Nonfiction Mentor Texts: Book Review of FINDING THE HEART OF NONFICTION

georgia heard



by Georgia Heard

Heinemann, 2013


I love books for teachers that are so practical that you could read them on the weekend and use them the very next week in your classroom. FINDING THE HEART OF NONFICTION by Georgia Heard is such a book. I’ve been a long-time fan of Heard’s work on writing texts.

I love using mentor texts in the classroom, and many of the things she suggests I’ve done in my classroom. However, since this book is focused on nonfiction, I will admit, I’ve not incorporated all of these ideas in teaching kids how to write nonfiction. But I can’t wait to try some of her ideas!

She covers imagery, focus, leads, point of view, voice, precise language, structures of a text, and endings. In every chapter she provides succinct examples of how you can use this in your classroom right away.

This book is approachable, easy to use, and recommends some of the most stellar nonfiction texts that are available for kids.

Just after I finished reading it, I began to outline all of the ideas I was going to use right away in my classroom.

If you are looking for a book on mentor texts to add to your professional library, this book is a must-buy, must-highlight, must-dog-ear, must-read, and must-use for your collection.

Writing Quote Wednesday: Just Write

“Nothing you write is wasted. Whether you use what you’ve produced or not, you will have learned from the experience…and you can never know too much.” 


Monticello's Seed Preservation plot, April 2013

Monticello’s Seed Preservation plot, April 2013

I’m beginning Teachers Write this week with superstar writers Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jo Knowles, and Jen Vincent. Every Monday there will be a writing prompt at Jo Knowles blog and a mini-lesson at Kate Messner’s blog. Tuesdays and Thursdays there is a “Quick Write” also. On Fridays you can get feedback at Gae Polisner’s blog, and on Sundays, you can check in with Jen Vincent. I’m sure I’ve left something out, but you get the point. Teachers Write offers a lot of great stuff over the summer.

I probably won’t be sharing much of this writing online at this point, even though there are opportunities to do so. I don’t know if the writing I do will be related to my current project or just a place to explore. But I have to keep reminding myself it’s okay to “just write,” even if it’s not for a particular project.

I can “just write.”

Because “just writing” is not a waste of time.