We Can Do This!: Student Mentor Texts That Teach and Inspire

We Can Do This!: Student Mentor Texts That Teach and Inspire

by Janiel Wagstaff


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In We Can Do This! writing expert and Stella Writes author Janiel Wagstaff pairs examples of student writing with writing lessons. Student writing samples are extremely powerful tools for boosting the growth of young writers and the student samples provided in this book serve as mentor texts and the basis for each lesson. The samples are mentors that are “doable” for students: they highlight skills, strategies, craft moves, and traits within the reach of their intended audience.  As teachers and students study the examples, they will think, “I can do that!”  Additionally, samples that reflect the most common errors or trouble spots are included, enabling teachers to explicitly teach to these points. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625311801
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Publication date: 02/27/2017
Pages: 156
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 5 - 7 Years

About the Author

Janiel Wagstaff is a popular national literacy consultant and full-time K-6 literacy coach at a Title I school in Utah. In addition to classroom teaching and coaching, she has worked as a University instructor and school administrator. Since the beginning of her nearly thirty year career, she’s had a passion for literacy instruction and says her greatest reward is watching students become proficient, joyful, motivated readers, writers, and thinkers. She’s known as a ‘teachers’ teacher,’ able to translate current research into exciting, practical classroom practices which she shares in presentations, training videos, and in her writing online and in publications.

Throughout the years, Janiel has written fourteen books for Scholastic, Corwin Literacy, Staff Development for Educators, and Stenhouse. These include best-sellers such as Phonics That Work and Teaching Reading and Writing with Word Walls along with Quick Start to Writing Workshop Success and Corwin’s Booster Lessons: Elevating Instruction Day by Day, Grades K-2. Recently, she translated her career-long work with young writers into a series of four delightful, best-selling picture books about Stella, a precocious second grade writer. They introduce students to opinion, informative, narrative and poetry writing from Stella’s perspective within a classroom context (the Stella Writes series).

Her latest book, We Can Do This: Student Mentor Texts that Teach and Inspire is a collection of writing from her Title I, K-2 students. Her hope is this collection of peer mentor texts will inspire students to learn from young writers like themselves while also equipping teachers to use their students’ writing as an explicit teaching tool. One theme of Janiel’s work is that of purpose: students invest more and achieve farther-reaching outcomes when they see real reasons for the work they’re doing. Janiel was named “Best of State: Teacher of the Year” for the state of Utah and her school was awarded a National Title I Distinguished School award in 2017. She is the mother of one high-energy boy, one stray dog, and one stray cat. Janiel plans to keep teaching and learning for many years to come! 

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