At a staff meeting last year, I had a big "ah-HA!" moment. We were asked to brainstorm a list of real-world sources of persuasive writing. As our list got longer....and longer....and longer.....we realized that persuasive writing is EVERYWHERE. In order for our students to be successful in higher education and beyond, it is so important to equip them with the skills to share their opinions clearly and convincingly.
I'd like to share some great resources to help teach persuasive writing. My absolute favorite resource is Karen Caine's book, Writing to Persuade: Minilessons to Help Students Plan, Draft, and Revise, Grades 3-8. If you do nothing else as a result of this post, get your hands on a copy of this book. It is AWESOME. Our writing lead was able to order one for each teacher in the school. If you can't get a copy of your own, check it out from the library. Caine does a great job of mapping out realistic, engaging, and easy-to-implement minilessons to help you plan your unit from pre-writing to publishing.
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Now, let's get down to brass tacks. Pre-writing! I've found that students need a lot of opportunity to practice persuasive thinking before diving in to a full writing unit. To help build background knowledge and develop persuasive thinking skills, I created 24 prompts to get students thinking, talking, and writing. You can find them for free at my TpT store!
There are a million ways to use these. I like to put one prompt up on the document camera at the beginning of writing each day. I give students a few minutes to silently think and jot down notes. Then, students find a partner and get back-to-back. When I say "turn and talk", students discuss the prompt with their partner. At the next "back to back" call, students find a new partner and discuss the prompt again. After several rounds, I ask students to return to their seats and record how their viewpoint was reinforced or how it changed after talking to their peers.
I also make sure to give students tons of exposure to persuasive writing in different forms. I bring in newspapers, show videos of political speeches, and read mentor texts. One of my FAVORITE sources of persuasive writing? Facebook. I print out my friends' persuasive Facebook statuses--e.g. a friend that posts a picture of a dog asking people to consider adopting him from a local shelter, a graduate student asking people to take a survey for her, etc. Persuasive writing really is EVERYWHERE!
Here are a few ideas for some good persuasive read-alouds:
I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
Click, Clock, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
Earrings! by Judith Viorst
Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Hey Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose
My Brother Dan's Delicious by Steven L. Lane
Should We Have Pets? by Sylvia Lollis
Should There Be Zoos? by Tony Stead
What are some of YOUR favorite strategies and resources for teaching persuasive writing??
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