Using Students’ Writing as Mentor Texts

"When we value kids’ writing enough to use it to teach other kids, all kids grow into stronger writers. Thanks, Lisa, for writing this important book. I needed it, teachers need it, and the field needs it."
—Stephanie Harvey

“If students know we believe in them, that the content of their writing matters, more kids will take a risk and try some new things—even if they don’t know how to spell all the words or punctuate all the sentences correctly.”
—Lisa Eickholt

Let’s face it: Mentor texts are fantastic, but children’s literature is the perfect product of adult authors. When we work students’ writing into the mentor-text mix, amazing things happen—especially for struggling writers.

“I have spent my career working with kids who hate to write,” writes Lisa Eickholdt, “when we use our students’ writing as a mentor text, we are helping them identify themselves as someone who writes.” In Learning from Classmates, Lisa shows you how this simple but powerful idea can help you:

  • deepen your students’ engagement during writing time
  • build their writing identities
  • give them the willingness to take the risks necessary for making progress.

“Time and again,” Lisa writes, “I’ve watched reluctant and unenthusiastic writers become more eager and willing after their writing was used as a model for other students.” The need is great, so her book helps you integrate student writing as mentor texts right away with suggestions for how to:

  • select student writing to share with the class
  • assess your writers and match student writing to individual, small-group, and whole-class needs
  • use student work in writing conferences and minilessons
  • plan power-teaching moves that target writers’ needs and build their writing identities.

Read Learning from Classmates to discover how your writers grow when they see what their peers can do and say, “I can do that, too!”


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