#TCRWP: Day 3 Information Mentor Texts

This week I have been studying Information Writing at Teachers College June 2014 Advanced Writing institute.  It’s something I like but sometimes my own informational writing works and other times it seems to fall into the completely boring column. I believe that many teachers need help to increase both the quality and the volume of information writing across the curriculum and the day for ALL students.


I was quite pleased to attend Alexis Czeterko’s (@AlexisCzeterko ) Closing Workshop “Five Mentor Texts for Information Writing  – and Ways to Use Them with Power” on Wednesday afternoon.  Alexis began with several personal stories including cookbooks and her mother-in-law and a writing elective when she was ten, but you’ll have to check the twitter feed for further details.  (This is not a complete recap of the closing but it will give you the general flavor.)

When we study mentor text, we look for . . .

  • Ideas
  • Structure
  • Elaboration
  • Craft moves
  • Language conventions
 Do you have some favorite informational mentor texts?

The five books that Alexis featured were: 

1.  National Geographic – Great Migrations:  Amazing Animal Journeys


2. Surprising Sharks  by  Nicola Davies and illustrated by James Croft


3. No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young


4. The Split History of the American Revolution 


5. Elephants  by Steve Bloom


Are you currently using any of these books as mentor informational texts?
What are your top five?


15 responses

  1. Hi Fran, Thank you for sharing this! Wish I could be there, but I am going to a different institute. I am so glad that you posted this, it is timely for me as I am leading a collegial circle next week on Info writing – I am going to check all the tweets and I am pulling those books and putting them on the top of my piles of informational mentor texts! I have been using a lot of articles, but my favorites include Oh Rats! By Albert Marrin, and of course anything Seymour Simon and Gail Gibbons. I especially enjoy looking across texts from different authors on the same topic and looking at the techniques they used in their writing.

    1. Thanks, Amy! I also use Oh Rats and anything by Seymour Simon as well. I agree that looking across texts from different authors and even across multiple texts by the same author is a great way to check out the author’s craft moves.

      Thanks for your reply!

  2. Hi Fran! Thanks for this recap — so helpful. We love Oh Look! and the National Geographic Series you shared. We want to check out No Monkeys! No Chocolate!
    Clare and Tammy

    1. Clare and Tammy,
      I have several Melissa Stewart books but not that one! So exciting to share favorite books – long list for Bank Street Books today!
      Thank you for commenting!

  3. […] This week I have been studying Information Writing at Teachers College June 2014 Advanced Writing institute. It's something I like but sometimes my own informational writing works and other times …  […]

  4. Great stuff. I’m off to Amazon. Thanks for this!

    1. Julieanne,
      Nice selection of texts (and not all about animals), even though we know that we often have ot start with really easy texts! (especially when our goal is student independence!

  5. Hi Fran,
    Thank you for your recap- Reading the tweets is the next best thing to being at the workshops! I just registered for an informational text workshop at Rutgers in July with Seymour Simon! I am a huge fan of anything within DK Readers, Steve Jenkins– We paired an author study with our non-fiction this past year and the kids went crazy for Steve Jenkins!- Gail Gibbons is always a go-to, but I loved using everyday non-fiction as well. We explored using Magazines (our Wegman’s summer recipe book and Martha Stewart’s June issue were big hits!) as well as Instructions from games and furniture. Scholastic has wonderful resources and it was inspiring to see what the students chose for their writing pieces! Thanks again!

    1. Mary,
      There is so much quality informational text in the world and it’s so fun to talk “craft” when considering what the attributes for “quality” really are. Many students gravitate toward the texts with real pictures but it is also nice to have a variety.

      You will have a great workshop with Seymour Simon. He’s a treasure!

  6. Reblogged this on Mrs. Jennifer Cimini, M.Ed. and commented:
    Mentor Text for Writing Workshop Informational Writing

  7. […] are the five books that I shared as a result of Alexis Czeterko’s (@AlexisCzeterko ) Closing Workshop “Five Mentor Texts for Information Writing….  The variety is incredible and seems to renew teachers’ interest in quality informational […]

  8. […] knew we had to order this text after we read Fran McVeigh’s blog post about the workshop she attended at Teachers College titled – “Five Mentor Texts for […]

  9. […] #TCRWP Day 3:  Information Mentor Texts (based on Alexis Czeterko’s (@AlexisCzeterko ) Closing Workshop “Five Mentor Texts for Information Writing  – and Ways to Use Them with Power”) […]

  10. […] Previously I’ve written about mentor texts here, here, here, here, and here. […]

  11. […] #TCRWP Writing here, here, here, here, and […]

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