This article focuses on persuasive writing and how educators can help students use it to improve their critical writing and thinking skills. The resources below will assist you in teaching persuasive writing in the classroom! Additionally, you'll be able to access all of my free printables when you download my Persuasive Writing Kit for grades 3–12.
Every day we encounter persuasive arguments. Bloggers may argue their viewpoints online. Friends may try to convince you to watch a movie they enjoyed. A commercial on TV may urge you to buy a new product. With persuasive arguments are all around us, its no surprise that persuasive writing is one of the main types of writing taught to students! Some forms of persuasive writing include:
Book Reviews – Reviewer argues that a book is good or bad.
Editorials – Writer presents and defends an opinion.
Persuasive Letters – Sender presents opinion and calls for action.
Speeches – Speaker presents and defends an opinion.
Teaching the Purpose of Persuasive Writing
The purpose of persuasive writing is to convince readers to share your opinion or take a particular action.
To try and make your readers agree with your opinion, you build an argument based on the logical appeals of reason and evidence. You may also add emotional appeals to persuade your readers and support claims. An emotional appeal tries to use a reader’s fears, hopes, wishes, or sense of fairness to sway their opinion.
In order for students to become effective persuasive writers, it's important they investigate how purpose will influence 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.
Teaching the Elements of a Persuasive Essay
Has an introduction that clearly states thesis or claim
Logical reasons and relevant evidence as support
Words and phrases that clarify the relationships among your claims, reasons, and evidence
Uses emotional appeals appropriately and sparingly
Discussion of counterarguments
Formal style and reasonable tone
Teaching the 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
INTRODUCTIONS FOR PERSUASIVE WRITING
The introduction paragraph presents your topic to readers and include a thesis statement, or claim. A thesis statement is one or two sentences that state your main idea. In a persuasive essay, your thesis statement, or claim, should include a strong and clear opinion. Avoid thesis statements that don't say much or simply present a fact.
WEAK – There are a lot of problems with our community's recreation center.
STRONG – Due to its lack of resources, our recreation center does not provide the kinds of kid-friendly services our community needs.
WEAK – Our recreation center was built in 1965.
STRONG – Because our recreation center is over forty years old, it lacks many facilities our community needs. It's time to renovate the Oakwood Recreation Center.
CONCLUSIONS FOR PERSUASIVE WRITING
A good conclusion sums up your main point and restates the these statement in a new way. When ending a persuasive essay, leave your audience with more to think about or include a call to action, in which you urge the reader to do something.
Teaching Students to Address Counterclaims in Persuasive Writing
For each claim made in a persuasive essay, students need to provide at least two convincing reasons. Each reason that supports the writers opinion or claim should be supported with a variety of relevant evidence, such as facts, statistics, examples etc. Additionally, for each claim made, a counterclaim or counterargument should be fairly presented. It is the writers responsibility to both present the counterclaims and discredit the arguments with evidence, facts, statistics etc.
Additional Resources & Activities for Teaching Persuasive Writing
In addition to the printables featured above, my Persuasive Writing Kit includes the following resources and activities!
PERSUASIVE WRITING GRAPHIC ORGANIZER
Students can use my simple Persuasive Writing Graphic Organizer to outline their thesis/claim, reasons, evidence, and conclusion. This organizer is used with any persuasive writing activities we undertake in the classroom.
HINTS AND TIPS FOR WRITING A PERSUASIVE ESSAY
This tip sheet highlights several ideas students need to keep in mind when writing a persuasive essay. The helpful hints and tips are for each of the following categories:
- Main Components
- Explain Your Reasons
- Persuasive Techniques
- Grammar Reminder
- Avoid Logical Fallacies
- Reflect On Your Writing
ACTIVITY TO PRACTICE WRITING EFFECTIVE PERSUASIVE PARAGRAPHS
With the writing activity included in my Persuasive Writing Kit, students will practice writing effective persuasive paragraphs. The worksheet includes tips for writing effective persuasive paragraphs as well as instructions and space for completing the activity.
PERSUASIVE WRITING FORMAT POSTER
My kit also includes a colorful poster you can display in the room. Using the anagram PERSUADE, teachers and students can easily remember the elements of a persuasive essay.