You can read a general description of how to use the Mentor Text for Interpretation, Critique, and Counterargument. This page provides more detailed information about how to use the Mentor Text to support English learners.
Mentor Texts can be used to help English learners explore the argument components (claim, evidence, reasoning), with a focus on the language of those components. Do this in interaction with discussion of the Useful Language chart.
For example, in the Ancient Inca investigation, the Mentor Text is an email to curators of an exhibit about the American Revolution that makes an argument for including particular sources in their exhibit. Have your students work in pairs to identify the claim: I suggest that you use the engraved picture of the Boston Tea Party by E. Newberry and the Declaration of Independence for your online exhibit about the American Revolution.
Ask them to find the words that introduce the claim (I suggest,) and compare those words to the words that have a similar function in the Useful Language chart (The exhibit should include, I recommend you use). Point out that these different wordings help introduce the source that the essay will argue for, and that they can choose the words they want to use.
Then focus them on the sentence following the claim: They show that colonists protested British rule and got independence from Britain by working together.
Point out that the first two sentences in the Mentor Text go together, as the second sentence supports the claim by saying why the author is suggesting the two sources. You may want to point out that the They in the second sentence refers to the picture and the Declaration of Independence that are named in the first sentence. Students can compare the way the author of the Mentor Text develops a claim with the third option on the Useful Language chart: The __________ source is helpful to understand how the Incas maintained control of their empire because…. The Mentor Text uses two sentences to do the work that this example in the Useful Language does in one sentence, using because. Instead of linking with because, the Mentor Text uses They show at the beginning of the second sentence in place of because. These are two different ways of beginning an argument.
The next two paragraphs of the Mentor Text offer evidence and reasoning. With your English learners, along with identifying these argument components, you can also explore the language used to introduce them and compare with the other options available on the Useful Language chart. Keep the focus on ways different language choices can help students introduce evidence and reasoning, reminding them that as authors, they can make the language choices that best express what they want to say.
As you explore the examples of evidence in the Inca Mentor Text, you can point out the difference between introducing visual sources that have to be described and text sources that can be quoted. Help students see that the reasoning about the sources refers both to what the source will help viewers understand as well as why the source is trustworthy/reliable.
Taking time to explore the Mentor Text closely gives your English learners helps them see the functions that different phrases perform in the argument as a whole. Reviewing the Mentor Text in relation to the Useful Language helps them see that they can make their own choices about the wording they actually use when they write their own arguments.