“A mentor text is a written piece used in education as an example of quality writing used by an individual to illustrate a genre or text.” (ehow.com/about_5324946_mentor_text.html (2016)
Artists use other paintings and drawings to learn techniques. Teachers follow other teachers around to learn their styles. People use models of like material or models that represent something that they want to create. Writers in and out of the classroom are no different, they need inspiration, a good model or just an idea so that they can make their improve their manuscript
I spent a lot of time looking at webinars to find the best approach and presentation. However, I noted that in one of my presentations, it wasn’t very good and needed to understand the problem. People who use mentor text in a similar method in order to help them correct a problem that they may be having with their manuscript. I know that when I have attended trainings in the past most of the presenters encourage people to underline or take notes as they read a book. I know that I have done that! I have found a passage or way the author has written a scene and wrote down my interpretation of the author’s style. I DO NOT COPY IT!
Copying a style of writing, it is just copying. When you see how a writer has written a manuscript in a genre or trying to find a good rhyme, it is good to take notes and use it for future or current manuscripts. Ralph Fletcher encourages the use of mentor texts in his books, when teaching during writing workshop. Reading for research is a month long “challenge” to read various types of mentor texts and blog posts on all different kinds of genre and techniques. I didn’t really get into this year, but I will be going through it on my own at a leisurely pace. What I really want to do is include the technology so that I can save my notes, the books and keep it handy for curriculum materials.
In the next coming months, I will be developing curriculum materials with one eye on educational technology and the other eye on working a skill or technique into a writing lesson.