Lesson On Persuasive Essays


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Persuasive writing is an important skill that can seem intimidating to elementary students. This lesson encourages students to use skills and knowledge they may not realize they already have. A classroom game introduces students to the basic concepts of lobbying for something that is important to them (or that they want) and making persuasive arguments. Students then choose their own persuasive piece to analyze and learn some of the definitions associated with persuasive writing. Once students become aware of the techniques used in oral arguments, they then apply them to independent persuasive writing activities and analyze the work of others to see if it contains effective persuasive techniques.

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Persuasion Map: Students can use this online interactive tool to map out an argument for their persuasive essay.

Persuasive Strategy PowerPoint Presentation: This handy PowerPoint presentation helps students master the definition of each strategy used in persuasive writing.
Check the Strategies: Students can apply what they know about persuasive writing strategies by evaluating a persuasive piece and indicating whether the author used that strategy, and–if so–explaining how.

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Petit, A., & Soto, E. (2002). Already experts: Showing students how much they know about writing and reading arguments. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(8), 674–682.

  • Students can discover for themselves how much they already know about constructing persuasive arguments by participating in an exercise that is not intimidating.

  • Progressing from spoken to written arguments will help students become better readers of persuasive texts.

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Last month, I wrote an article about informative/explanatory writing in the classroom. Continuing on the theme of types of writing, today's post will focuses on persuasive writing and how educators can help students use it to improve their critical writing and thinking skills. Use the resources below to assist you in teaching persuasive writing in the classroom!The other day, my seventh-grade son told me he needed new shoes. I was not immediately convinced. I looked down, and I saw black running shoes. Yes, they were a little dirty. Yes, they were a little worn.

“Look, Mom,” he said, “there are holes in the sides! The bottom is coming off! I can’t run very fast!”

My son used reasons and details to convince me that, indeed, he needed new shoes.

This conversation got me thinking about the power of persuasion. Persuasion is an action that takes place every day. It happens with your own children, and it certainly happens in school.

Purpose of Persuasive Writing

The purpose of persuasive writing is to convince reader's to take an action, support a cause, or change a habit/belief. In order for students to become effective persuasive writers, it's important they investigate how purpose will affect the persuasive strategies they use in their writing. Start by reviewing the different purposes of persuasive writing as a class. Analyze persuasive texts, or other forms of media, and then identify the purpose for the text.

Remember, attention to the audience throughout the writing process is just as important as the purpose! Teach students to identify specific details about their audience and to critically think about how characteristics of those readers will relate to their purpose.

Structure of a Persuasive Essay

It's always a good idea to remind students about the organization and structure of a persuasive essay. A well-organized persuasive essay will include:

  • A strong introduction that states the position
  • At least three body paragraphs that present a single idea or set of related ideas that support the position
  • A conclusion that restates the topic and summarizes the main points

Elements of a Persuasive Essay

Persuasive writing follows an organized format. Using the anagram PERSUADE, teachers and students can easily remember the elements of a persuasive essay.

Download this colorful poster to display in your room to remind your students about the parts of the PERSUAsive essay! You can also print it out as a handout to distribute to students.

Persuasive Writing Activities

Have students write persuasive letters that argue for a change they want to see in their lives. With the Writing a Persuasive Letter to Make a Change Activity students will become better persuasive writers because of the extremely personal and meaningful purpose behind their writing.

For the holidays, students could write their mom a letter, convincing her to cook a different meal besides the traditional turkey and stuffing.

In the classroom, students could give mini speaking presentations. They could talk about the length of vacation, gifts they want to receive, or places they want to travel. There are many fun topics to cover through persuasive writing!





Teaching Students the Many Purposes of Writing

Informative/Explanatory Writing In the Classroom

25 Grammar Worksheets To Improve Students' Writing

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