Mastering persuasive writing is an important skill. But it takes lots of practice. Here's a fun way for your child to exercise his writing chops...and prove a point!
What You Need:
- Construction paper
- Pen or pencil
- Colored pencils or markers
- A collection of brochures
What You Do:
- Gather as many brochures, pamphlets or leaflets as you can find. Engage your child in the hunt. Scrounge for brochures at the doctor’s office, the local library, shopping malls, churches, supermarkets, and travel agents. Once you've collected at least half a dozen, lay them out on the table and study them with your child. Explain that the point of a brochure is to persuade the reader of some message—either to buy, to believe, or to do something. Ask your child to look at the brochures one by one, and for each, ask, "Did the brochure convince you of its message?" If yes, which key points were convincing? If no, why not? This is a great excuse to talk about persuasive writing, but also about marketing.
- Now it's time for your child to make his own brochure! Choose a topic he's passionate about. It can be something serious, like a nonprofit cause, or something more everyday, such as “soccer is the best sport”, "Mexico is the perfect place for a family vacation", or “broccoli is bad”. Together, brainstorm at least three persuasive arguments for his position. Remind your child that each statement should be supported with convincing details. Also, have him anticipate the arguments others might have against his main point.
- Encourage your child to use the brochures gathered earlier as inspiration for creating his brochure's design. He can use them to gather ideas on layout, design, and graphics. Once he's decided on a visual direction, it's time to work on the words themselves. The main message should be clearly written on the cover of the brochure. On the inside, your child should make a heading out of each of his key points, with a short paragraph of convincing details below each heading. When the words are done, he can add illustrations for even more persuasive power!
- Time to test just how persuasive he's become... Have your child hand out his brochures to family members and friends. Are they convinced?
Jane Oh has taught third and fourth grades for 8 years. She has worked with many diverse groups of students. Most recently, she has written teacher textbook guides.