Lesson plan

Letter Writes: Persuasive Opinion Writing

Students begin this letter-writing journey with a dog whose opinion is persuasively portrayed, and by learning that opinion is not fact. Activities include partner role-play and the chance for students to write a persuasive opinion letter of their own.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will be able to write a persuasive letter that expresses an opinion that addresses a concern.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School picture book and the Op-Ed editorial section of the newspaper and ask students to come together on the carpet or other whole group reading area.
  • Display the newspaper section and ask if any one has ever heard of writing a letter to the editor to express an opinion about a concern. Discuss and explain those two terms to introduce the picture book.
  • Hold up the book and introduce Ike as a character with a concern who writes letters to try to change his situation. Later we'll write our own letters about our own concerns.
(15 minutes)
  • Read the newspaper "article" that opens the story and explain that this gives us a factual account of what happened in the story. Ike will share his opinions in his letters that do not match the facts. Explain that opinions are more about feelings than facts.
  • Read the story and ask students to give respond as you read Ike's letters by showing an O with the thumb and index finger for Opinion and a T with one hand on top of the other for True fact.
  • Stop to ask students to look for picture clues that the author uses to help us figure out what is true fact and what is just Ike's opinion.
  • Think aloud that the newspaper articles helped the reader to determine what was fact and what was opinion in the story.
(10 minutes)
  • After the story, ask students if they noticed any patterns in Ike's letter about how he tried to get Mrs. LaRue to feel sorry for him.
  • Explain the concept of persuasion as the point of Ike's letters; he was trying to get Mrs. LaRue to bring him home.
  • Ask students if they can think of other ways to persuade others to do what we want them to do. Write responses on the board.
  • Give the partner activity assignment: Think about something you want for your birthday. Take turns playing parent and child to practice how to persuade your parents to buy you what you want.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students to complete the To Whom (My Opinion) May Concern Letter Writing Template after reading the directions aloud.
  • Circulate around the room to check for understanding and to answer questions that arise.
  • Enrichment: Advanced students can craft an editorial to put in the school or city newspaper about an issue that concerns them.
  • Support: Pair struggling learners with letter-writing mentors or allow the student to dictate the letter to the mentor or to you.
(5 minutes)
  • Use the letters to assess level of proficiency in use persuasion in opinion writing.
  • If desired, create critique groups to edit and prepare letters for publishing and/or to mail.
(10 minutes)
  • Gather students and have them share completed letters.
  • Ask students to show by nodding head yes or shaking head no if the letter writer convinced them to act on the concern.
  • Encourage writers to continue working on the letters to get more to agree to the changes proposed.

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