Oral Mentor Texts (Print eBook Bundle) by Connie Dierking, Sherra
Oral Mentor Texts (Print eBook Bundle)
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Oral Mentor Texts (Print eBook Bundle)

A Powerful Tool for Teaching Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

“Class stories are valuable, free resources for integrating curriculum, aligning your teaching with standards, and meeting the needs of your particular students.”
—Connie Dierking and Sherra Jones

  1. Write the story of a shared event from your classroom, embedding instructional moments. 
  2. Share with students to tell, tell, and retell. 
  3. Now combine with your lesson plan and watch a simple story become one of your best teaching tools.

That’s the power of oral mentor texts!

Oral Mentor Texts shows you this simple, effective new way to teach, reinforce, and practice skills and strategies...

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Full Description

“Class stories are valuable, free resources for integrating curriculum, aligning your teaching with standards, and meeting the needs of your particular students.”
—Connie Dierking and Sherra Jones

  1. Write the story of a shared event from your classroom, embedding instructional moments. 
  2. Share with students to tell, tell, and retell. 
  3. Now combine with your lesson plan and watch a simple story become one of your best teaching tools.

That’s the power of oral mentor texts!

Oral Mentor Texts shows you this simple, effective new way to teach, reinforce, and practice skills and strategies with all your students. These teacher-created stories support a wide range of literacy goals as you: harness the power of oral language to enrich comprehension help writers internalize narrative structures and craft elements support English learners and struggling readers and writers meet literacy standards, including speaking and listening.

Oral mentor texts are a great idea, and Connie Dierking and Sherra Jones make them easy to weave into your teaching with: suggestions for whole-group, small-group, and individual instruction lesson ideas for teaching 34 key literacy skills ways oral mentor texts can turn non-instructional time into teaching time.

Read Oral Mentor Texts and give your students a story they’ll remember every time they open a book or pick up a pen.

Contents

Introduction: Not Just Stories, but Oral Mentor Texts

  • What Do We Mean by Oral Mentor Texts?
  • But How Can I Fit It In?
  • How to Use This Book

Chapter 1. Why Oral Mentor Texts?

  • The Gasp Heard ’Round the Media Center: The Thirty Million Word Gap
  • Teaching Oral Language Skills Explicitly
  • The Importance of Retelling
  • Going About It
  • Oral Mentor Texts Throughout the Year
  • Common Core State Standards Supported
  • Supporting English Language Learners

Chapter 2. Choosing and Building a Class Story

  • Laying the Groundwork: Sharing Stories from Our Lives
  • Choosing or Orchestrating a Shared Experience
  • Building the Story
  • Identifying the Standards
  • List the Reading, Writing, Language, and/or Speaking and Listening Skills You Will Teach for the Month (or Unit of Study)
  • Highlight the Skills You Want to Include in Your Shared Class Narrative
  • Expanding Class Stories Throughout the Year

Chapter 3. Learning and Practicing the Class Story

  • Structures for Learning a Class Story
  • Echo Telling
  • Adding Symbols
  • Using Gestures
  • Choral Telling
  • Structures for Practicing a Class Story
  • Get Good at Telling One Sentence/Incident
  • Tell It in a Circle
  • Use Popcorn Telling
  • Tell It Like a Book
  • Tell It to a Partner
  • Tell It to an Audience
  • An Example of Effective Feedback
  • Celebrating the Class Story
  • Making the Home Connection

Chapter 4. Using Oral Mentor Texts to Teach Writing

  • Oral Class Stories Help Writers Find and Write Stories
  • Oral Class Stories Support Whole-Group Writing Instruction
  • Oral Class Stories Support One-to-One Writing Instruction
  • Oral Class Stories Teach Writing Craft
  • Strong Leads
  • Strong Endings
  • Dialogue
  • Story Language
  • Speaker Tags
  • Adjectives
  • Varied Sentence Structures
  • Precise Verbs
  • English Grammar and Usage
  • Rich Vocabulary
  • Elaboration
  • Similes/Metaphors
  • Alliteration
  • Repeating Lines
  • Temporal Words
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Magic Three
  • Slowing Down a Moment
  • Ellipses
  • Inserting a Poem/Song
  • Inserting a Fact
  • Inserting a How-To Box
  • Inserting a Persuasive Letter
  • Oral Class Stories in Whole-Class Writing Lessons
  • Writing Minilessons
  • Oral Class Stories Support Conferences with Writers
  • Conference 1
  • Conference 2
  • Oral Class Stories Provide Additional Practice in Writing Centers

