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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Mentor texts

April 21, 2010

A mentor text is a published piece of writing whose idea, whose structure, or whose written craft can be used to inspire a student to write something original. The Writing Fix, sponsored by the Northern Nevada Writing Project, is the definitive source for lesson plans and book suggestions that can help teachers choose a mentor text to support their writing lesson plans. Mentor text recommendations include picture books and chapter books.

Mentor text lesson plans are organized around 6 Writing Traits: Idea development, word choice, organization, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions. So, for example, if you have a writer, or a class of writers, whose writing suggests the need for more interesting words (I still remember the "Said is Dead" poster in my classroom), you can browse through the lessons whose focus trait is Word Choice. From there, you can see all the word choice mentor text suggestions, or choose a subskill (e.g., powerful and memorable verbs). You can view ideas shared by teachers (I like the "No Repeat" challenge example) and other resources.

I'm certainly not the first to visit the Writing Fix site — they had over 4 million hits in 2009 — and I know I won't be the last. Let me know if you find and use something from the site!


Our graduate class recently discussed mentor texts, and we are excited to share the Writing Fix website with our class as another resource for finding mentor texts.

I just discovered the Writing Fix site last week. I used a lesson for a book I had and ordered a few more books from the library for future lessons.

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"Books are a uniquely portable magic." —

Stephen King