3 Reasons Why Should Mentor Sentences Be Used in Middle School


Mentor Sentences should be used in Middle School ELA for 3 very good reasons!

If you love grammar, then this post may not be for you.  I am not a grammar lover at.all.  To me, it's something that when taught is about as fun as watching grass grow or paint dry.  So you can imagine that it has been hard for me to teach grammar too.  Until I found Mentor Sentences.

When I say "Mentor Sentences", I am not talking about correcting poorly written sentences. Instead, I am talking about using well-written sentences as models to be emulated.

Why should one study model sentences?  Here are 3 (or 4) very good reasons:

1.  They give concrete examples of what good writing looks like.

I can't tell you how many times I have referred to this writer or that writer as a bastion of good writing.  I get a special feeling when I read these well-written pieces that make me swoon.  But, the students don't always get it.  They think I'm just being a "teacher".  Mentor sentences point out the things that make sentences great.  

2. They are bite-sized chunks that help struggling learners experience success.

With just one sentence to study and one question per day, this is chunking at its finest!  Plus, my students with special needs saw that this was something they could do.  It helped to build their confidence.  

3. They are quick and easy to implement in the classroom as bell-ringers.

Students generally can answer the one question per day in the same amount of time it takes me to submit attendance.  Then it only takes maybe 5 minutes more to go over the answers.  

4.  The students actually began to not only learn about various grammar concepts and writing conventions, but they were learning about topics such as perseverance, the history of the Poinsettia, and more!  It was fun to hear them talk about these topics with interest.

In this way, mentor sentences are actually more than just good models, they caused my students to learn more about the topic of the text as well as various grammar and writing concepts.  

Want to know more about using them in your own classroom and get a freebie to try them out for yourself?  Click here to read that post.

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If you aren't using mentor sentences as part of your bell-ringer routine in your middle school ELA class, then read this to get 3 (or more) reasons why you need to start!