Mentor Texts

One of the most powerful writing/language arts components of the MPS Comprehensive Literacy Plan (CLP) is the robust use of mentor texts across all grade levels. A mentor text is a piece of writing (book, article, pamphlet, caption, etc.) used to exemplify a specific aspect of writers’ craft. Mentor texts are used during both whole and small group instruction. Teachers purposefully select and intentionally read aloud from mentor texts to guide student as they work to apply similar writing techniques. Through repetitive use, selected mentor texts become extremely familiar to students. They come to recognize, understand, and mimic a variety of literary techniques authors employed in various pieces. Later in the instructional process teachers can suggest a range of mentor texts to study and learn from—always with the goal of applying recognized techniques to enhance the quality of their writing. After learning from teachers’ think aloud strategies, students will eventually share in the selection of mentor texts as they become more sophisticated consumers of the elements of authors’ craft. The ultimate goal of the use of mentor texts is for students to take what they have learned from a variety of authors and apply these practices as they continue to develop their own writing styles.

There are three types of mentor texts: anchor texts, text sets, and touchstone texts. An anchor text is a reliable piece of quality writing introduced to the whole class to exemplify specific elements of writers’ craft. Text sets are collections of texts grouped together because they have some element of writers’ craft in common. Touchstone texts are those texts that grade-level or common-course teachers agree to use during whole group instruction, so that every student is “touched” by the experience. Teachers in each grade level or course make local decisions based on their students’ needs. By the end of a student’s K-12 education he or she will harvest a healthy array of mentor texts that contribute to his or her textual lineage (Tatum, 2009).


Texts that teach children.

Folksonomies: reading education

/art and entertainment/books and literature (0.426979)
/family and parenting/children (0.359866)
/education/teaching and classroom resources/lesson plans (0.345796)

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MPS:Organization (0.813539 (positive:0.694811)), Tatum:Person (0.705801 (neutral:0.000000))

Writing (0.970854): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Education (0.713654): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Writer (0.631273): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Educational stages (0.604610): dbpedia | yago
Educational years (0.517251): dbpedia
Writer's voice (0.516881): dbpedia | freebase
Teacher (0.504768): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
The Elements (0.495362): dbpedia

 Mentor Texts
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Milwaukee Public Schools, (unknown), Mentor Texts, Retrieved on 2014-03-16
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: education reading texts