Messages in the Mailbox:How to Write a Letter, by Loreen Leady
Detailed Persuasive Lesson – 4th Grade
Prewrite & Organize – 3 days
Draft – 2 days
Revise & Teacher/Peer Conferences – 3 days
Edit – 1 day
Final Draft/Publish – 2 days
Areas of Focus:
Genre and Audience
In persuasive writing, writers state their opinion about something that is important to them and try to convince the reader to agree with their ideas. Authors use persuasive language and strong reasons to convince their readers to agree with their point of view. Persuasive opinions/arguments are most convincing when the writer is passionate about the topic and has a real audience in mind.
Persuasive arguments are often communicated in a business letter for which a specific format should be followed.
Persuasive writing is a type of expository writing, and uses the same compositional format as any expository writing: a central idea or thesis, supporting sentences and a concluding statement.
However, in persuasive writing, the author presents his/her opinion as the central idea and supports it with convincing reasons and arguments.
The supporting sentences explain the reasons further and provide examples, facts, and details to prove each reason is valid. The concluding statement (or paragraph) asks the reader to act on the position/central idea outlined in the paper.
There are only a few grammar and editing skills that have not already been taught in previous writing units.
Capitalizing the salutation and closing of a letter which should have been taught in previous years, and can be reviewed in this unit, if the persuasive piece is written as a letter.
We must also teach the correct spelling of words with silent letters (silent k, silent w, silent b, and silent h), as well as homophones that are commonly used in 4th grade writing. The editing section of this lesson gives several good examples.
Persuasive Writing is the most common type of real-world writing, discussion, and debate! Most children practice their persuasive skills on a daily basis and may not be very successful. We can help them improve their attempts to get what they want by teaching the art of persuasive writing and persuasive language!
As stated in the TEKS section, good persuasive writing uses a central idea/ thesis, supporting sentences, and a concluding statement to convince the reader. Therefore, it is an excellent way for 4th graders to practice this compositional form of writing that they will also use to write their expository composition for the STAAR Writing Test.
Student will know:
Student will be able to:
Week Nine - Eleven Oct. 20 – Nov 7
Lesson 1: Report
19(A) write persuasive essays for appropriate audiences that establish a position and use supporting details.
In persuasive writing, writers state their opinion about something that is important to them and try to convince the reader to agree with their ideas.
Authors use persuasive language to sway their readers to agree with their point of view. Reading and analyzing examples of persuasive texts helps writers understand the genre, author’s purpose, and unique characteristics of persuasive writing.
Write a letter to convince others and provide support for their point of view.
Use convincing reasons and language that will persuade others to agree with their opinion.
Read a variety of persuasive texts and identify the characteristics that make a persuasive text unique.
Use the vocabulary to describe their writing process while writing a persuasive piece.
18(A) create brief compositions that:
(i) establish a central idea in a topic sentence;
(ii) include supporting sentences with simple facts, details, and explanations; and
(iii) contain a concluding statement.
18(B) write letters whose language is tailored to the audience and purpose (e.g., a thank you note to a friend) and that use appropriate conventions (e.g., date, salutation, closing);
In persuasive writing, the author presents his/her opinion in a main idea and supports it with convincing reasons and arguments.
Supporting details include explanations, examples and facts.
A fact is a statement that can be checked, by using reliable sources.
Persuasive arguments are often communicated in a letter with a specific format to be followed.
Key Terms: central idea, topic sentence, argument, supporting sentence, facts, details, examples, explanations, concluding statement, salutation, body, closing, formal letter
State their point of view in a main idea sentence and create convincing reasons to support it.
Use explanations, examples, and facts to support their opinion and to persuade the reader to agree.
Write a formal, persuasive letter with the correct letter format.
15(A) plan a first draft by selecting a genre appropriate for conveying the intended meaning to an audience and generating ideas through a range of strategies (e.g., brainstorming, graphic organizers, logs, journals);
15(B) develop drafts by categorizing ideas and organizing them into paragraphs;
15(C) revise drafts for focus and coherence, organization, voice, development of ideas, word choice, use of simple and compound sentences, and audience independently and in response to feedback from peers and teachers;
15(D) edit drafts for grammar, mechanics, and spelling using a teacher-developed rubric; and
15(E) revise final draft in response to feedback from peers and teacher and publish written work for a specific audience.
Persuasive writing is often written in the form of a letter, but can also be written as an essay.
Persuasive arguments are most convincing when the writer is passionate about the topic and has a real audience in mind.
Each paragraph within the body of the text develops the arguments in favor of the author’s opinion.
