Take Back Your Time With Mentor Texts - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Take Back Your Time With Mentor Texts

Time is precious. There is NEVER enough of it!! 

But, what if there was a way you could take back some of that time? Would you take it?

I have your answer!

Before we dive in, let's talk about what a mentor text IS and what it IS NOT.

A mentor text is a picture book (fiction or nonfiction), a chapter from a novel, an article, a song, or a poem. This text serves as a model to inspire students to practice a skill. In reading, students will watch and listen to you model a comprehension skill in order to understand how to do it on their own. In writing, students will be inspired to write similarly to the mentor text. In grammar, students will notice all of the "good" in a sentence from the text (called a mentor sentence), and then learn how to incorporate it into their own writing. There is a lot of imitation that occurs with a mentor text; students will impersonate techniques from the texts you present across the subjects.

Mentor texts will give teachers back some of the precious teaching time they need as one text can be used to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and more! Sign up for a free one week email course to get everything you need to maximize your teaching time with mentor texts.A mentor text is not simply a read-aloud. Although mentor texts should be read for enjoyment FIRST, that is not its only purpose. It is not an entire novel either. You can absolutely model skills from a chapter book, but a mentor text should be shorter in length so that it can be referred to throughout a week (or two or three!) for different skills.

A MAGNIFICENT MENTOR TEXT can be used for several weeks for MANY skills. In reading, a magnificent mentor text will provide opportunities for a few (if not all) of the following: monitoring, summarizing, questioning, inferring, determining importance, questioning, visualizing, and synthesizing... to name a few. In writing and grammar, a magnificent mentor text will provide opportunities for students to imitate the ideas, structure, AND craft that the author presents in the text. And to top it off, a magnificent mentor text will be enjoyable to read, and one you will want to return to over and over!

And, if you REALLY want to get the most bang for your buck: grab a nonfiction, historical fiction, or science fiction book to integrate your social studies and science content! (OR even math literature!)

We know, as teachers, that using literature is an excellent way to introduce a lesson, but starting EVERY lesson with a new text makes it awfully difficult to keep those mini-lessons MINI! One of the best parts of using a mentor text is that it gives you more time to TEACH. Once you've read the book one time, you only need to re-read or refer to parts of it for your whole group mini-lessons. (Small group/guided reading should use books on their level!)

In reading, one way to lead your lesson is to use a graphic organizer. It will help guide their thinking, and it allows for an "I Do, We Do, You Do" lesson- start the graphic organizer with them, then they can help suggest something to add to it, and finally they can finish it on their own. Of course, then they'll also be able to use that graphic organizer with their own book, or in guided reading, to show their thinking!

Use mentor texts for grammar through the use of mentor sentences. For 10-15 minutes each day at the start of writing time, look at a mentor sentence that was taken from the mentor text you are reading that week. Students notice all the wonderful things about it, figure out patterns in parts of speech, revise the sentence, and imitate the author in our writing- all over the course of the week. And of course, in writing, students will impersonate the ideas, structure and/or craft of a mentor text through your modeling and lessons. 

Does this sound like an amazing solution, but you're thinking, well, Jivey, you just told me WHAT to do, but you haven't told me HOW to do it! I've got you covered!! Sign up below for a FREE 7-day course and get all you'll need to integrate reading, writing, and grammar!

In this FREE course, you'll receive a week of activities to download; emails each day with lessons for reading, grammar, and writing; and encouragement, suggestions, tips, and reminders. I want to help you take back your time!

Select your grade level below to get comprehensive lessons just for you and your class!

***PLEASE NOTE, using a personal email when signing up rather than using a school email will ensure that emails are delivered. Many school accounts are intercepting some of these!***
Mentor Texts 1st and 2nd Grade Mentor Texts 3rd 4th and 5th Grade Image Map

You will get an email right away with the outline for the week and the activities. Then, over the course of the next week, you will get an email each day with explicit lessons, explanations, reminders, and suggestions for the next day's ELA activities. If you'd like to complete the activities over the course of that week, you can! Or, you can "save" all of the emails and implement them another week if it doesn't work right away for your schedule. 

Lessons, activities, explanations, and support... did I mention FREE? What are you waiting for? Click on your grade level! 


  1. I am so excited about your week long lessons. I signed up for both grade level lessons since I teach all grade levels as an instructional specialist at my school. I have only received day 2 and day 3 this week... I did not receive the intro email to explain the week or day 1 or day 4... I'd love to have them all... I appreciate all you do. Thank you.

    1. I am so glad you're excited! I am sorry about the emil problems. It is very strange, I've had a few others say the same about not getting one email. Make sure to add jivey@ideasbyjivey.com to your contacts to help anything from being intercepted, and also email me at that address so I can send you the ones you need!

  2. Since school was out at the time I recieved the lessons, I was unable to "try them with students." However, I completely LOVE the unit. I have previously bought paired texts and enjoy them. I plan on purchasing sets for mentor sentences and texts for next year since I will be teaching Writing! Thank you for all your hard work, to make my work less stressful!

    1. I'm so glad you love it!! Enjoy! Thank you for the fantastic feedback!

  3. I have used many of your products successfully in my classroom and really look forward to your Mentor Text course. I truly love using short books with my 5th graders so that we can simply enjoy reading it for fun on our first read through. I can then refer back to it during successive lessons. The students will remember the texts weeks and even months later to refer back to themselves. I am very intrigued by the idea of selecting mentor sentences from these books for students to use.


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