Saturday, March 31, 2012

By Request...More Persuasive Writing!

So, I have gotten questions about how I introduce students to the structure of the persuasive writing genre and especially about the flipbook I showed a picture of when I shared about the When I Grow Up writing piece. Since persuasive writing has to be my favorite genre of writing to teach...I don't mind sharing more about it!

Prior to persuasive writing, our instructional calendar (I will tell you more about those some other time!) leads us up nicely to this genre. We write narrative pieces in the first quarter and informational/nonfiction pieces in the second quarter. We see how writers organize their ideas by looking at patterns of organization. My kids have a pretty good idea that their writing needs to flow through a beginning, middle, and end, needs details (especially sensory ones), and needs supportive facts. So we have a pretty good foundation taking us into persuasive writing!

Like I told you about before, we take some time becoming familiar with the genre of persuasive writing by looking at some examples. By this point, my students have figured out that this genre is slightly different than narrative and informational and are primed and ready to learn the specifics.

Well, actually my students are more than ready! They are chomping at the bit to start writing and talking people into doing stuff! :) They have already started in their Writer's Notebooks trying to persuade mom and dad to get them dogs, the new PlayStation game, or let them stay up past midnight! So I teach the parts of the persuasive writing piece as we organize one over the course of four days of minilessons.

Day One – I introduce our topic. I use “When I Grow Up,” but really any topic could work! We read How Santa Got His Job. We brainstorm ideas and narrow down to one.

Day Two – I introduce the idea that persuasive writing is formatted differently than other genres of writing we have written earlier in the year.
This is when I introduce the Parts of a Persuasive Writing Piece flipbook
and we assemble it in our Writer’s Notebooks. After all the cutting and gluing is complete, I introduce the first part – strong persuasive leads. I teach my students about 5 different kinds of leads: Unusual Detail, Strong Statement, Quote, Statistic/Fact, and Empathetic Question.
At this point, I introduce the persuasive outline and model how I create a strong persuasive lead.

At the end of the minilesson, I give the kiddos their own outline and send them off to work on their own persuasive lead. While they begin creating, I move around the room to conference with students.

Day Three – Introducing the body. I require my students to have at least 3 reasons to support their point of view. Each reason needs 2 pieces of evidence to support it. As we are learning during this first piece, I don’t require research-based evidence, but I do in later pieces.

Once again, I model this on the outline before I send students off to work independently. I don’t expect these to be complete in one day (actually they shouldn’t be if they are putting thought into it!)

Day Four – Introducing the conclusion. I show my students three ways to conclude their pieces. Again, I model concluding my piece on the outline, and students are released to work on their reasons and conclusions.

So...that is how I teach about the parts of a persuasive piece. I follow up these minilessons with ones about strong evidence, taking the piece from outline to first draft, adding good supportive details, and, of course, revising, editing, and publishing. I hope this gives you a good look at how I introduce this genre of writing. You can find the outline, flipbook, and presentation I use in my Teacher’s Notebook shop.


  1. The psychology of persuasion. Click for more information.


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