Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason

Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason

Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason has a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on rhetoric and composition. She has more than a decade of teaching experience including six years as a college English professor. She has designed workshops and classes for elementary, middle, and high school students and is a homeschooling mom of two.

Her passions include pop culture, moral philosophy, essay writing, and reading skills. She designs classes that take a multi-disciplinary, integrated reading-writing approach to make sure learners have context and purpose for everything they create.

During her time as an English professor, Michelle specialized in teaching “developmental” writing, which means she was working with the students who had been deemed unprepared for college-level writing. In that work, she formed a teaching philosophy deeply centered on trust.

She believes that students learn best when they know that their instructor genuinely trusts them to do well. She works hard to avoid assignments and classroom dynamics that create antagonistic power structures. Instead, she wants learners to see her as a supportive guide who genuinely aims to help them reach their own goals.

Michelle is the founder of Dayla Learning, a place for “homeschooling the humanities with humanity,” and the co-founder of SEA Online Classes, a platform for hands-on, engaging online classes.

June 10, 2023
5:00pm EST/2:00pm PST

Mentor Texts: What They Are, Why You Should Use Them, and Where to Find Them

A lot of homeschooling educators can get frustrated when their learner who can produce well-written, interesting narratives struggles to craft even simple academic essays. How can a student who is such a strong reader and writer in one area have such a hard time transferring those skills to another? Writing is bound by context, and writers draw from their own body of experiences as readers to analyze and respond to those contexts. That means it is often very challenging for writers (of any age) to write in ways they haven’t read. “Mentor texts” is the term used for texts designed (or repurposed) to address this barrier. As Lynne Dorfman from the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project puts it: “They are texts to be studied and imitated…Mentor texts help students to take risks and be different writers tomorrow than they are today. It helps them to try out new strategies and formats.” Mentor texts help writers build confidence and grow their web of writing contexts and genres in order to produce writing with more fluency and skill. In this session, Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason will discuss mentor texts more fully including suggestions for where to find them and how to use them effectively.