Ever hear of mentor texts?
I hadn’t until recently though I have learned the term has been used for quite a while in English classes. Obviously, I haven’t been as student for a while. Ha!
I love when a word or phrase rings in your heart, then you see and hear it everywhere. Mentor texts popped up all over and as it turned out, I have been doing this practice and never realized it.
What is a Mentor Text?
A mentor text is a book that a teacher or student reads and rereads many times. A writer collects certain forms of writing that resonates with their style and slowly finds their own voice in writing using mentor texts as models.
A reader mirrors their mentor until they find their true self in that reflection. I copy a certain response, thought, behavior that best illustrates how I deeply want to live and write. I study phrases, primary practices, and words that the mentor exhales and I inhale their wisdom to merge with my unique DNA.
As a writer, new to this phrase, I gathered a small group of books from writers more seasoned than me and that continue to call to my heart as models for me to articulate ideas to the world.
Barbara Brown Taylor. Henri Nouwen. Parker J Palmer. Kathleen Norris.
- How will their words form and inform my words?
- What can I learn from their patterns and practices?
- How do they handle transitions and challenging subjects?
- How do they start and conclude?
- How do I breathe in deeply their echo into my soul?
The Ultimate Mentor
As I started this new adventure, I realized for many years I have been studying a mentor text, the ultimate mentor text – the Bible.
How Jesus lives demonstrates how I want to live. His words and actions shape my own. I copy his patterns and examples. He leads; I follow. My deepest desire is to be more like Jesus.
I ask the same questions:
- How will God’s words form and inform my words?
- What can I learn from Jesus’ patterns and practices?
- How did he handle transitions and challenging subjects?
- How does the story of God start and conclude?
- How do I breathe in deeply this sacred echo into my soul?
Have you used mentor texts? Have you thought of the Bible as a mentor text?
Besides the Word of God, what writers are models for you in your life?