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Teaching Students How To Write Persuasive Essays

Last month, I wrote an article about informative/explanatory writing in the classroom. Continuing on the theme of types of writing, today's post will focuses on persuasive writing and how educators can help students use it to improve their critical writing and thinking skills. Use the resources below to assist you in teaching persuasive writing in the classroom!The other day, my seventh-grade son told me he needed new shoes. I was not immediately convinced. I looked down, and I saw black running shoes. Yes, they were a little dirty. Yes, they were a little worn.

“Look, Mom,” he said, “there are holes in the sides! The bottom is coming off! I can’t run very fast!”

My son used reasons and details to convince me that, indeed, he needed new shoes.

This conversation got me thinking about the power of persuasion. Persuasion is an action that takes place every day. It happens with your own children, and it certainly happens in school.

Purpose of Persuasive Writing

The purpose of persuasive writing is to convince reader's to take an action, support a cause, or change a habit/belief. In order for students to become effective persuasive writers, it's important they investigate how purpose will affect the persuasive strategies they use in their writing. Start by reviewing the different purposes of persuasive writing as a class. Analyze persuasive texts, or other forms of media, and then identify the purpose for the text.

Remember, attention to the audience throughout the writing process is just as important as the purpose! Teach students to identify specific details about their audience and to critically think about how characteristics of those readers will relate to their purpose.

Structure of a Persuasive Essay

It's always a good idea to remind students about the organization and structure of a persuasive essay. A well-organized persuasive essay will include:

  • A strong introduction that states the position
  • At least three body paragraphs that present a single idea or set of related ideas that support the position
  • A conclusion that restates the topic and summarizes the main points

Elements of a Persuasive Essay

Persuasive writing follows an organized format. Using the anagram PERSUADE, teachers and students can easily remember the elements of a persuasive essay.

Download this colorful poster to display in your room to remind your students about the parts of the PERSUAsive essay! You can also print it out as a handout to distribute to students.

Persuasive Writing Activities

Have students write persuasive letters that argue for a change they want to see in their lives. With the Writing a Persuasive Letter to Make a Change Activity students will become better persuasive writers because of the extremely personal and meaningful purpose behind their writing.

For the holidays, students could write their mom a letter, convincing her to cook a different meal besides the traditional turkey and stuffing.

In the classroom, students could give mini speaking presentations. They could talk about the length of vacation, gifts they want to receive, or places they want to travel. There are many fun topics to cover through persuasive writing!





Teaching Students the Many Purposes of Writing

Informative/Explanatory Writing In the Classroom

25 Grammar Worksheets To Improve Students' Writing

Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Persuasive Writing: What Can Writing in Family Message Journals Do for Students?

This lesson engages children in using writing to their families as a persuasive tool to get what they want and need.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Dear Librarian: Writing a Persuasive Letter

Students write persuasive letters to their librarian requesting that specific texts be added to the school library. As they work, students plan their arguments and outline their reasons and examples.


Grades   4 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Vote for Me! Developing, Writing, and Evaluating Persuasive Speeches

This lesson encourages students in grades 4 and 5 to think critically and write persuasively by focusing on preparing, presenting, and evaluating mock campaign speeches.


Grades   4 – 8  |  Lesson Plan

The Magic of Three: Techniques for the Writer's Craft

Students learn to use tricolons—a writer's technique of putting words and phrases into groups of threes—to add rhythm and power to their writing.


Grades   5 – 6  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Introducing Basic Media Literacy Education Skills with Greeting Cards

In this lesson, students examine and create holiday/event cards, analyze holiday elements, and create their own. The activities help students focus on the reasons for composing messages as they do.


Grades   6 – 12  |  Lesson Plan

Persuade Me in Five Slides! Creating Persuasive Digital Stories

After students write persuasive essays, use this lesson to challenge them to summarize their essays concisely by creating five-slide presentations.


Grades   7 – 10  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Picture This: Combining Infographics and Argumentative Writing

After researching topics that the students have chosen, students write argumentative essays. Then, using Piktochart, students create their own infographics to illustrate their research.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Developing Citizenship Through Rhetorical Analysis

Students analyze rhetorical strategies in online editorials, building knowledge of strategies and awareness of local and national issues. This lesson teaches students connections between subject, writer, and audience and how rhetorical strategies are used in everyday writing.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Can You Convince Me? Developing Persuasive Writing

Through a classroom game and resource handouts, students learn about the techniques used in persuasive oral arguments and apply them to independent persuasive writing activities.