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Mentor Texts Lessons: Inspired by Chapter Book Excerpts... A WritingFix Teacher Workshop
inspiring students to write like their favorite chapter book authors
"This class helped me realize that I often ask my kids to write without talking enough about what real writers do. Today's popular chapter books are a great way to get those kinds of conversations going." (Dave A., middle school teacher)
WritingFix has lessons posted that are based on many more titles than what you find on this page. Click here to access our entire online bibliography.

How did this page of free lessons come about? In 2006, WritingFix received a generous grant that helped begin the very popular lesson collection you will find on this page. The generous $25,000 AT&T Grant, acquired with the help of the Washoe Education Foundation, allowed us to design and host a very different kind of inservice class for 100 Northern Nevada teachers, and that inservice made possible this page.

Members of the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Technology Team created and demonstrated seven brand new chapter book lessons to the first 100 teachers who signed up; they then gave away 100 copies of each of the chapter books so that class participants could teach any of the lessons back in their classrooms. At the inservice's end, each of the 100 participants brought in a different chapter book excerpt to share, and each wrote a brief proposal for a 6-trait lesson inspired by their books. The best of those proposals became the lessons you can find on this page.

Our Chapter Books Inservice continues in Northern Nevada. Each year, the NNWP offers a variation of the original 2006 Chapter Book inservice. Instead of giving away chapter books (since the grant is exhausted), we give to all class participants a copy of the NNWP's awesome print resource--The Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide (pictured at right). Our chapter book inservice remains highly popular, and each year we try to add up to four new lessons here from the most recent class's participants.

"I have now taken this [chapter book] inservice class twice, and I can't tell you what a delight it is to learn from presenters who show such a passion talking about well-written young adult literature. You've taught me to think about my favorite read-alouds with a writing teacher's eye. It's a wonderful gift!" (Kelli C., middle school teacher)

"After taking this workshop, I was inspired to design two writing lessons based on my two favorite read-alouds. I just finished teaching my lesson based on one of The Great Brain books [by John D. Fitzgerald], and it inspired some of the best writing I've ever received from my students. Thanks for inspiring me to inspire them!" (Debi S., elementary teacher)

Student samples being sought. Please enjoy the free-to-use lessons below from WritingFix, and please share them with your colleagues. If you notice we're missing a student sample of a certain grade level, contact us. We send a free copy of one of the NNWP's Print Resources to teachers who send us samples we can post at each of the lessons.

Propose your own Chapter Book Lesson! Join our WritingFix Family! Earn a classroom resource from the NNWP! If you like the lessons we've shared below, here's a challenge: share back with us! Propose your own chapter book-inspired lesson to be posted at WritingFix! Below is the template for chapter book lessons we use in our chapter book inservice workshop. If we end up using your lesson at WritingFix, we will send you any two of the NNWP's Print Resources as our way of saying thank-you for sharing your ideas with the thousands of teachers who use this website.

Classifying Mentor Texts:

NNWP Consultant and Trainer Corbett Harrison shares his twelve-slide PowerPoint Presentation on how he classifies his mentor texts into three categories. Click here to access this resource from his trainings.

You can visit Corbett's website to find out what trainings he is currently offering.

For which books does this website feature lessons?


Click here to access this online resource.

On the NNWP's bookshelf:

For Which Trait are you Seeking a Lesson?

Our 6 Most Popular Chapter Book-inspired Idea Development Lessons

Lesson: You're on a Gigantic Roll...

Mentor Text: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Focus Trait: Idea Development
Support Trait: Word Choice

Lesson: Writing About Life's Lessons

Mentor Text: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Focus Trait: Idea Development
Support Trait: Organization

Lesson: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Mentor Text: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Focus Trait: Idea Development
Support Trait: Word Choice

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

Lesson: Episodic Writing

Mentor Text: Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

Focus Trait: Idea Development
Support Trait: Organization

 

Lesson: What Your Room Says About You

Mentor Text: Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

Focus Trait: Idea Development
Support Trait: Organization

 

Lesson: Borrowing Mr. Fletcher's Skills

Mentor Text: Marshfield Dreams by Ralph Fletcher

Focus Trait: Idea Development
Support Trait: Voice

 

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

More for Idea Development

Focus on Idea Development!

Visit WritingFix's Idea Development Homepage for dozens more lessons, prompts, and resources that focus on this very important writing trait.

We also have additional chapter book lessons stored at our Poetry Lesson Collection.

More idea development-focused chapter book lessons:

Music as a Mentor Text!

Visit WritingFix's iPods Across the Curriculum Homepage for trait-inspired lessons specifically inspired by lyrics and podcasts.

     
Back to the top of the page
Our 6 Most Popular Chapter Book-inspired Organization Lessons

Lesson: Build an Adventure

Mentor Text: Any of the Choose Your Own Adventure Series by R. A. Montgomery

Focus Trait: Organization
Support Trait: Sentence Fluency

 

Lesson: Show What Your Mind Sees

Mentor Text: The Twits by Roald Dahl

Focus Trait: Organization
Support Trait: Sentence Fluency

Lesson: Adventurous Magic

Mentor Text: Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

Focus Trait: Organization
Support Trait: Idea Development

 

 

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

Lesson: Leads for a Most Embarrassing Moment

Mentor Text: The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Focus Trait: Organization
Support Trait: Idea Development

 

Lesson: A Magical Animal Encounter

Mentor Text: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Focus Trait: Organization
Support Trait: Idea Development

 

 

Lesson: Counting Up/Down Stories

Mentor Text: Wringer by Jerry Spinelli

Focus Trait: Organization
Support Trait: Idea Development

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

More for Organization

Focus on Organization!

