Writing in ES1 with mentor texts!

Writing in ES1 takes on many forms…from drawing to experimenting with print…to writing an actual message using letters and words. This journey for children varies immensely and to assist them on becoming the best authors and illustrators they can be we have recently been exploring some mentor texts.

Some of the texts we have used include:

“SUPER MUM” was used to support the students in understanding that some sentences can be brief and repetitive. The students then could add to the sentence a word or group of words to describe their mum –

My mum has X-RAY VISION!

My mum is STRONG!

While the book “Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley” helped the students to unpack what really great friends look like, sound like and make you feel. This also served a dual purpose in that it connected to the school pillars of ‘witness’, ‘manage’ and ‘relate’ to assist the students in becoming more skilled in their social interactions and building friendships.


The students used the text as a basis for creating messages informing others about “really great friends”. To begin the writing process the modelled writing task was based on the students response to what “really great friends” might do eg invite others to play, share their toys, help each other. This became a reference point for the students to refer back to during their own independent writing time. The students were also able to use words from around the room, the word wall, word cards and alphabet cards to support their writing.

The other texts were used to explore the use of “onomatopoeia” words and these generated some very interesting messages. The students especially enjoyed “BARNYARD BOOGIE” where many different onomatopoeia words were incorporated within the text including speech bubbles. Over the space of a week the students added to a growing story about a cow during modelled and shared writing. Each day we would reread the story to ensure that the next part of the message made sense. From this interest we created a list of onomatopoeia words which we continue to add to as we read more texts and this is displayed near the word wall for students to use. The exciting part of using these mentor texts was watching the students all trying to add their own message through drawings and writing. Many incorporated speech bubbles of their own and onomatopoeia words eg MOO!

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When I reflect on how the students have progressed with their writing since Term 1, I know they have come such a long way and yet there is still so much more to discover…each child’s journey is totally unique and with support from teachers, their peers and the wonderful mentor texts they will continue to explore and grow as writers and illustrators!!

One child’s journey thus far…

The progression from drawing, to labelling, to forming a simple sentence and then to becoming a confident writer can take a relatively short amount of time or it can take a much longer time span…what is important is the idea of seeing yourself as a writer and someone who can share a message. We need to encourage our students to take a risk and expose them to a large variety of mentor texts.

What is your favourite mentor text to share with your students? 








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