Literature as Mentor Text for Creative Writing

Do your secondary students sometimes wish they could write alternate endings to literature? This post describes my Narratives about Literature resource, which allows students to use literature as mentor text for creative writing. Click through to learn more about it!


There's ONE assignment that I never mind grading, and that's when my students write their own versions of literature.

This year during our literature units, my 8th graders wrote deleted scenes from The Giver showing additional memories that are transferred to Jonas; then, they had the option to write a deleted scene OR epilogue to A Christmas Carol, showing either how Scrooge "got that way" OR demonstrating what Scrooge was like once the ghosts had left him. 

They were, in short, amazing. I've rarely been more impressed by my students. While grading, I laughed out loud, I felt shocked with "where-did-this-come-from" emotions from students who typically hate writing fiction, and I cried as one student made me "watch" Scrooge on his deathbed, saying his last words to Tiny Tim. 

Thus, I've put together these assignments, as well as similar ones I'd done once with high schoolers, to bring you my Narratives about Literature assignment

Do your secondary students sometimes wish they could write alternate endings to literature? This post describes my Narratives about Literature resource, which allows students to use literature as mentor text for creative writing. Click through to learn more about it!First, students read a directions page, and then complete THIS graphic organizer to analyze the writer's style. (Though they've already been immersed in the writer's language, this helps them to identify what's been going on so they're better positioned to imitate it.)

Above is an example for The Outsiders, and one for The Maze Runner (since I firmly believe this assignment could be used for choice reading and YA, not just the classics...).

Then, students go through the writing process (sometimes using my Narrative Interactive Editing Checklist and task cards for revision) and turn in their drafts to me for grading. 

I'll give you a full tour of how I make and use rubrics sometime, but here's a sneak peek...

Do your secondary students sometimes wish they could write alternate endings to literature? This post describes my Narratives about Literature resource, which allows students to use literature as mentor text for creative writing. Click through to learn more about it!

When we have spare time in class, we read them out loud or share them as much as possible. I'm probably going to compile all of them into a class book or find a better way to display them before the end of the year. 

Since these have gone so well, I might try to do this with my 7th graders when we read The Outsiders as well. I was already planning on letting students do this with a choice novel during 4th quarter, so I'm excited to see them apply this to modern YA instead of just the classics! (For example, I know that some students want to write alternate endings to Mockingjay and Divergent... not that we're bitter...)

Do you teach high school? If you download the resource from TpT, it also comes with specific directions for how a high school classroom could implement this for The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Of Mice and Men

This assignment is temporarily 50% off in my TpT store for its first 48 hours of existence. Check it out - you won't regret it! :-)

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