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Teacher Tips and Answers

Prewriting for Opinion Letters

Prewriting is your first step in writing an opinion letter. These activities will help you select a topic, develop an opinion, gather reasons to support your opinion, and understand the key parts of business letters.

Prewriting to Select a Topic

To write a convincing opinion letter, you have to choose a topic that you feel strongly about. Your passion for the topic (or lack thereof) will show in your letter.

Brainstorm topics.

Answer each of the following questions in one or two different ways. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  1. What would make your school better?

    an afternoon recess

    (Answers will vary.)

  2. What would make your classroom better?

    more computers

     

  3. What problems in your school need to be solved?

    overcrowded playground at lunch

     

  4. What would make your community or neighborhood better for kids?

    ice skating rinks in the parks

     

  5. What problems in your community or neighborhood need to be solved?

    not enough streetlights

     

Choose a topic for your opinion letter.

Select a topic that is really important to you.

Prewriting to Develop Your Opinion

An opinion statement should identify a topic and state your feeling about it. Phrases and words like “I think,” “I believe,” “I feel,” “we need,” and “should” are often used when writing opinion statements.

Here is a formula that you can follow to write an opinion statement.

Topic

+

Feeling

=

Opinion Statement

an afternoon recess

 

is needed

 

I believe we should have an afternoon recess.

Topic

+

Feeling

=

Opinion Statement

streetlights on Island Avenue

 

we need more

 

We need more streetlights on Island Avenue.

Write your opinion statement.

Use the formula to develop your own opinion statement. (If needed, try more than one version.) Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  1. Write your topic:
  2.  

  3. Write a strong feeling you have about the topic:
  4.  

  5. Combine your answers to questions 1 and 2 to create your opinion statement. (Feel free to change the wording to make it clearer.)
  6.  

  7. Write your opinion statement in a different way (optional):
  8.  

Prewriting to Gather Reasons

A strong opinion should be supported by effective reasons. (Reasons answer the question “Why?”)

Opinion Statement:

I believe we should have an afternoon recess.

Reasons:

We get antsy after working in our seats for too long.

We don’t have a lot of time to play with friends.

We just need the exercise.

Support opinions with reasons.

Write your opinion statement and state three strong reasons to support it. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Opinion Statement:

 

Reason 1:

 

Reason 2:

 

Reason 3:

 

Prewriting to Order Your Reasons

The reasons in opinion letters are usually organized by order of importance. This means that the most important reason is stated first and the least important reason is stated last. (Or a writer can work the other way around.) In the sample letter about afternoon recess, the writer starts with his most important reason and ends with his least important reason.

Order reasons and add details.

List your reasons by order of importance. Under each reason, list details that you could use to explain or support your reasoning. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Reason 1:

 

Details:

 

Reason 2:

 

Details:

 

Reason 3:

 

Details:

 

Prewriting to Understand the Parts of Business Letters

Because an opinion letter is a type of business letter, you need to include these parts in this order.

  1. Heading The heading includes your address and the date you wrote the letter. Write the heading in the upper left-hand corner.
  2. Inside Address The inside address gives the reader’s name and address.
  3. Salutation The salutation is a polite way to say hello. Start with the word “Dear” and give the person’s name. Put a colon (:) after the person’s name.
  4. Body The body is the main part of the letter. It includes the beginning, middle, and ending.
  5. Complimentary closing The complimentary closing is a polite way to say good-bye. “Sincerely” is often used. Place a comma after the closing.
  6. Signature The signature is the final part of the letter. Write it beneath the closing. (If you are using a computer, leave four spaces after the closing, then type your name. Write your signature between the closing and your typed name.)
Business Letter Parts

Label the parts of a business letter.

Write the correct term in each blank: body, closing, heading, signature, inside address, salutation. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

1. _______________
1. Heading

Room 203
Parkview Middle School
Marshfield, MI 43000
May 1, 2018

2. _______________
2. Inside Address


Ms. Valerie Lynch
Science Teacher
Parkview Middle School
Marshfield, MI 43000

 

3. _______________
3. Salutation


Dear Ms. Lynch:

4. _______________
4. Body


My name is Sarah Taylor, and I am a fourth grader at Dyer School. The students in Ms. Larson’s class really like science. We feel Dyer School needs a science fair again.


First, we have done a lot of science projects this year. With our new science program, we are always building or testing something. My classmates would like to show their work to other people.


Second, science is really important. Ms. Larson always shares stories about science and how we need to understand science. A science fair would show that we value science.


Third, a science fair could help the school. If people in the community come to the fair, they will see all the good things we are doing. They might help us raise money for some new science equipment.


Thank you for reading my letter. We hope that you will bring back the science fair.

 

5. _______________
5. Complimentary closing

Sincerely,

6. _______________
6. Signature

Sarah Taylor

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