Digging Deeper with Persuasive Text

I recently had the chance to work alongside a fourth grade teacher at my school and teach some lessons on persuasive text.  Persuasive text often got the short end of the stick when I was teaching fourth grade, and I really enjoyed diving deeper into this standard this time around.
Digging deeper with persuasive text

We started with fiction text because it’s what most kids are much more comfortable with it than nonfiction texts.  I chose the book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs for a few close listening lessons.  I chose it because the kids would already be familiar with the story and ready to dive in at a deeper level, and it’s full of persuasive language.  Plus, it’s just an awesome book.
We started out by connecting to a persuasive experience that all kids have experience with-trying to convince a parent to buy them something at the store.  We talked about how you can’t just say, “I want that.  Buy it for me.”  That never works!  The type of language you use has to be persuasive, and authors use that language, too.

Before reading the book, I asked the class to be on the lookout for persuasive language and to give me a thumbs up whenever they heard any.  This book is so filled with persuasive language, they could have had their thumbs up for nearly the entire book.  We stopped throughout the book to talk about the difference between pages that had just gave information and pages that had persuasive language.
We returned to the same book the following day to dive even deeper.  I added another element to our thinking.  An author of a persuasive text can’t just give information, he has to have an idea of what is already in the reader’s head, so he can use that to change a reader’s mind or appeal to those feelings.  We read through several parts of the book to look at what the author knew was in our mind about the wolf and his actions and how he tried to change our thinking on the those events.

As we were discussing this, I recorded our thoughts.  I was lucky enough to have a large number of copies of this book, so the kids were able to work as partners or individually to dive into the text on their own.

Good frame of reference for when introducing deeper topics in reading instruction.

I purposefully kept the assignment VERY simple because the thinking they needed to do was deep.  I enlarged the chart and ran it on 11x17 paper to give them big space for big ideas.  When kids are working as partners, it helps to give them paper that can be in front of both students.
Digging deeper with persuasive text


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