- Describe and then refute the key points of the opposing view.
- Restate and reinforce the thesis and supporting evidence.
2. Drafting the Persuasive Essay
When writing the initial draft of a persuasive essay, consider the following suggestions:
- The introductory paragraph should have a strong “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention. Open with an unusual fact or statistic, a question or quotation, or an emphatic statement. For example: “Driving while talking on a cell phone, even hands-free, is the equivalent of driving drunk.”
- The thesis statement should leave no doubts about the writer’s position.
- Each body paragraph should cover a separate point, and the sentences of each paragraph should offer strong evidence in the form of facts, statistics, quotes from experts, and real-life examples.
The Secret to Good Paragraph Writing
- Consider various ways to make the argument, including using an analogy, drawing comparisons, or illustrating with hypothetical situation (e.g., what if, suppose that…).
- Don’t assume the audience has in-depth knowledge of the issue. Define terms and give background information.
- The concluding paragraph should summarize the most important evidence and encourage the reader to adopt the position or take action. The closing sentence can be a dramatic plea, a prediction that implies urgent action is needed, a question that provokes readers to think seriously about the issue, or a recommendation that gives readers specific ideas on what they can do.
3. Revising the Persuasive Essay
In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:
- Does the essay present a firm position on the issue, supported by relevant facts, statistics, quotes, and examples?
- Does the essay open with an effective “hook” that intrigues readers and keeps them reading?
- Does each paragraph offer compelling evidence focused on a single supporting point?
- Is the opposing point of view presented and convincingly refuted?
- Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise? Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
- Does the concluding paragraph convey the value of the writer’s position and urge the reader to think and act?
If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look the thesis. Does it present the strongest argument? Test it by writing a thesis statement for the opposing viewpoint. In comparison, does the original thesis need strengthening? Once the thesis presents a well-built argument with a clear adversarial viewpoint, the rest of the essay should fall into place more easily.
4. Editing the Persuasive Essay
Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.
5. Publishing the Persuasive Essay
Sharing a persuasive essay with the rest of the class or with family and friends can be both exciting and intimidating. Learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay even better.
Time4Writing Teaches Persuasive Essay Writing
Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. These online writing classes for elementary, middle school, and high school students, break down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence with each online writing course, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher. We first introduce essay writing to students at the elementary level, with our Beginning Essay Writing course, where they will have an opportunity to write their first five-paragraph essay. Our middle school online writing courses, Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay, teach students the fundamentals of writing essays, including the persuasive essay. The high school online writing class, Exciting Essay Writing, focuses in depth on the essay writing process with preparation for college as the goal. Time4Writing’s online writing classes for kids also cover how to interpret writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s progress with Time4Writing’s online writing courses.
In the “Writing with Purpose” section of the Pattern Based Writing: Quick & Easy Essay program, students learn to apply their new writing strategies to different types (or modes) of writing. The truth is — it’s quite easy to get students writing many different types of paragraphs when they have the right foundation.
Put simply, all of these different types of paragraphs simply involve layering on a different purpose or intent. When students have the right foundation, it’s just that simple.
What are you trying to achieve in this paragraph and in your whole composition? What is your purpose right here? Do you wish to describe? Do you want to evaluate? Is your goal to narrate? Is your intent to persuade?
When students don’t have a proper foundation, these questions don’t mean much to them. After Pattern Based Writing: Quick & Easy Essay, these questions mean a great deal.
It’s just that easy! For Writing Success CLICK HERE! Let’s get your students writing amazing paragraphs. Wait! Why stop there? Why not get your students writing entire essays filled full of amazing paragraphs? Check out the Pattern Based Writing program! It’s perfect for grades 2-6 and for remediation in middle school and above.
1. Describe: I am going to DESCRIBE a sunset!
Sunset is the time of day when our sky meets the outer space solar winds. There are blue, pink, and purple swirls, spinning and twisting, like clouds of balloons caught in a blender. The sun moves slowly to hide behind the line of horizon, while the moon races to take its place in prominence atop the night sky. People slow to a crawl, entranced, fully forgetting the deeds that still must be done. There is a coolness, a calmness, when the sun does set.
