Mentor Texts: Lynne Dorfman—co-director of the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project and co-author of Mentor Texts, Non-fiction Mentor Texts, and Poetry Mentor Texts—defines mentor texts:

Mentor texts are pieces of literature that you—both teacher and student—can return to and reread for many different purposes. They are texts to be studied and imitated...Mentor texts help students to take risks and be different writers tomorrow than they are today. It helps them to try out new strategies and formats. They should be basically books that students can relate to and can even read independently or with some support. And of course, a mentor text doesn't have to be in the form of a book—a mentor text might be a poem, a newspaper article, song lyrics, comic strips, manuals, essays, almost anything."

Resources on Mentor Texts:

This document is for compiling a list of resources, mentor texts, and student writing tasks that can be used in high school English classrooms.  If possible, please include links to texts found online as you fill in the charts below.

Fiction Mentor Texts & Writing Tasks

Nonfiction Mentor Texts & Writing Tasks

FICTION MENTOR TEXTS & STUDENT WRITING TASKS

Fiction Mentor Text

Grade Level

Writing Techniques Addressed

Student Writing Tasks

“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell

9

-Plot

-Action

-Description

Write a scene from a story that focuses on a chase sequence

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

9

-Dialogue

-Characterization

-Verbal Irony

-Suspense

Write a scene that is primarily dialogue in which one character leads another to a revelation.

Prologue Canterbury Tales

12

-Characterization

-Poetry: rhyming couplets, meter

-Satire

Compose 20 line poem, 10 syllables per line, rhyming couplets on a modern person

“The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst

9

-Symbolism

Write a scene from a story that introduces a symbol

NONFICTION MENTOR TEXTS & STUDENT WRITING TASKS

Nonfiction Mentor Text

Grade Level

Writing Techniques Addressed

Student Writing Tasks

Jane Smiley's "The Case Against Chores"

-Argument

Alfie Kohn’s ‘The Case Against Grades”

-Argument

“Heaven and Earth in Jest” Annie Dillard

-Description

Compose descriptions

On Being a Cripple by Nancy Mairs

-Connotation

-Metaphor

MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail

Steve Jobs Commencement Speech at Stanford

9

-Commencement Speech

-Sharing personal story

-Close read for areas of weakness

-Students compose a commencement speech

“The Thirsty Tree: Confronting Invasive Salt Cedar”

-Synthesis of changing views of a tree’s usefulness over time

-Digital text with embedded links

-Explain how views of a topic have changed over time

Essays from the “Debate” section in Scholastic’s Upfront magazine

9-12

-Argument

-Analyze structure of argumentation

-Compose own persuasive essay

“Under Water” by Anne Fadiman

11-12

Narrative Writing

-Pacing

-Voice

-Literary devices

Write about a time you experienced something that left an impression on you long after. How does your understanding of that event change as you grow up?

“Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan

9-10

Personal Narrative/Memoir

Diction

Tone

Description/Imagery

FULL:  Write about a time that describes an event important to your family and/or culture.

SHORT or QUICK WRITE:  Describe a favorite meal by making your readers not want to eat it.

“I want a Wife” by Judy Brady

11-12

 Definition Essay

Write an essay defining a word of significance to you.

Any of the This I Believe Essays

9-12

Theme

See http://thisibelieve.org/guidelines/