A touchstone book is a book that I’ve read out loud to the
kids, that I’ve used to specifically teach a writing craft
move. So for example, I really enjoy the book Short
by Donald Crews. So with Short Cut, I might use it
one day for a good lead, or on another day I might come back to
it and say, “Remember Short Cut? We’re going
to re-read it. Hm, I’m noticing all the descriptive
words Donald Crews uses for the setting.” And then we talk
about it, and then they go back in their writing and they try to
add descriptive words for their setting. It’s a book
that you use over and over again for different craft elements within
the genre study. Some of my writers workshop
books carry over into my readers workshop, so I intermingle the
|Myers reads "Strega
Nona" (Tomie de Paola) and alerts students to be looking
for text-to-text connections.
high • low
high • low
In the book Wondrous
Words by Katie Wood Ray, she has a chapter called, “Books
I know and Love.” And she has this huge list in there. So
teachers can say, “I use this book, but it’s also
one that I love too-- One that I’ve become so comfortable
with, I know, this is one that I want to use to convey, this
mini-lesson to my kids." My coworkers in second grade
will say, “I love this book” and I might try
that one, and it might not work well for me.
Touchstone and Mentor texts really help teach the mini-lesson.
They are extremely critical. We talk about how sometimes, our
touchstone texts, we re-read them, and we use them for different
mini-lessons. It really helps because all of the kids become familiar,
and they get to know the book very well, or a few books very well.
I always leave them out, I have a bookshelf for the Touchstones,
and I tell them, “Go back! Re-read the book! If that helps
jog your memory, if it helps you, please feel free to use it.”
This page will be updated during 2005-2006 with examples of how
I revisit certain touchstone and/ or mentor texts in my classroom.