Mentor Texts
I think what you are describing is a touchstone text not a mentor text. I see mentor texts differently.
I pause to consider.
A mentor text is something you return to again and again. You truly study a mentor text. It is an additional teacher in the room.
“Mentor texts are pieces of literature that we return to again and again as we help our young writers learn how to do what they may not yet be able to do on their own. It offers myriad possibilities for our students and for ourselves as writers. And we, as teachers of writing, will never be alone again if we have mentor texts stored in our classrooms. Writers can imitate the mentor text and continue to find new ways to grow.”
I have been confusing mentor texts and touchstone texts. Do I have a mentor text? What text have I returned to again and again?
This question continued to nag me. I looked through picture books, short texts, and professional books. Everything was more of a touchstone text. Then I noticed a pattern in some of Lynne Dorfman’s comments to me on my blog – there she was pushing my thinking again! She noticed a pattern to my structure. I pattern I was not even fully aware of:
Then it hit me! I know my mentor text. I know where I studied how to make a connection between life and the work we do as educators. I think about it all the time. It was a structure I loved from the moment I read it and I think it is just in me.
Now that I finally connected my mentor text with my process the difference between a touchstone and a mentor text has become crystal clear! I knew what I needed and just where to find it! Carrie Gelson – a poem she wrote in February. I had printed this poem as soon as I read it. Poetry was a goal for me during the March Slice of Life Challenge. I realize now that her writing inspired this poem and this narrative. I love the mood and tone Carrie creates in her writing. It is calming and propelling at the same time. I have been rereading this poem all month, but I didn’t realize it had been a mentor for me.
In April, we are celebrating poetry. Poetry Friday is a part of our celebration. We have not written a lot of poetry – so this is a true stretch for us. Here are the mentor texts we are using in addition to Carrie’s poem:
We look forward to playing with poetry and reflecting on the process of using mentor texts to
“…slow down the process and help students become
aware of the hows and whys of writing. It provides an
opportunity for students to play or experiment as writers.”
Mentor Texts, Dorfman and Cappelli