Mentor Sentences to Strengthen Grammar Instruction

In second grade, students are eager to advance their ability to communicate using written language.  What better way to improve these skills than through the use of mentor sentences taken directly from age appropriate literature?  Mentor sentences are full of rich language and are the perfect model because they were written by published authors.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through some of my favorite blogs and I stumbled upon this little gem.  It has worked so well in my class that I wanted to share it with you.  

I have fallen in love with these units because they provide my students with skills they need in a manner that aligns with my teaching style.  I invite you to take a look at how I use mentor sentences with my class…..AND check out your chance to win one or possibly both of these units to use in your classroom at the end of the post.  

This past week, our focus sentence came from the adorable book, Snowmen at Night.  On Monday, I have my lil’ pups sit on the carpet while we read the story.  The great thing about using authentic text is that you can integrate a variety of mini lessons and model comprehension strategies while reading to create a much more meaningful and productive lesson.  

After reading the story, we glue a copy of the week’s sentence in our journals.  I love how little teacher prep time is required for this.  I just have to cut the sentences into strips and they are ready to go.

I display the sentence for the week on the board.  The students take turns sharing something they notice about the sentence.  I add their exact words below the sentence  for the week and add their name to the end.  This really increases participation because they all want to be picked so their name will be on the screen.  

Here is a look at a couple of my kid’s journals at the end of the activity.  Not the prettiest…but authentic evidence of learning which is what I am looking for.

On the second day, the students write the sentence in their journals.  Then, they work with a partner to color code each part of the sentence.  Depending on the complexity of the sentence, this can be done independently or with teacher support.  On this particular sentence, my lil’ pups were able to locate and identify the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and the pronoun in the sentence.  I guided them in identifying the articles and conjunctions.  

The third day is reserved for editing.  If your second graders are anything like mine, they see no need in editing because everything they write is perfect!  However, we are taking baby steps.  We are working on adding adjectives to make the sentences more descriptive.  We discuss where adjectives could be added to the sentence and then my lil’ pups try their hand at editing the sentence to make it more descriptive.

On the fourth day, students have the opportunity to imitate the sentence of the week.  This is one of my favorite activities of the week because I get a little peek into their imagination and they get to be creative and share their writing.  My kids get the chance to write 3-4 of their own sentences.  They read all their sentences with their shoulder partner.  Then, they choose their favorite sentence to share with the class from the author’s chair.

Friday is assessment day.  I love that the test is quick, concise, and focused which makes it easy to grade and get an idea of how well the students understood the concepts from the week. 

I really love how this unit takes mentor sentences from books that I would be reading this time of the year so integration is simple.  

The one page teacher planning guide helps to keep me on track without any additional planning or preparation time.

Mentor Sentences have been successful in other classrooms as well.  Check out this great post by Inspired Owl’s Corner.

Would you like to try mentor sentences out in your classroom?  There is an entire week’s worth of lessons available for FREE by clicking on the image above.

Now for the fun part…..I am teaming up with my favorite Inspired Owl’s Corner to host a giveaway to get this fabulous unit into your hands so your students can begin to benefit from it as much as mine have been.  I encourage you to take a second to enter below because someone has to win….and it might as well be you!!!!  We will be choosing TWO winners and each will win Mentor Sentences Unit One and a $10 Gift Certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers that they can use to purchase the 2nd unit.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow on Bloglovin



  1. January 25 / 2:57 pm

    Lisa, I love how you color coded your parts of speech with a key! And projecting their ideas and writing their names is BRILLIANT! Thank you for those ideas- I'm adding them next week!

  2. January 25 / 3:25 pm

    I am so glad that Mentor Sentences are going so well in your classroom!! The kids really have the hang of it, too- that's so awesome! Thank you for sharing about your experiences!! 🙂 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *