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Mentor Texts That Multitask [Grades K-8]
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Mentor Texts That Multitask [Grades K-8]
A Less-Is-More Approach to Integrated Literacy Instruction

First Edition


January 2022 | 288 pages | Corwin

Streamline literacy learning with power-packed children’s books

Two of the most common challenges educators face is lack of time and resources. In Mentor Texts That Multitask, Pam Koutrakos shows how to streamline literacy instruction by using a single mentor text to teach reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, speaking, and listening. When you integrate literacy instruction this way, concepts start to come together more clearly for children – and teachers save time and expense.

This user-friendly resource is packed with ready-to-go lessons and tools to create, plan, and teach using multitasking texts. The lessons and accompanying ideas can jumpstart learning in the classroom by integrating and connecting literacy concepts in time-efficient ways. Resources include

  • Full lessons centered on high-quality children’s literature to take the guesswork out of planning
  • A DIY section to help teachers plan and teach lessons around other favorite texts
  • Dozens of student and classroom examples to show you what’s possible
  • Printables available online to help with immediate implementation.

Designed to help teachers build a more inclusive classroom library and instructional practice, this guide highlights texts that represent and celebrate a multitude of characters and topics.


 
Acknowledgements
 
Introduction
 
Part 1: The Essentials of Multitasking Mentor
 
Chapter 1: What is a Multitasking Mentor Text?
 
Chapter 2: Instructional Practices that Support Mentor Text Multitasking
 
Part 2: Teaching with Multitasking Mentor Texts
 
Chapter 3: Wordless Texts and Images
 
Chapter 4: Graphic Texts
 
Chapter 5: Realistic Fiction
 
Chapter 6: Creative Nonfiction: Biographies, Autobiographies, and Memoir
 
Chapter 7: Informational Texts
 
Chapter 8: Poetry
 
Part 3: You've Got This!
 
Chapter 9: DIY Processes for Creating Multitasking Lesson Sets
 
Chapter 10: Stepping Aside: Student-Initiated Learning with Multitasking Mentor Texts
 
Epilogue
 
References

As teachers plan for the post pandemic school year, a must-have professional resource that will guide their instruction is Mentor Texts That Multitask by Pam Koutrakos!  Multi-tasking mentor texts are beloved favorites and exciting new titles that can help students learn about reading and writing! Multi-tasking texts are worthy of revisiting. They are learning tools in a student-centered classroom that invite teachers to model and students to practice then reflect on their learning experiences.  Pam’s voice is powerful, and she quickly draws you into her book. Every page returns to a central point: it’s you, the teacher, who makes a huge difference in students’ learning. Using compelling examples, this book shows you how multi-tasking mentor text lessons motivate and engage students in their learning and make you want to implement instructional ideas immediately. You’ll learn how to use diverse genres and formats across grades and students’ learning stages as Pam helps you make this important work your own. Along with guidelines for creating mentor text sets, you’ll explore how to develop units with outstanding culturally relevant texts. The book opens with a matrix of featured texts and text pairings, as well as a chart of recurring features in the lessons. I guarantee that Mentor Texts That Multitask will become one of your most valued and helpful professional books—one you’ll return to again and again!  

Laura Robb
Author of Guided Practice For Reading Growth

While reading Mentor Texts that Multitask, I found myself agreeing over and over again with Koutrakos and thinking about all the ways we can become more efficient through the use of smaller, strategically chosen collections of texts. The day in and day out work we do as educators is complex and multi-faceted. In this beautiful book, Koutrakos offers us ways to maximize time and find quality resources that enhance instruction with a less is more approach. This book will be a staple on my bookshelf and as I work alongside teachers.  

Valentina Gonzalez
co-author of Reading & Writing with English Learners: A Framework for K-5

Mentors that Multitask?! This is what all educators need. Thrilled this playful and thoughtful book exists in the world as a practical yet inspirational springboard for using books teachers love over and over again for a variety of instructional, holistic instructional purposes! Pam shares tons of ideas for integrated literacy lessons and shows us why it all matters. From the text pairings to the inquiry ideas to the high-quality (and cross-genre!) text titles, I know educators with this book in their hands will feel more confident and excited about the possibilities. It is invaluable.

