As kids progress in their academic and professional careers, they will need to learn how to present opinions to their peers in a mindful and grounded way. Persuasive writing sharpens this skill because it requires the writer to back up their statements with solid evidence to convince the listener or reader of why they should consider their opinion.
Elements of Good Persuasive Writing for 5th Graders
A well-constructed persuasive piece should include a strong introduction, body paragraphs with supporting research and counter-arguments and a conclusion to summarize the author’s viewpoint. Here is a quick list of other things young students should include in their persuasive writing pieces:
- An active voice
- Positive or negative loaded words to show their position on the topic at hand
- Transitional words to their organize thoughts
- Reputable research and real-world examples to support the viewpoint
Great Persuasive Writing Starts with Solid Research
No persuasive piece is complete without thorough research. It is important that everyone - not just students - use research to support their viewpoint. The internet is an amazing resource for locating statistics, facts, and interesting information that can be used to back up an argument. However, it’s also riddled with false information and misleading articles.
Use persuasive writing lessons and activities as an opportunity to educate kids on simple practices in finding the best facts to back their claims.
Give them this checklist to ensure that they find the right facts to support their argument:
- Look for sources of authority like newspapers and university studies to find correct and authentic information.
- Make sure the website you’re visiting is original and safe. Look at the browser’s address bar to see if it has a lock icon. If it does not have one, your connection is not safe, and the information it provides may not be reliable.
- Use information responsibly. When you want to use a particular phrase or sentence for your essay or speech, give the publisher credit by saying, “According to,” before or after the statement, and remember to enclose what they said in quotation marks if you’re going to directly quote the person without any form of editing.
Another important part of persuasive writing is keeping everything organized. Download our free opinion-writing graphic organizer for 4th and 5th graders. This organizer can be printed and makes it much easier to create awesome persuasive writing pieces!
Persuasive writing skills play a significant role in everyday life, whether it’s requesting what a kid wants for lunch or explaining why one presidential candidate is a better choice than another.
Now, sometimes persuasive writing gets a bad rap because kids find it boring, but let’s change that mentality! Use these fun and insightful 5th grade persuasive writing prompts to help build their writing skills and give them an increased appreciation for persuasive writing.
Persuasive Prompt #1:You are running for president. What laws do you want to put in place? Use these laws to convince people to vote for you by making a campaign speech.
This prompt is perfect for your 5th graders, because by now they should understand the primary responsibilities of the president of the United States and have a baseline understanding of how the United States government works.
It also tests their ability to think about big-picture decisions. It’s always interesting to hear a young person’s perspective on public policy and see how their peers react to it.
Kickstart this prompt by having a quick discussion about specific issues in today’s society that your students feel should be addressed. For example, ask them how they feel about the nationwide issues and how those are being handled.
Do they feel that there are enough safety precautions? Do they think that people should be required to wear masks while they are out in public? Do they feel that the federal government should put its foot down and make safety precautions a requirement?
Have them write down their thoughts and ask them what they would do if they were the president of the United States in this situation. This exercise will help get the creative juices flowing for any students who are feeling a little stuck.
After they gather ideas for new laws, they can then brainstorm and research potential solutions to the issues they want to address in their campaign speeches. Have them create three columns on a piece of notebook paper with one labeled “Problems,” another labeled “Solutions,” and a third labeled “Notes.” This helps them organize their thoughts and will be a huge help when they start to craft their speeches.
Persuasive Prompt #2: Your parents have a rule that you don’t agree with. Give three reasons why they should change that rule.
We have yet to meet a kid who has to follow a rule at home that they don’t find annoying or flat-out unnecessary. It could be short screen-time, a specific bedtime or the classic make-your-bed-every-morning rule.
No matter what rule they choose to try and have changed, they are absolutely going to love this activity.
First, have the kids come up with a list of rules that they have in their household and rank them from “most annoying” to “least annoying” by using a number system. This will help them figure out which rule they really want to change and help them avoid switching their choice halfway through the activity.
Next, have them think of several reasons why they shouldn’t have to follow that rule anymore and write those reasons down. If they think of more than three reasons, encourage them to choose the ones that will make for the most solid argument - if they really want this rule to change, they will definitely take note of this.
They’ll need facts to back these reasons up, so give them time to do research online. For example, if a later bedtime is the issue in question, they can research how much sleep someone their age needs and use that to support their argument.
Persuasive Prompt #3: “Make up a new school club and write to persuade other students to join.”
How creative you want the kids to get with this persuasive writing prompt is entirely up to you. They can write solely about practical clubs, such as a photography meetup or a themed book club, or you could experiment with something slightly sillier and allow your students to come up with any kind of club they like, be it a magical gathering for young witches and wizards or a club for talking like pirates!
In either case, the goal for this persuasive prompt is the same—to convince other kids that their club is the best one to join.
Practicing 5th Grade Persuasive Writing
Writing persuasively is a learned skill that will benefit your students for years to come. Giving them a set of practices for persuasive writing will follow them throughout the rest of their lives as they continue to create their own opinions and grow as people.
Whether they’re writing to convince friends or family, the more 5th graders practice their persuasive writing, the more effective their writing will become. Publishing their work is an act of persuasion, too.
It helps convince the kids that they are every bit as capable and amazing as you’ve known they were all along, and it demonstrates just how much they can accomplish when they’re truly motivated.
Create a classbook project today to bring your students education and interactivity to the next level!
To find even more creative writing prompts and activities with which to engage your 5th grade students’ imaginations, check out our online teacher’s lounge, and sign up for your free publishing kit today!