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Organizing Writing Mentor Texts

If you read my recent post about my closet, you are probably surprised that I would title any future post with the word “Organizing”. My closet is, of course, an embarrassment I have recently shared with the world, but in general, I’m pretty good at creating organized systems. One of these I just started this year is our writing mentor texts library.

Not all of these books are writing mentor texts but about half of them are!

It’s working for us, so I thought it might be the perfect idea to link up with Primary Powers’ Organization Blog Hop!


As a Literacy Coach, I help teachers plan for writing. Sometimes, we are desperate for another kind of writing model text for a specific skill or strategy, and we are stumped! To help us plan effectively, I started ordering books based on specific traits. You can find one of the lists I used here at Empowering Writers. 
After the books came in, I set to organizing them. I wrote a specific characteristic of writing on each index card and made piles of books. 

From there, I divided them up into baskets and put them on specifically designated shelves:

 I labeled each basket with the writing skill or strategy that the books were great models of. Some of these are great beginnings, great endings, character development, sensory description with the five senses.

Of course, Patricia Polacco gets her own baskets, as do these other great mentor authors: among them, Tomie dePaola, Cynthia Rylant, Gail Gibbons, and more.

To help us use the books well for planning, I made little stickers that go on the inside cover of each book. The image and label on the sticker correlates with the basket label. I printed the labels on sticker paper.

I cut them into strips to stick inside the books.

Here’s how it works. This basket is labeled “Generating Ideas for Writing.” In it, I also include books about the idea of writing, like “Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street” and “What Do Writers Do?”
This book, Little Red Writing Hood, tells a story of a pencil character writing a story. It blends Little Red Writing Hood with writing tips. 

 On the inside cover, I include notes: just some ideas about how to use the book to teach writing strategy.

Throughout the book, the tips about writing are interwoven with the story. I used post-its to mark pages where there were writing tips, strategies, or potential for teaching. 

It’s still a burgeoning system, and we’re adding to our library a little at a time, but it’s a start! Want a freebie to get started? Grab the basket and book labels for free! 


Check out our other organization tips by hopping to the next post – Mrs. Richardson’s Class, and learn all about organizing guided reading groups! 

Mrs. Richardson's Class

Or, if you’d rather, start at the beginning of the hop and check out all the great organization tips!
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