The Power of Persuasive Writing
If you have ever spent time in a primary class, you have probably heard students trying to convince each other of many things. “This is the best snack!” “We HAVE to play this game!” “She is a better princess”, a young author’s opinions are never-ending. Trying to get students to translate their arguments into true persuasive writing can be a challenge. Here are some easy ways to get the process started!
Persuasive writing is all about, well, persuasion. We are surrounded by examples of this daily, but do we ever stop and think about how to translate all of this into the writing process for our students? Letters, articles, even YouTube commercials are all great real-life examples of easy ways to introduce persuasive writing in the classroom. Students will always benefit from studying solid examples of what they are trying to write. It’s a great idea to spend time immersing students in the genre that they will be working in. While studying these writing pieces, students will begin to notice trends and similarities. One important piece of persuasive writing is organization. To help show students how the author is organizing their argument, show students an example of persuasive writing. Read aloud various articles, letters, and advertisements that are persuasive in nature. Then, take notes on what they notice. Here is an example from my persuasive writing unit.
Structuring Persuasive Writing Pieces
Persuasive writing should include facts, opinions, and examples. These words may need to be explicitly taught to students! Writing vocabulary instruction is important but often overlooked.
After teaching the meaning of these words, lead discussions with students about the difference between facts and opinions. Examples can be found in books, articles, advertisements, or speeches. Another way students can better structure their persuasive writing is to talk about the difference between promises and reasons. A lot of students will try to offer promises in order to persuade someone to change a course of action. This can sound like, “I promise I will never ask for anything again if we get a dog.” Explain that this is simply a promise (that will likely be broken). Promises don’t tug at the heartstrings in the same way that a good reason might. For example, “I will learn responsibility if we get a dog because it will be my job to help take care of it”. Which one is more likely to get you what you want? Teach students that the person they are persuading will likely be moved by a solid reason.
Model strong persuasive writing sentence starters for students to use in their own writing. As a class, you can create your own advertisement, write a letter to your principal, persuade each other what the best book is, the options are endless! Once students see everything modeled several times, they can break out and write on their own using sentence stems. You will have your writers convincing their parents to have dessert for dinner in no time!
Still feeling overwhelmed about teaching persuasive writing? My writing units take care of all of the guesswork and prep time! There are ready-to-go slides, mentor texts, graphic organizers, writing templates and so much more! Check them out here!