Adding, changing, and deleting text help to make a writer’s meaning more clear.
Authors revise their writing using feedback and advice from their peers.
A persuasive argument is most effective when it is free from spelling, mechanics, and grammar errors.
Feedback from peers is often the most helpful to writers as they practice what their writing sounds like in a safe, supportive environment.
Key Terms: essay, convincing, persuasive argument, point of view, feedback, mechanics, grammar
Write a persuasive letter or essay.
Choose an audience for a persuasive letter or essay and brainstorm ways to make it convincing.
Develop the arguments in favor of the author’s point of view.
Use feedback from peers to revise the persuasive writing and make it clear and convincing.
Edit the persuasive writing to correct all spelling, mechanics, and grammar errors.
Publish the persuasive writing in a way that celebrates the writer’s commitment to a final product.
In addition to the TEKS listed in this Lesson, every week teachers should also provide rigorous and explicit instruction in the Recurring TEKS: F19 (A-F) Comprehension Skills, 1(A) Fluency: Read aloud grade-level and instructional text, 2(A-E) Vocabulary, 13(A-D) Comprehension of Media, 20 (Bi-Bii) Writing Conventions, 21(A), Oral and Written Conventions/Spelling, 27(A) Listening and Speaking/ Speaking, 28(A) Listening and Speaking/Listening
Writing Process: Persuasive Writing - All Attachments (in RED) for this Page can be found here
Prewriting: Gretchen Bernabei, in Why We Must Run With Scissors, recommends using good open-ended questions to have students free write, then talk and share stories to get ideas flowing for topics that students are passionate about. Persuasive Discussion Questions, p.1 Guide students to write the topic for their persuasive piece in the following form. This will make it easier for students to generate strong persuading reasons to support their topic.
Here are a few more persuasive writing ideas, p.2 from this blog: http://www.proteacher.org/c/650_Persuasive_Writing.html
Set up a contest for children to nominate ‘The Best Relative of the Year’. Students must write an essay to convince others to vote for the person they are nominating.
Organizing: Students can use this online interactive tool to map out an argument for their persuasive essay.
Once students have chosen their topic, they can use this graphic organizer to brainstorm and organize their reasons for their persuasive piece. Always model your thinking about how to use the graphic organizer before sending students off to write.
One more way for children to organize their thoughts for a persuasive writing:
Persuasive Graphic Organizer, p.3
Final Draft/Publishing: Persuasive opinions/arguments are most convincing when the writer is passionate about the topic and has a real audience in mind. If possible, send the student writings to real people who have a stake in what the writer is voicing his/her opinion about.
Other suggestions for publishing include:
• Create a class newspaper of letters/essays or bind the letters/essays into a class book.
• Create a bulletin board arrangement to display at a local library or other public facility.
A Conferencing Tipfrom Georgia Heard, p.7 – Read a student’s writing back to him/her.
Persuasive Peer Conference Form, p.8 Conference with students about any item on the criteria chart that you create with your class.
Drafting: Using any of the above graphic organizers, show students how to take the brainstormed ideas and compose sentences and paragraphs with supporting ideas that are well connected to the central idea of the writing. Think aloud about your thought process!, p.4 Moving from a graphic organizer to a written draft is not a natural process for many children. You may have to model this many times before children understand how you take individual phrases and ideas and turn them into sentences that flow together to communicate your main argument.
Editing: Some words are spelled with letters that have no sound.
Words with silent k include: knee, knock, knife, kneel, know, knead, and knuckle.
Words with silent w include: wrench, wring, answer, wrapper, wriggle, wrinkle, and wrestle.
Words with silent b include: lamb, thumb, plumber, comb, and doubt.
Words with silent h include: hour, honor, heir, hour, honest
A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but has a different meaning. Examples of homophones include: eye and I, rose and rows, bear and bare, break and brake, buy and by, scent and cent, deer and dear, hear and here, one and won, etc.
Peer Editing Checklist, p.9
Revising: If your students will be writing letters, make sure to teach them the conventions of a business letter found in Texas Write Source, pp. 242-243. Remind writers to capitalize the salutation and closing of the letter.
Read aloud some of the mentor texts listed above. After each reading, help writers create and refine a class list of criteria for a good persuasive writing. A possible Persuasive Criteria List, p.5 can be found here. Any item on this criteria list is a topic for a revising minilesson.
Can readers follow my order of importance?, p.6 Once students are sure they have written their reasons in order so that their most convincing reason comes last, they can use transition words to help show the order of importance.