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Recipes for Effective Literacy Instruction

Persuasive Writing

It's probably no surprise that "argument" and "evidence" are mentioned repeatedly throughout the Common Core Standards: virtually everything we do in life and work involves some form of persuasion.

For a quick primer on persuasive writing, please check out THE LITERACY COOKBOOK, which devotes an entire chapter to it.

For my most-current thoughts on how to move students from the concepts of "argument" and "evidence" through a series of steps culminating in a full-blown research paper, check out the TLC "Argument vs. Evidence" page.

As with any genre of writing, there are a few basic steps to effective persuasive writing instruction:

1) Show models and discuss what makes them so awesome.  The value of reading excellent examples cannot be overstated.  The New York Times provides many resources for student use.  Check out, for example, the Learning Network, and this post on "10 Ways to Teach Argument Using the NY Times."  ***Check out also "200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing" in the NY Times, which includes great prompts and links to excellent examples of argumentative writing.  They have also added "301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing" (see PDF in the Download Zone, too) and "401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing" (PDF in Download Zone).  Also see Sample 8th-grade Persuasive Writing Task and Sample 8th-grade Persuasive Writing Response (pages 1 and 2).

2) Provide an instructive rubric to clarify your expectations.  See the Writing Rubrics page for more info.

3) Teach students the writing process, breaking down each step and giving them lots of practice and feedback.  Writer's Workshop can be a helpful vehicle for this process.

4) Give students opportunities to share their work and celebrate it!

NOTE: You can also boost students' persuasive skills by giving them oral practice.  Check out the Socratic Seminars page for details!

For more information, you should also check out the following TLC pages:


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