Nawal Q. Casiano
Educator, Author and Staff Developer

The moment you open Mentor Texts That Multitask it’s clear that you are in the company of a passionate professional who loves books, respects learners, and delights in bringing the two together. In this dynamic resource, you’ll benefit from Pam’s asset-based approach as she charts a path for redefining the role of mentor texts in your learning space. The flexible lesson sets offer infinite learning possibilities to illuminate and integrate the essential aspects of literacy. Pam will cheer you on as you make multitasking mentor texts work for the children in your care.

Maria Walther
Traveling Teacher, Author, Literacy Consultant

When I am thinking through a classroom challenge or looking for insight, Pam is one of the people that I turn to. Mentor Texts that Multitask resonates with Pam's characteristic wisdom, and it is imbued with her unshakable belief in children. This is not just a professional text, this is a transformative conversation with a powerfully capable friend.

Cornelius Minor
Educator and Author of We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be

Mentor Texts That Multitask helps teachers connect different parts of the curriculum to create a more cohesive and connected set of learning experiences. Koutrakos' model has the benefit of saving teachers time as well as supporting depth of thinking for students. It is grounded in research and classroom practice and is the type of book that teachers can return to again and again for ideas to try right away. After reading this book teachers will know how to shift to a more student-centered and inquiry-based way of using mentor texts throughout the day that brings joy, engagement, and deep learning. 

Gravity Goldberg
Author of Teach Like Yourself and Mindsets and Moves

With an emphasis and deep commitment toward asset-based instruction that is unwaveringly responsive to students, Pam Koutrakos invites readers into the endless possibilities for learning that exist within the pages of books. While Koutrakos provides replicable lessons and resources based on specific texts, she also empowers readers to be able to select their own mentor texts and develop their own lessons. Mentor Tasks That Multitask weaves research, resources, and practicality, inspiring teachers with lessons they can use right away, as well as approaches to take within classrooms that maximize minutes, learning, and joy.

Melanie Meehan
Author of Every Child Can Write and Co-Author of The Responsive Writing Teacher

This book is not a collection of texts or an anthology of stand-alone activities.  Instead, it meets students and teachers where they are and helps them grow.  Pam Koutrakos shows how simple, well-chosen texts can serve in so many ways, but she also fills the air with rich teaching practice, modeling how to embed humanity, compassion and understanding into the standards.  It’s a book that should go into every teacher’s tool belt.

Gretchen Bernabei
Teacher, Consultant, and Author

Nothing (not even the greatest of books) can replace the human genius of a teacher; a teacher with a great multitasking mentor text and a practical set of tools in their hands is a force to reckon with. Pam sets us up for success by reminding us of the importance of seeing the brilliance of students through an asset-based lens and the way she guides us through our decision making process by setting up frameworks for us to think about the student process as emerging, developing, and extending is not only a refreshing way of thinking, but a necessary one. Pam invites us to think about practical ways in which we can reduce our decision fatigue by leaning into our love of books and integrating those books across our curriculum all while centering students at the heart of our classrooms. As I scan the books on my bookshelves, I can imagine how to employ them as trusted mentor texts that multitask by integrating across the elements of curriculum.  From one obsessed book fan to another, thank you Pam for giving us the gift Mentor Texts that Multitask

Renee Houser
Author and Consultant in Los Angeles, CA

Mentor texts have been a favorite for teachers and students as a touchstone for deep learning. A big thank you to Pam Koutrakos for revealing to us an even more expansive potential of what a few carefully selected mentor texts can hold across learning contexts. What this book teaches us is a paramount implementation of responsive teaching, in a streamlined, learner-centered way. Pam’s deep pedagogical knowledge paired with a love of books of all sorts (yes, even some books we may not imagine!) brings us this seminal book that will only evolve our instruction in the most joyful and impactful ways.  Pam does so through favorite text selections, ways to use those texts to teach, and a pathway for educators and students to multitask their favorite mentor texts.

Patty McGee
Author of Feedback that Moves Writers Forward

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ISBN: 9781071836132
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