Informational Paragraph and a Narrative Paragraph
2. Inform: I am going to INFORM you about the Apollo 11 space mission.
On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 spacecraft launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Its mission was to go where no human being had gone before—the moon! The crew consisted of Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. The spacecraft landed on the moon in the Sea of Tranquility, a basaltic flood plain, on July 20, 1969. The moonwalk took place the following day. On July 21, 1969, at precisely 10:56 EDT, Commander Neil Armstrong emerged from the Lunar Module and took his famous first step onto the moon’s surface. He declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” It was a monumental moment in human history!
Narrate: I am going to NARRATE a story about the Apollo 11 space mission.
It was July 21, 1969, and Neil Armstrong awoke with a start. It was the day he would become the first human being to ever walk on the moon. The journey had begun several days earlier, when on July 16th, the Apollo 11 launched from Earth headed into outer space. On board with Neil Armstrong were Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. The crew landed on the moon in the Sea of Tranquility a day before the actual walk. Upon Neil’s first step onto the moon’s surface, he declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” It sure was!
Process or How-to Paragraph
3. Process: I am going to explain the PROCESS of cleaning and organizing your room.
How-to: I am going to describe HOW-TO clean and organize your room.
Here is the perfect system for cleaning your room. First, move all of the items that do not have a proper place to the center of the room. Get rid of at least five things that you have not used within the last year. Take out all of the trash, and place all of the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Now find a location for each of the items you had placed in the center of the room. For any remaining items, see if you can squeeze them in under your bed or stuff them into the back of your closet. See, that was easy!
Compare and Contrast Paragraph
4. Compare/Contrast: I am going to COMPARE and CONTRAST an ocean and a lake.
Oceans and lakes have much in common, but they are also quite different. Both are bodies of water, but oceans are very large bodies of salt water, while lakes are much smaller bodies of fresh water. Lakes are usually surrounded by land, while oceans are what surround continents. Both have plants and animals living in them. The ocean is home to the largest animals on the planet, whereas lakes support much smaller forms of life. When it is time for a vacation, both will make a great place to visit and enjoy.
5. Critique: I am going to CRITIQUE the Blue Whales’ first baseball game of the new season.
The Blue Whales just played their first baseball game of the new season; I believe there is much to be excited about. Although they lost, it was against an excellent team that had won the championship last year. The Blue Whales fell behind early but showed excellent teamwork and came back to tie the game. The team had 15 hits and scored 8 runs. That’s excellent! Unfortunately, they had 5 fielding errors, which kept the other team in the lead the entire game. The game ended with the umpire making a bad call, and if the call had gone the other way, the Blue Whales might have actually won the game. It wasn’t a victory, but I say the Blue Whales look like they have a shot at the championship, especially if they continue to improve.
Persuasive Paragraph and Argumentative Paragraph
6. Persuade: I am going to PERSUADE my neighbors to buy tickets to the school fair.
The school fair is right around the corner, and tickets have just gone on sale. We are selling a limited number of tickets at a discount, so move fast and get yours while they are still available. This is going to be an event you will not want to miss! First off, the school fair is a great value when compared with other forms of entertainment. Also, your ticket purchase will help our school, and when you help the school, it helps the entire community. But that’s not all! Every ticket you purchase enters you in a drawing to win fabulous prizes. And don’t forget, you will have mountains of fun because there are acres and acres of great rides, fun games, and entertaining attractions! Spend time with your family and friends at our school fair. Buy your tickets now!
Argue: I am going to present a logical ARGUMENT as to why my neighbor should attend the school fair.
The school fair is right around the corner, and tickets have just gone on sale. Even though you may be busy, you will still want to reserve just one day out of an entire year to relax and have fun with us. Even if you don’t have much money, you don’t have to worry. The school fair is a community event, and therefore prices are kept low. Perhaps, you are still not convinced. Maybe you feel you are too old for fairs, or you just don’t like them. Well, that’s what my grandfather thought, but he came to last year’s school fair and had this to say about it: “I had the best time of my life!” While it’s true you may be able to think of a reason not to come, I’m also sure you can think of several reasons why you must come. We look forward to seeing you at the school fair!
