Before I started writing this blog, I took a few minutes to reflect on all of the genres I have learned about thus far. Persuasion is one genre that I do not have a lot of familiarity with and have never taught to students. I tend to work mostly with elementary students, and I wonder how I can integrate persuasive writing at an early age?
After reading Tompkins and hearing my peers’ presentation on Persuasion, I have developed a deeper understanding and am better able to explore how to utilize it with first and second graders. I believe it is best to introduce a new topic to young learners by performing a read-aloud. This allows time for the students to raise questions and take the reading at a slower pace. (Tompkins offers many great persuasive books for the primary level that are appropriate to use with first and second graders!) I would choose a fun and interesting book to read aloud as a whole group and then fill out a graphic organizer together. I think it would be difficult for younger students to understand the concept of a counterargument, so I would adapt my graphic organizer to include the main position of the story, three supporting reasons, and a conclusion. Then we would practice filling out a few more similar graphic organizers using simple topics; for example, as a class we would decide we wanted pizza for lunch every day…this would be our position, and then we would come up with three reasons for having pizza for lunch every day and a conclusion. Next, I would have students create their own persuasive writing by choosing a person they see as “the best super hero”, giving me three supporting reasons and a conclusion. They would start their writing by completing a graphic organizer to organize their ideas. Once they’re finished, I would meet with them one-on-one to hear their ideas and go over their writing. Lastly, students would write their final draft on a sheet of “super-power” paper.
There are so many ways you can use persuasion with younger students. Through writing this blog, I was able to explore one way I would utilize it in my own classroom. As an educator, it is important to keep in mind that students are capable of anything. It is all in how you teach it! Every student believes in something, and it is imperative for teachers to provide outlets for students to express themselves creatively.