From Theory to Practice
Critical stance and development of a strong argument are key strategies when writing to convince someone to agree with your position. In this lesson, students explore environmental issues that are relevant to their own lives, self-select topics, and gather information to write persuasive essays. Students participate in peer conferences to aid in the revision process and evaluate their essays through self-assessment. Although this lesson focuses on the environment as a broad topic, many other topics can be easily substituted for reinforcement of persuasive writing.
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- Persuasion Map: Your students can use this online interactive tool to map out an argument for their persuasive essay.
- Persuasive Writing: This site offers information on the format of a persuasive essay, the writing and peer conferencing process, and a rubric for evaluating students' work.
- Role Play Activity sheet: Give your students the opportunity to see persuasion in action and to discuss the elements of a successful argument.
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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE
Buss, K., & Karnowski, L. (2002). Teaching persuasive texts. In Reading and writing nonfiction genres (pp. 7689). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
- The main purpose of persuasive texts is to present an argument or an opinion in an attempt to convince the reader to accept the writer's point of view.
- Reading and reacting to the opinions of others helps shape readers' beliefs about important issues, events, people, places, and things.
- This chapter highlights various techniques of persuasion through the use of minilessons. The language and format of several subgenres of persuasive writing are included as well.
Baker, E.A. (2000). Instructional approaches used to integrate literacy and technology. Reading Online, 4. Available: http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=/articles/baker/index.html
The inquiry approach gives students the opportunity to identify topics in which they are interested, research those topics, and present their findings. This approach is designed to be learner-centered as it encourages students to select their own research topics, rather than being told what to study.
Powell, R., Cantrell, S.C., & Adams, S. (2001). Saving Black Mountain: The promise of critical literacy in a multicultural democracy. The Reading Teacher, 54, 772781.
- The Saving Black Mountain project highlighted in this article exemplifies critical literacy in action. Students learn that, in a democratic society, their voices can make a difference.
- Critical literacy goes beyond providing authentic purposes and audiences for reading and writing, and considers the role of literacy in societal transformation. Students should be learning a great deal more than how to read and write. They should be learning about the power of literacy to make a difference.
Strangman, N. (2002/2003). Linking literacy, technology, and the environment: An interview with Joan Goble and René De Vries. Reading Online, 6. Available: http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=voices/goble_devries/index.html
- Endangered species and the environment are compelling topics for students of all ages and excellent raw materials for literacy learning.
- With only a minimal familiarity with the Internet and computers, students from kindergarten on up to high school can experience the double satisfaction of educating others about the environment and developing better literacy skills.
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It is a disappointment that people read books less often in these days of widespread technological reliance (Siam, Book Stats: Why We Should Care). Books were the primary source of intellectual entertainment just a hundred years ago, but with the invention of radio, television, cinematography, and most recently, the Internet and computer games, it seems that reading books is no longer a popular leisure activity. However, I believe that books are an irreplaceable part of our lives, and the role that masterfully-written books play in the personal growth and development of a particular person throughout one’s life is a remarkable one. Books directly expand our consciousness of how we live and where we live, enrich our power to express ourselves, and supply us with inspiration in a way that other mediums cannot compete with.
Books expand our knowledge and conception of the world around us (Jiken, Solidarity for Books). One may argue that films and TV documentaries do that too, but I believe that books are a much better alternative, since they allow each reader to experience the same story using one’s own imagination. When a hundred people watch a film
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