In a digital world where we are inundated with videos, podcasts and tweets trying to persuade us to side with a cause, teaching students how to express their own opinions and write persuasively is a must. The following mentor texts for opinion writing offer opinion and persuasion do’s and don’ts by modeling techniques, counter claims, validity and alternate points of view.
Wilbur states a claim that he and his naked mole rat family should wear clothes in this popular Mo Willems picture book. Showing students a picture of a naked mole rat would lead them to believe Wilbur is spot on. But in order to support their opinion or persuade, reasons for the claim should be valid; looks don’t count. With a little bit of inquiry, students will easily be able to support the opinion that Wilbur is better off without his clothes.
Leveling Information: Grades P-3, Lexile AD470
In addition to persuading the reader to “go blue” and care for our earth, this book, co-written by Philippe Cousteau, serves as a great mentor text for opinion writing because it gives the reader tools to transform their own opinions and ideas into actions.
Leveling Information: Grades 6-12, Level Y, Lexile 1170
This informational texts takes a look at Sam Adams, cousin of President John Adams. In a time when walking and riding horses were the main modes of transportation, NOT riding a horse would be detrimental, to say the least! Students can read closely for the opinion of President John Adams, and the technique he used to persuade his cousin to finally get on that horse.
Leveling Information: Grades 4-6, Level S, Lexile 800
Young girls will relate as the little girl in this book shares her need for pierced ears. As she makes her argument, counterclaims from her parents are also included. Students can weigh the reasons to determine who has the most valid points.
Leveling Information: Grades 1-3, Lexile 470
The Let’s Think About It series helps students think critically about different issues such as animal rights and sustainable energy, and interpret the arguments presented.
Leveling Information: Grades 3-6, Level and Lexile vary by titles
Many students will relate to Elizabeth as she tries persuading her parents to share her opinion that she should get a pet. After they give her a cactus instead, she tries various techniques to get them to change their mind.
Leveling Information: Grades P-2, Lexile AD 210
Instead of offering different methods of persuasion, this story in its entirety has a message to persuade readers to be themselves.
Leveling Information: Grades K-4, Level N, Lexile NP
In another Seuss classic, Sam-I-Am tries to make a conviction about delicious green eggs and ham. Students can critique Sam-I-Am’s claims by asking themselves if it really matters if they are eaten here or there, with a fox or in a box. Would those reasons really convince someone to try a new food? What is their opinion?
Leveling Information: Grades P-2, Level J, Lexile 30
This series for younger readers offers two perspectives on an issue of interest. Topics such as junk food, homework and school uniforms will encourage students to look at topics relevant to their lives with an open mind and learn how to use facts, definitions and details to support their own opinion writing.
Leveling Information: Grades K-3 and 3-6, Level and Lexile vary by titles
This title takes a look at not only the nutrition in fast food, but also the persuasion efforts of fast food companies targeting young people. This will open the eyes of the reader, seeing advertisement, the optimum persuasion tool, in a whole new light.
Leveling Information: Grades 6-8, Level V, Lexile 1110
What mentor texts for opinion writing are your favorites to use in the classroom? Discover more books and collections to use as mentor texts for writing at Booksource.com or call 800.444.0435 and one of our title experts can recommend mentor texts specific to the needs of your classroom.