Our bookshelves are jammed full with books meant for elementary and middle school teachers. Donald Graves, Nancie Atwell, Georgia Heard, Katie Wood Ray, Ralph Fletcher, the gals at Two Writing Teachers — these are the teachers who have taught us how to teach writing, who continually push us to reconsider what we think we know about the students we teach.
And they are also the teachers who inspire us to acts of translation — taking strategies designed for children and converting them into strategies for our teenagers.
When teachers ask us if it could work the other way around — could they take the strategies we use with our high school students in Writing With Mentors and use them with their younger students — our answer is a resounding YES!
In our next post, we will walk you through the writing process we outline in Writing With Mentors, and show you how each phase can be adapted for work with younger students. But let’s start at the very beginning — at the foundation. We have a few fundamental beliefs about working with mentor texts that transcend grade level, beliefs that apply to any student writer in any classroom context: