Teaching Persuasive Writing To Elementary (Bonus Lesson Included)

By Becky F

In an English curriculum, a critical writing skill we must teach is persuasive writing. When we teach persuasive writing to our students, they will learn how to formulate logical and concise arguments for or against a nonfictional topic. As a teacher, assessing logical and straightforward reasoning sounds idyllic, doesn't it?

Teaching persuasive writing to students can help them understand how to influence an audience through written text. As students progress through school, teachers will teach them the increasingly complex and subtle persuasive devices of successful persuasive writing.

Persuasive writing is everywhere – it is a writing technique that people and organizations use to survive and thrive. Additionally, people who are passionate about a topic or cause will use persuasive writing to gain support. As students learn more about how successful persuasive writing can be, they will also understand its impact on them. But when and how do we start?

When To Start Teaching Persuasive Writing

Many children start with persuasive reasoning and writing when they want something from their parents or write a wish list for presents. However, you can begin teaching persuasive writing when a student learns to write - as early as the K-2 years. Young students can learn basic persuasive writing techniques by creating little adverts or posters for items they wish to sell, for example.

How Should I Teach Persuasive Writing?

When you teach persuasive writing, a bit of discussion, thinking, and research needs to be done before writing. Persuasive writing should be factual (nonfictional) and concise to keep the audience's attention. Additionally, suppose a writer plans their arguments correctly. In that case, they can include other strategies in their writing to strengthen their argument.

Start With Discussion, Research, And Planning

When you teach persuasive writing, you usually give your students a topic. In this example, the teacher gave her class the issue of allowing bubble gum at school for one day. For their persuasive writing task, the students had to write a letter to the principal asking her to relax the bubble gum rule for one day.

However, before they started writing, the students discussed why the rule was in place. Then the students had to think of their reasoning and commitments that would form part of their arguments. Their vocabulary was suited to the task and audience (the principal) and included words like experiment, learning, and responsible.

Write Thoughts Logically Using A Generic Structure

When writing a persuasive letter or essay, students can use the following generic structure as their framework.

  • Introductory Paragraph: This is where the writer clearly and politely says the letter's purpose. It can include a choice (if it's a debatable topic) or a proposition.
  • Content Paragraphs: Each new reason or argument should have its own paragraph. Each reason should have a concrete example to explain or support it.
  • Conclusion: The concluding paragraph should restate the topic and summarize the main points.

Persuasive Devices To Include In Persuasive Writing

It is essential to teach students that the reasoning they use in persuasive writing must be factual. You can draw their attention to how making false claims can mislead the reader and damage the writer's integrity. Additionally, students must know that their reasoning should not be "because I want it" or "because I like it."

To persuade the reader, students can include persuasive words in their writing. Then, to help them remember and use these persuasive words, you can display them on a wall in your class. Examples of persuasive words include the following:

Persuasive Word List





























Below are some added persuasive devices you will often see in persuasive writing.
  • A strong argument.
  • Alliteration. E.g., "We can carefully consider the consequences," and "Terry's tremendous tortillas are so tasty."
  • Eye-catching and colorful fonts or capitalized words. It's for The Greater Good, you know.
  • Emotive language. Emotive language should be used sparingly. Depending on the type of persuasive writing task, it should stir the reader to action or agreement with the writer. Examples of emotive words include love, hate, appalling, magical, brutally, betrayed, vindicated, and saved.
  • Exaggeration or hyperbole. For example, "We make the best pizzas in the world," or "Are your shoes killing you?"
  • Facts or statistics. Using substantiated facts to support your argument in persuasive writing is vital.
  • Humor. Not all persuasive text has humor in it, but it can be used to grab the reader's attention where appropriate.
  • Modality. Your choice of modal words will impact the strength and confidence of your writing. Not may or might, will! Examples of modal words include might, may, will, must, can, should, and could.
  • The writer's opinion.
  • Personal pronouns. Personal pronouns make the content more relatable and personal.
  • Repetition. Repeating a critical word or term throughout the text will increase the likelihood of the reader remembering it.
  • Rhetorical questions. E.g., Who cares about subliminal messages, anyway?
  • Rule of Three. Many memorable written texts have a triad of elements. Therefore, including three reasons in persuasive writing will likely be more effective.

Editing And Reflecting On Your Writing

Finally, before publishing or sending their persuasive text to its audience, students should check the following:

  • First, check their spelling and punctuation are correct.
  • If it's an essay, have they written complete sentences?
  • The student should check if they have stayed on topic.

What To Expect In Bonus Lesson Slides On Persuasive Writing

Teaching Persuasive Writing to primary or elementary grades students can be fun if you have the right strategy and ideas. So what's in there for kids?

Persuasive writing improves their critical writing and thinking skills, making this lesson more interesting.

A persuasive text is a text which argues a point of view to convince the reader to agree with the author.

Let's check the Learning objectives and outcomes of our Persuasive writing lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students should be able to:

  • Identify the elements of persuasive writing
  • Understand that the writer's goal is to change the perspective of the reader
  • Organize thoughts and ideas for prewriting

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Develop an outline for a persuasive essay
  • Compose a persuasive essay

You can preview the complete lesson video here and download our free Teaching Persuasive Writing powerpoint slides.

Download ppt Slides For This Lesson

Editable Lesson Slides included

We hope that this English lesson resource is helpful for you and your students. You can check our complete range of English lessons here.

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