Weaving Mentor Sentences into Your Writing Workshop: Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing is arguably one of the toughest writing genres to teach. One of the most effective ways to teach this skill is through the use of mentor texts. Carefully chosen examples from literature can guide students in understanding how to craft compelling arguments with flair and creativity. Teaching with mentor sentences from these books will also help students learn how to vary sentence structure and use language effectively. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to weave mentor sentences into your writing workshop, focusing specifically on persuasive writing across various genres.

Weave Mentor Sentences Into Writing Workshop Persuasive Writing

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Strategies for Using Mentor Texts in Persuasive Writing

Modeling and Application: Emphasize the importance of backing claims with reasons and evidence. Encourage students to mimic the style, structure, and argumentative techniques found in mentor texts, adapting them to their writing.

Focus on Style and Craft: Use mentor sentences to illustrate how authors use language to persuade. This includes the use of figurative language, varied sentence structures, and strategic punctuation to enhance the persuasive effect.

Brainstorming and Planning: Engage students in brainstorming sessions to generate ideas for their persuasive writing. This process helps students identify topics they are passionate about and develop arguments with clear claims and supporting evidence.

Revision and Imitation: Dedicate time for students to revise their work, focusing on incorporating elements from mentor sentences. This practice encourages students to refine their writing, paying close attention to the nuances of persuasive language and structure.

Mentor Texts to Consider for Persuasive Writing

You’ll find that most great examples of persuasive texts are fiction books, however, there are a few that are informational, written from the perspective of an animal, for instance. Here are a few of my favorites that will allow you to model persuasive techniques:

  • I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff: This is a great example of persuasive writing through letters between a child and a parent. The book provides a rich context for discussing the elements of persuasive writing, such as claims, counterclaims, and the use of evidence. This text, along with its sequel “I Wanna New Room,” serves as an excellent starting point for discussions on persuasive techniques, like anticipating objections, in a relatable and engaging manner.
I Wanna Iguana Persuasive Mentor Text and Mentor Sentence
  • Mo Willems’s Pigeon Books: These hilarious books show what not to do when persuading. They can be used to compare effective and ineffective persuasive techniques, providing a comprehensive understanding of persuasive writing. Looking at sentences containing all caps, for example, would provide ideas for ways to express inappropriate tone in writing.

  • Click-Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin: This book introduces persuasive writing through the lens of humor and conflict resolution. This text, although typically used more with more primary grades, still demonstrates how persuasion can be employed to initiate change through protesting and boycotting, making it an invaluable resource for teaching the fundamentals of argumentative writing.

  • Groundhog Gets a Say by Pamela Curtis Swallow: In this engaging tale, the groundhog passionately advocates for recognition beyond just Groundhog Day, providing a unique perspective on the animal’s life and contributions. This book is another one that blends informative content with fictional writing. It can be used to teach the elements of voice in persuasive writing, showing how personal experiences and emotions can strengthen arguments. Choose a mentor sentence that integrates personal anecdotes or factual information to make persuasive points more compelling.
Groundhog Gets a Say Mentor Text and Mentor Sentence
  • The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry: This mentor text shows how arguments can appeal to both emotion and reason. Each animal in the book gives a clear reason with supporting evidence of why the tree should not be cut down, providing good examples for students to imitate. Mentor sentence lessons could focus on the use of descriptive language like vivid verbs to promote visualization, helping to appeal to emotion.

  • Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest by Sarah Hampson: This valuable mentor text not only explores persuasive strategies but also comprehensive solutions. Through a heartfelt letter to the mayor, Dr. Coo hopes to change human perceptions about pigeons and outlines a proposal for peaceful coexistence, illustrating the power of persuasive writing in seeking win-win solutions. This book uses a variety of complex sentences which make great mentor sentences for demonstrating cause and effect as well as connecting ideas.
Dr Coo and the Pigeon Protest Mentor Text and Mentor Sentence
  • Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton: With an emphasis on the importance of bees to our ecosystem, this book combines humor and facts to persuade readers to appreciate and protect bees. This mentor text is ideal for discussing how to blend informative content with persuasive techniques, engaging readers on environmental issues. Choose mentor sentences that focus on the use of humor, factual evidence, and emotional appeals in persuasive writing, encouraging students to write persuasively about causes they are passionate about.

Ideas for Mentor Sentence Use in Persuasive Writing

  1. Read a text with persuasion examples.
  2. Explore a mentor sentence with persuasion or argument within it.
  3. Look at other sentences with that language from the same or previous texts.
  4. Brainstorm ideas with students.
  5. Allow students to choose a topic and apply the skill using models.
  6. Imitate the mentor sentence in their writing.
  7. Share, share, share!

Maximizing Your Time with Mentor Texts

If you’re interested in a more comprehensive guide, I offer a free course on maximizing your time with mentor texts. It includes a template to help you plan using one mentor text throughout various areas and provides a week of lessons in reading, writing, and mentor sentences. And it just so happens to focus on persuasive writing using the book, I Wanna Iguana!

Maximize Time with Mentor Texts

Persuasive writing is an essential skill that can be taught through various texts and genres. The ultimate goal of using mentor sentences is to ensure the skills learned are woven into their writing, allowing students to imitate the style and structure of the authors they read. Through the thoughtful selection of mentor sentences from great persuasive mentor texts, modeling techniques, and encouragement of revision and imitation, students can develop the skills necessary to persuade effectively in writing.