We loved seeing so many of our Twitter and blog friends at NCTE this weekend! Yesterday, during our presentation about technique-driven studies, two of the big questions that emerged were: Where do you find mentor texts? How do you select them?
To select mentor texts, we begin by visiting our usual haunts (listed below). We look for current, hot-off-the-presses writing that will engage our students and connect them with the writing real writers are doing right now. We also look for pieces that are excellently crafted, and easily digestible (sometimes we pull excerpts of longer pieces to meet this criterion). If we can find a text that teaches more than one element of craft—texts that do double or triple duty—all the better. Below we’ve listed a few of our favorite go-to places.
- The A.V. Club – great for reviews & pop culture analysis
- Grantland – sports/pop culture analysis & news
- FiveThirtyEight – raw data, infographics & visuals
- Vulture – pop culture analysis & reviews
- The New Yorker – news, longer analysis, feature articles, narrative writing, cartoons
On the drive home from NCTE, we pulled up our Twitter feeds for each of these sites and searched for a few mentor texts that anyone can use in class tomorrow—texts that can be used to teach myriad skills in myriad genres. Below we’ve listed some of these possibilities: Continue reading