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WE 197 Writing Persuasive Essays

Teacher Tips and Answers


Page 197

Writing Persuasive Essays

Weighing Opinions
© Thoughtful Learning 2024

What should we do? That’s the age-old question, isn’t it?

You might have one idea: “Let’s join an after-school running club!” You’ve weighed the idea in your mind, and the positives win out. The club will be fun, and you can make new friends, and it’s not competitive.

Your friend might weigh the idea differently: “I’m not a big runner.”

How do you convince your friend to join you? You have to show all the pluses of your idea, ways it will make your friend’s life better. You can also remove some of the negatives: “We’ll go together, running sometimes and walking other times.”

If you do your job well, your friend will weigh your idea and say, “Let’s do it!” That’s the art of persuasion. This chapter teaches that art!

What’s Ahead

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Sample Persuasive Essay

Ava Jenkins thinks more girls should join an after-school running club. She supports her opinion with specific reasons.

Be a Girl on the Run

The writer makes a personal connection to the topic and states her opinion.
Have you ever had a goal that felt out of reach? When I signed up for Girls on the Run, running three miles seemed impossible, but I did it. Now I feel like I can do anything. You will feel the same way by participating in Girls on the Run.

The middle paragraphs explain Girls on the Run and give reasons to join.
Girls on the Run is an after-school organization that welcomes girls of all abilities. For three months, you will practice each week with a group of girls from your school or community. Coaches will help you build stamina and confidence to complete a 5K race.

The goal is not to be fastest or to win, but to work together so that everyone finishes. You may doubt yourself, but your teammates will inspire you!

Being in Girls on the Run is about so much more than running. You will get to know girls in different grades and form a sisterhood.

Most importantly, you will feel great in your own skin. Girls on the Run empowers you to be your true self and support other girls. You will work together, resolve conflicts, overcome challenges, and lead.

It all leads to a 5k fun run. You get to dress up in your silliest outfit. Family and friends cheer. All your hard work pays off as you cross the finish line.

The writer gives a final reason and calls the reader to act.
Girls on the Run connects you with others and shows that you can do anything. Sign up today!

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Writing a Persuasive Essay

The sample essay about Girls on the Run is a good model of persuasive writing. Here are writing guidelines for you to follow as you create your own essay.

Prewriting Planning Your Essay

Choose a Topic 🟪 Select a topic that you feel strongly about. It is much easier to develop a strong opinion when you write about something that you really believe in.

  • Topic: Focus on a specific topic, one that’s not too general. For example, it would be easier to write about a topic like “Clean up Rainbow Beach” than it would be to write about “Clean up our oceans.”

  • Audience: Think about your audience. Choose a topic that will be important to readers. For example, “Save our swimming pool” might be more interesting to your classmates than “Save our town hall.”

  • Voice: When writing a persuasive essay, be sure that you sound sincere and knowledgeable. You need to assure your reader that you know what you’re talking about and that you really do care.

Think of an Argument 🟪 Whatever your topic is, it should have two sides. There is little point arguing for something everyone already agrees with. The same topic for an explanatory (informative) essay could be changed into a persuasive essay.

Explanatory Essay

Persuasive Essay

Famous artists

Fund our arts program

After-school activities

Join Girls on the Run

Breeds of dogs

Support animal shelters

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Prewriting Gathering and Organizing Details

List Details 🟪 Start with details you already know. Then collect any additional information you may need.

Girls on the Run

    —An after-school program for girls

    —Welcomes girls of all abilities

    —Involves bonding and life skills

Reasons to join

    —Achieve goals

    —Form friendships and have fun

    —Improve self-confidence

Outline 🟪 You can also outline the information that you want to use to support your opinion. (You do not have to outline your beginning and ending paragraphs.)

Opinion: Girls should join Girls on the Run.

I. Girls on the Run is less competitive than sports.

    A. The goal is to finish the race, not to win.

    B. Girls work together and support each other.

    C. Coaches inspire you and help grow your stamina.

II. Girls on the Run builds a sisterhood.

    A. Girls from different grades meet.

    B. They form lasting friendships.

    C. Girls feel supported.

III. Girls on the Run improves your self-confidence.

    A. Coaches encourage you to be your true self.

    B. You learn leadership and conflict resolution.

    C. Girls feel empowered.

IV. Participate in a 5K fun run.

    A. Everyone wears silly outfits.

    B. You soak in cheers from family and friends.

    C. You can achieve your goal!

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Writing Developing the First Draft

Your persuasive essay may be a few paragraphs or many, but that will depend upon how much support you have to offer. Write your essay following your outline and the guidelines below.

Beginning 🟪 The first paragraph should introduce your topic and clearly state your opinion about it.

Middle 🟪 In the middle paragraphs, you need to support your opinion. Each main supporting idea and its supporting details go into a separate paragraph. So if you have two main ideas, the middle of your essay will most likely have two paragraphs.

Ending 🟪 The last paragraph should restate your opinion and tell your readers what action they might take or how they should feel.

Revising Improving Your Writing

Review your first draft using the following questions as a guide. Then ask someone else to review your essay.

_____ Does my beginning paragraph introduce my topic and clearly state my opinion?

_____ Do my middle paragraphs support my opinion?

_____ Does each main idea have its own paragraph?

_____ Does the ending restate my opinion?

_____ Do I give my readers an action they can take?

_____ Does the title help identify my essay’s subject?

Editing and Proofreading Polishing Your Essay

Check for Careless Errors 🟪 Once you’ve made the necessary changes and improvements in your first draft, it’s time to edit it. That means checking it for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. (See page 66 for a helpful checklist.) Then make a final copy and proofread your essay before sharing it.

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Ideas for Persuasive Essays

Persuasive writing is about stating an opinion and supporting it with strong reasons. You can write persuasively about all kinds of important issues. Here are some starters to get you going.

Problems and Solutions 🟪 Write about a problem that needs to be solved in your town or your school. Explain a bad habit. Point out something that isn’t fair or just. Name something that is wrong with the world and show how you would make it right.

Campaigns 🟪 Write an essay that gets people excited about a fund-raiser for an important cause. Help a friend run for office in your school. Explain a campaign to help a local charity. Ask readers to join an organization in your community.

Entertainment 🟪 Rate a movie and tell why you gave it the rating you did. List the three best songs you’ve ever heard and give reasons they are so good. Argue who is the best pop singer right now. Evaluate a new video game and tell why it is good or not so good.

Possibilities 🟪 Explain how a vacant lot in your neighborhood should be developed. Tell what mascot you think your school should have and why. Describe what types of fashion people should wear in the future. Give your vision for a city of tomorrow and show how it is better than cities of today.

Politics 🟪 Write about a candidate that you support and tell why. Name a law that you don’t support and tell why it is not fair or right. Describe a law that should exist and convince readers to help make it happen.

Tip The best persuasive writing presents a thoughtful argument. In other words, it is based on facts and details that can be checked for accuracy. It is not based on just the writer’s strong feelings.

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