Mentor Text Review: The Story of Rosy Dock

The writing traits mentor text
  • Author and illustrator: Jeannie Baker
  • Publisher: Red Fox

The Story of Rosy Dock by Jeannie Baker tells the story of an introduced species (the Rosy Dock plant) spreading across the Australian landscape. As with all of Jeannie Baker’s books, this one uses stunning collages and beautiful word choice to convey an important message about environmental conservation.  

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: This book is an excellent example of an idea that is tight and manageable. Jeannie Baker’s message in this book is about the impact of introduced species but she chooses to tell that message through narrowing down to just one species. Baker’s use of specific details to explain the landscape add credibility to her authority on this topic.

ORGANISATION: Reread this story to find examples of sequence (timing related) words. How does she help the reader move through time in the story?

VOICE: Jeannie Baker cares deeply about this topic and it shows. But how? What is it about her writing that makes you think she cares about the topic? THAT is voice!

WORD CHOICE: 2 tier vocabulary abounds in this book (e.g., newcomers, settler, precious, whipping, unnaturally, uneasy). The text also contains beautiful figurative language including similes (‘spread wide like a sea’), personification (‘the water crept slowly across the desert’) and metaphor (‘the air came alive with insects’).

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

ACTIVATING PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: Before reading this text ask students to discuss or jot down everything they know about Jeannie Baker, Rosy Dock and anything they can spot in the illustrations.

PREDICTING: Use the prior knowledge to make a prediction about this text.

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Read Jeannie Baker’s book Where the Forest Meets the Sea and make connections between the two. What is similar? What is different? What would you predict in her book The Hidden Forest? Why?

QUESTIONING: Have students track their questioning before, during and after reading. What would they like to investigate further once they’ve finished reading?

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