Visit WritingFix's Organization Homepage for dozens more lessons, prompts, and resources that focus on this very important writing trait.

We also have more chapter book lessons at our Poetry Lesson Collection.

More organization-focused chapter book lessons:

Music as a Mentor Text!

Visit WritingFix's iPods Across the Curriculum Homepage for trait-inspired lessons specifically inspired by lyrics and podcasts.

     
Back to the top of the page
Our 6 Most Popular Chapter Book-inspired Voice Lessons

Lesson: "Knot" the Whole Truth

Mentor Text: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Focus Trait: Voice
Support Trait: Word Choice

Lesson: A Character's Decalogue

Mentor Text: Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Focus Trait: Voice
Support Trait: Organization

Lesson: Creating a School Survival Guide

Lesson's Mentor Text: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

Focus Trait: Voice
Support Trait: Idea Development

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

Lesson: The Sum of Its Parts

Mentor Text: Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Focus Trait: Voice
Support Trait: Idea Development

 

Lesson: Historical Journal Entries

Mentor Text: Pedro's Journal: A Journey with Christopher Columbus by Pam Conrad

Focus Trait: Voice
Support Trait: Idea Development

 

Lesson: Giving Credit Where Credit Might Be Due

Mentor Text: Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin as Told by his Good Mouse Amos by Robert Lawson

Focus Trait: Voice
Support Trait: Organization

 

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

More for Voice

Focus on Voice!

Visit WritingFix's Voice Homepage for dozens more lessons, prompts, and resources that focus on this very important writing trait.

We also have more chapter book lessons at our Poetry Lesson Collection.

More voice-focused chapter book lessons:

Music as a Mentor Text!

Visit WritingFix's iPods Across the Curriculum Homepage for trait-inspired lessons specifically inspired by lyrics and podcasts.

     
Back to the top of the page
Our 6 Most Popular Chapter Book-inspired Word Choice Lessons

Lesson: Let Me Show You Nature

Mentor Text: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Focus Trait: Word Choice
Support Trait: Sentence Fluency

Lesson: A Moment Like This Memoir

Mentor Text: Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Focus Trait: Word Choice
Support Trait: Idea Development

Lesson: Prose Poetry

Mentor Text: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Focus Trait: Word Choice
Support Trait: Voice

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

Lesson: Make 'em Laugh or Cry or...

Mentor Text: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Focus Trait: Word Choice
Support Trait: Voice

 

Lesson: Your Own Faraway Place

Mentor Text: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Focus Trait: Word Choice Support Trait: Voice

Lesson: Writing Like an Artist Paints

Lesson's Mentor Text: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Focus Trait: Word Choice
Support Trait: Idea Development

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

More for Word Choice

Focus on Word Choice!

Visit WritingFix's Word Choice Homepage for dozens more lessons, prompts, and resources that focus on this very important writing trait.

We also have more chapter book lessons at our Poetry Lesson Collection.

More word choice-focused chapter book lessons:

Music as a Mentor Text!

Visit WritingFix's iPods Across the Curriculum Homepage for trait-inspired lessons specifically inspired by lyrics and podcasts.

     
Back to the top of the page
Our 2 Most Popular Chapter Book-inspired Sentence Fluency Lessons

Lesson: A Hurricane Blowing In

Mentor Text: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Focus Trait: Sentence Fluency
Support Trait: Word Choice

Lesson: Moving through the Machine

Mentor Text: Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Focus Trait: Sentence Fluency
Support Trait: Organization

Focus on Sentence Fluency!

Visit WritingFix's Sentence Fluency Homepage for dozens more lessons, prompts, and resources that focus on this very important writing trait.

We also have more chapter book lessons at our Poetry Lesson Collection.

Click on the lesson's title or the book thumbnail to read an overview and to access the entire lesson and its resources, including student samples and graphic organizers.

Back to the top of the page


Our 3 Most Popular Chapter Book-inspired Conventions Lessons

Lesson: Inventing a New Word

Mentor Text: Frindle by Andrew Clements

Focus Trait: Conventions
Support Trait: Word Choice

Lesson: Puns an Punctuation

Mentor Text: Any of the Tom Swift Adventure Series by Victor Appleton

Focus Trait: Conventions
Support Trait: Word Choice

Lesson: "Lawd! Lawd! Lawd!"

Mentor Text: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Focus Trait: Conventions
Support Trait: Idea Development


More for Conventions

Focus on Conventions!

Visit WritingFix's Conventions Homepage for more lessons, prompts, and resources that focus on this very important writing trait.

We also have more chapter book lessons at our Poetry Lesson Collection.

 

Music as a Mentor Text!

Visit WritingFix's iPods Across the Curriculum Homepage for trait-inspired lessons specifically inspired by lyrics and podcasts.

     
Back the top of the page

© Copyright 2015 - WritingFix- All Rights Reserved.
Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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