Chapter 5. Using Oral Mentor Texts to Teach Reading

  • Retelling
  • Developing Vocabulary
  • Paying Attention to Punctuation
  • Finding and Using Text-Based Evidence
  • Visualizing
  • Identifying the Beginning, Middle, and End
  • Summarizing
  • Identifying Story Elements
  • Identifying Character Traits
  • Describing Internal and External Character Traits
  • Understanding That Characters Grow and Change
  • Comparing and Contrasting Characters
  • Inferring
  • Oral Class Stories in Whole-Class Reading Lessons
  • Reading Minilessons
  • Using Class Stories in Literacy Centers

Chapter 6. Partnership and Individual Oral Stories

  • Oral Partnership Stories
  • Oral Partnership Minilessons
  • Individual Stories

Conclusion: Class Stories and Beyond

Appendices
A:
Story Recording Sheet Template
B: Partnership Rubric for Finding and Building an Oral Story
C: Story Recording Sheet Example
D: Partnership Rubric for Practicing an Oral Story
E: Individual Rubric for Finding and Building an Oral Story
F: Individual Rubric for Practicing an Oral Story
G: Individual Rubric for Presenting an Oral Story

In Depth

What Do We Mean by Oral Mentor Texts?

Of course, there are myriad wonderful ways to use oral storytelling in the classroom. We want to make clear the distinctions between the method we propose—using a teacher-crafted story of a shared class experience as a mentor text—and the many other kinds of storytelling. Teachers often think of storytelling as simply retelling a story that was either read aloud or read independently. This kind of storytelling might include dramatization of the story. Story retelling helps teachers determine whether students can grasp the main idea of a story and describe the main events. In other cases, storytelling can mean asking students to retell a family story, the kind of story that can be passed down from generation to generation. With our method of storytelling, a teacher-written shared classroom experience resembles a family story so that it speaks to a student’s own experience. The difference, however, besides being the story of a shared class experience, is that we build the story so that it is repeated the same way across retellings.

While students do perform the class oral story, the story is teacher-composed, based on a shared class experience, and stocked with specific skills and craft moves that will support students in their current reading and writing work. Our stories are literally designed to be oral mentor texts. Built deliberately by the teacher, the stories teach, reinforce, and practice identified skills and strategies. Once practiced and performed, students internalize the story so that it lives in their memories as a mentor text for both reading and writing. The story belongs to the students, remaining with them forever and lighting the way whenever they get stuck.

From the Forward by Lester Laminack:

Oral Mentor Texts: A Powerful Tool for Teaching Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening harnesses the age-old power of storytelling within whole-class “oral mentor texts”—teaching texts that students practice and internalize, a host of mentors in common, always on hand to support their reading and writing throughout the year. Connie and Sherra give us a clear, logical, elegantly simple process for creating oral mentor texts in the classroom to use alongside printed mentor texts to guide and support literacy instruction. They start by selecting a moment the entire class has shared. Next they write it down, carefully embedding craft details and teachable content they will form lessons around. Finally they incorporate it into their literacy teaching as an oral mentor text. As students internalize and retell the story, Connie and Sherra use it to teach craft techniques and skills—leads, endings, dialogue, vocabulary, summarization, inferring, as well as listening and oral-language skills, to mention just a few.

Oral mentor texts are personal, accessible, and intimately understood. They are stories of a shared experience tucked into the pockets of each child’s heart and soul. They become the security blanket, the familiar and trusted resource that informs and influences each child’s knowledge of story grammar, structure, purpose, word choice, sentence variation, tone, and voice. They are with each student every day, all day. They influence how children approach printed mentor texts and how they construct their own writing.

Oral mentor texts offer something fresh and accessible in this era of increasing demands as we struggle to ensure that our students can access learning in ways that honor their humanity. While creating a level playing field may be beyond our reach, we can and we must create some common ground for all students. Connie and Sherra build on traditions of sound practice and common sense to develop patches of common ground from which our students can move forward in their learning journey.

Samples

Companion Resources