As a kinder teacher the thought of doing a mentor text in the beginning of the year seems pretty daunting. I tend to stick more with illustration and author studies (see Katie Wood Ray's work for more information onm those). But I haven't given my kids the credit they deserve as learners.This summer I searched for texts that have concepts and writing that my kids could do. I found the perfect one to start with. It's super simple but the students really got into it. Here is what I did to help them be successful:
First we read the book...a couple times. We talked about the concepts, the illustrations and just generally enjoyed what it had to show us.
Next, we discussed what the author was doing, taking two items and adding them together to make something new. Then as a class we talked about possible combinations of things. Here is where I really had to help them out. I gave them at least 10.
Then I started with giving them just one thing and they had to tell their neighbor (knee to knee) what they would add to it. Finally it was their turn to orally tell their neighbor an entire phrase.
Together as a class we listed them on a chart paper so everyone had a chance to share out and see the different possibilities. Students then went back to their tables to write their sentence.
By the end of the year I let them spell it out themselves and leave the chart up for support. This time I actually cut the chart paper up and had them take their own phrase back to their seats to copy. After illustrating them, they were done!!