Problem and Solution Paragraph (Narrative Version and Informational Version)
7. Problem/Solution: I am going to describe a kitty door PROBLEM and then explain the kitty door SOLUTION.
Narrative Version (1st person)
Last week we installed a kitty door so that our cat could come and go as she pleases. Unfortunately, we ran into a problem. Our cat was afraid to use the kitty door. We tried pushing her through, and that caused her to be even more afraid. The kitty door was dark, and she couldn’t see what was on the other side. The first step we took in solving this problem was taping the kitty door open. After a couple of days, she was confidently coming and going through the open door. However, when we removed the tape and closed the door, once again, she would not go through. They say you catch more bees with honey, so we decided to use food as bait. We would sit next to the kitty door with a can of wet food and click the top of the can. When kitty came through the closed door, we would open the can and feed her. It took five days of doing this to make her unafraid of using the kitty door. Now we have just one last problem; our kitty controls our lives!
Expository/Informational Article Version – This began as one paragraph, but needed two—one for the problem and one for the solution. Also, notice that the second paragraph is a process paragraph. It would be very easy to add an introduction and conclusion to these two paragraphs and have a complete essay!
People often install a kitty door, only to discover that they have a problem. The problem is their cat will not use the kitty door. There are several common reasons why cats won’t use kitty doors. First, they may not understand how a kitty door works. They may not understand that it is a little doorway just for them. Second, many kitty doors are dark and cats cannot see to the other side. As such, they can’t be sure of what is on the other side of the door, so they won’t take the risk. One last reason cats won’t use kitty doors is because some cats don’t like the feeling of pushing through and then having the door drag across their back. But don’t worry—there are solutions to this problem.
The first step in solving the problem is to prop the door open with tape. This means your cat will now be able to see through to the other side; your cat will likely begin using the kitty door immediately. Once your cat has gotten used to using the kitty door, remove the tape. Sometimes cats will continue to use the kitty door without any more prompting. If this does not happen, you will want to use food to bribe your cat. When it’s feeding time, sit on the opposite side of the door from your cat and either click the top of the can or crinkle the cat food bag. Open the door to show your cat that it is both you and the food waiting on the other side of the door. Repeat this a couple times, and then feed your cat. After a couple days of this, your kitty door problem will be gone.
Cause and Effect Paragraph
8. Cause/Effect: I am going to explain the CAUSES that had the EFFECT of making me a high achieving student.
(Note: This is also a first person narrative.)
I do well in school, and people think I am smart because of it. But it’s not true. In fact, three years ago I struggled in school. However, two years ago I decided to get serious about school and made a few changes. First, I decided I would become interested in whatever was being taught, regardless of what other people thought. I also decided I would work hard every day and never give up on any assignment. I decided to never, never fall behind. Finally, I decided to make school a priority over friends and fun. After implementing these changes, I became an active participant in classroom discussions. Then my test scores began to rise. I still remember the first time that someone made fun of me because “I was smart.” How exciting! It seems to me that being smart is simply a matter of working hard and being interested. After all, learning a new video game is hard work even when you are interested. Unfortunately, learning a new video game doesn’t help you get into college or get a good job.
Personal Narrative Paragraph
9. Personal Narrative: I am going to give a PERSONAL NARRATION of an event that changed my life.
Last year was the first time I had ever been the new kid at school. For the first four days, I was completely alone. I don’t think I even spoke to a single person. Finally, at lunch on the fifth day, Karen Watson walked past her usual table and sat down right next to me. Even though I was new, I had already figured out who Karen Watson was. She was popular. Pretty soon, all of Karen’s friends were sitting there right next to me. I never became great friends with Karen, but after lunch that day, it seemed like all sorts of people were happy to be my friend. You cannot convince me that Karen did not know what she was doing. I have a great respect for her, and I learned a great deal about what it means to be a true leader.
After Pattern Based Writing: Quick & Easy Essay, when the students’ purpose or intent is to:
• Describe >>>> they write a >>>> Descriptive Paragraph
• Inform >>>> they write a >>>> Informative Paragraph
• Narrate >>>> they write a >>>> Narrative Paragraph
• Persuade >>>> they write a >>>> Persuasive Paragraph