Tuesday, April 27, 2021


By Cindy Williams Schrauben

There is often confusion about mentor texts vs. competitive/comparative titles (comps). In my mind, a comp is always a mentor text, but a mentor text is not always a comp. How does that work? Let’s look at some specific examples from this year’s reading month titles. 

On Day # 22, Joana Pastro chose the following as mentor texts that utilize onomatopoeia:

  1. WOOD, WIRE, WINGS (Kirsten W. Larson & Tracy Subisak)

  2. ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOOD NIGHT (Lauren H. Kerstein & Nate Wragg)

  3. TWO BICYCLES IN BEIJING (Teresa Robeson & Junyi Wu

Great examples!

Now, let’s suppose that you are writing a silly, fiction tale that includes onomatopoeia. Which of these titles would make good mentor texts? All of them, right? There are different ways to use onomatopoeia in your story and investigating different techniques can help. Title #1 is a non-fiction biography, #2 is fun fiction starring a dragon, and #3 is a lyrical story with anthropomorphic main characters and nonfiction information. 

So, all three of these books are mentor texts, but #2 is the only title that might work as a comp. Mentor texts that are not comps are extremely valuable for stretching your techniques outside the box, so don’t be afraid to use books that vary from your work-in-progress. 


  1. Thanks for making the distinction between mentor texts and comps so clearly.

  2. Great post on a topic many folks are a bit fuzzy about! TY, Cindy.

  3. Good point. Thanks for helping to clarify the two forms and also for reminding us to stretch ourselves by looking at various types and genres.

  4. Thank you, Cindy, for this helpful post. I'm happy you clarified the difference between mentor texts and comps.

  5. Thank you for this clarity. I get a bit confused. And I've been looking for silly stories with a lot onomatopoeia for a manuscript I just wrote, so thank you!

  6. This is a very nice explanation. I struggle with looking for good mentor texts but also finding good (and 5 or less years old) comp titles. This helps! Thank you!