Category Archives: touchstone texts

A Mentor Text for Persuasive Writing

As I plan for the coaching work I will be doing with intermediate teachers next month, I think about my favorite mentor texts that help me introduce specific genres.  Whether I am teaching students or teachers, immersing writers with captivating mentor texts (or touchstone texts) is crucial in helping them understand and appreciate a new writing genre.

One of my favorite mentor texts for persuasive writing is Should There Be Zoos?, which is a brilliant collection of student essays written by fourth graders who were guided by Tony Stead.  Too often, we limit persuasive writing to shallow topics such as “why I should get a certain toy for Christmas” because we as educators are uncomfortable with controversial topics.  And while certain topics are limited to more mature audiences, we know that children have plenty to say about social justice and environmental issues.

Persuasive writing provides us new opportunties to open the world to students, and invite them to take a stand on issues that matter to them and others.

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