Crafting Your Persuasive Letter
Students will select an issue that they care about and craft a persuasive letter around that topic.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Ask students to discuss issues about their classroom, school, or community that are troublesome. Give them five minutes to work in groups and generate a list of at least three ideas.
- Have each group share one of their ideas.
- Instruct students to think about who is in charge (leader) of each policy or issue -- the teacher (you)? The principal? The mayor? The governor? The president? Write that person next to the issue.
- Tell students that one way to have agency (or power) in an issue is to voice your opinion. Good leaders listen to the people they are leading. They are now going to learn how to voice a concern in a well-written formal letter.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Select a topic that you will demonstrate the process to the class.
- Project the Crafting a Persuasive Letter Organizer worksheet for the class to see.
- Have students identify two to three reasons to persuade the reader of their opinion.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (30 minutes)
- With the topic selected to model for the class, use structure provided on the organizer to begin crafting a letter with the class in a shared writing exercise.
- Use the Sentence Frames for Persuasive Letters worksheet to demonstrate how to use effective phrases and transitions in the letter.
- Have students select one issue that they would like to see changed as a topic for their letter.
- Distribute the Crafting a Persuasive Letter Organizer worksheet.
- Instruct students to write their topic and the audience, or the decision maker in charge of that issue.
- Have students identify two to three reasons why they are advocating their stance.
Independent Working Time (40 minutes)
- Instruct students to use the same two resources to craft their letters.
- Provide a template for the letter, including designated blanks or lines for the date, greeting, body, salutation, and signature.
- Find an example of a persuasive letter or essay online and look at the structure together. Point out how the argument is made and the transitions.
- Have students find data or other evidence that would support their request and have them include it in their letter. This could include getting quotes from people who are affected by the issue.
- Invite students to type their letters on the computer if they drafted on paper.
- Ask students to type up their persuasive letters on the computers using a word processing program.
- Circulate the room to observe student writing during independent writing time. Ensure that each letter has all of the components listed on the Crafting a Persuasive Letter Organizer worksheet.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Ask students to share the biggest challenge they faced while crafting their letters.
- Pose the question: Why do you think that learning to write a letter to voice your opinion about something is an important skill? In what situations might you write a letter to persuade someone as a grown-up? Discuss.