Why Use Mentor Texts?

Sep 15, 2009 by

  • Mentor texts help students envision possibilities for their own writing.
  • They provide a model of what good writing looks like.
  • Use of mentor texts is consistent with Vygotsky’s Zones of Development and with the Optimal Learning Model (gradual release of responsibility).
  • They help students grow as writers by giving them something to emulate.
  • Exposure to mentor texts encourages students to take risks in their writing, to try something new.
  • Mentor texts inspire and ignite writers.
  • Mentor texts help us “show” not just “tell” our students what good writing looks like.
  • This is how  real writers work—they look to other writers for ideas and ways to craft and structure their writing.  Why not teach children to do what the professionals do?


“With a room full of authors to help us teach, teaching writing

doesn’t have to be so lonely.”

—Katie Wood Ray, Wondrous Words