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FREE Teen Writing Mentor Texts on Real Topics

Teachers, are you looking for real student writing examples to use in your classroom to get ideas flowing?

Mentor texts: writing by real teens
Writing Through the Distance is a valuable FREE resource.

Teens, are you seeking writing prompts from real kids your age, or a place to publish your own work?

Check out the FREE treasure trove of teen writing available at “Writing Through the Distance:” a new compilation of authentic student work for both educators and youth, created by the wonderful local organization, Teens in Print, through WriteBoston!

Teens, these topics can be writing prompts.
Teens, these topics can be writing prompts.

Real Teen Writing Topics

What makes “Writing Through the Distance” so useful and inspiring is that there are a range of writing genres represented (from photo essays to persuasive articles), and every topic is student-generated during the Teens in Print after-school or in-school program.

What this means is that all topics are of genuine interest to young people. The articles on the site are not adult-manufactured, awkward, or inauthentic — they are by and for teens themselves.

Mentor texts of teen writing for students and teachers: topics and prompts
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Teachers: How to Use This Authentic Student Writing for Mentor Texts

Any teacher around the world can use the student writing on “Writing Through the Distance” for FREE as mentor texts and exemplars to show your class what they can do with words. You can browse topics and genres here.

Teens planning their writing and publishing with TiP.
Teens planning their writing and publishing with TiP.

In my own 7th grade class, I was able to use the exemplar photo essays on “Writing Through the Distance” to show my middle schoolers the wide range of topics and styles they can use. The purpose of a mentor text is to serve as a springboard for one’s own ideas, and WOW did the exemplars get my students’ ideas flowing!

Educators, if you are based in Boston, you can also have students submit their writing to “Writing Through the Distance” through this form. This is an excellent way to provide an authentic audience — and even extra credit if you choose to give it!

Read this teen writing to get ideas for topics and prompts.
Read this teen writing to get ideas for topics and prompts.

Teens: Get Writing Prompts and Topics

If you are a teenager reading this (welcome!), know that “Writing Through the Distance” is for YOU, too. There are three ways you can use it. First, read it to feel less alone. See what other teens are going through — some of whom you may relate to, and some of whom may have very different lives, and have much to teach you.

Authentic mentor texts with important topics.
Authentic mentor texts with important topics.

Second, read to get ideas for writing prompts and topics. These are real teens writing, and their words may bring up feelings and opinions that stir strong emotions in you — emotions and opinions that can help words pour from your fingertips!

Finally, if you’re based in the Boston area, consider submitting your own writing to be published on the site, using that link! Teens and adults around the country would love to learn from your words.

Do Use this FREE Writing Resource!

From Mentor Texts to Writing Prompts…

I hope this introduction to “Writing Through the Distance” is a fruitful gift, and that you find many wonderful mentor texts to use, whether you’re a teacher, parent, or a student — or simply a human who appreciates good writing! You can see more at this video overview, too.

If you’ve used this free resource already, do chime in down in the comments section about your experience with it, and any tips you have. If you haven’t used it, does it seem like a possible fit? I look forward to reading your thoughts.

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