This chapter offers examples of students who use mentor texts to inform creation of their own texts. First, a first-grade writer's book about the classes of animals shows the influence of mentor text information and format. Next, we look at a seventh-grade writer in an urban school whose class is reading Witness
by Karen Hesse. Adapting Hesse's format, the students write new vignettes that show how the book enables them to reflect on the racism in their own lives. Finally, this chapter focuses on immigration in two situations: (1) sixth through ninth graders read Amy Lee-Tai's A Place Where Sunflowers Grow
and then study and write about the internment of Japanese Americans by the U.S. government during World War II, and (2) third-grade students read various texts, including Francisco Jiménez's memoir, The Circuit: Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child
, as they study and write about immigration in the U.S. at this time. Together, the journeys of these students demonstrate how the new ideas in mentor texts can influence the insights of writers.
IRA no. 699.09 | doi: 10.1598/0699.09
Hansen, J. (2009). Young Writers Use Mentor Texts. In D.A. Wooten & B.E. Cullinan (Eds.), Children's Literature in the Reading Program (3rd ed., pp. 88-98). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.