7 Opinion Writing Mentor Texts for Upper Elementary

 

7 Opinion Writing Mentor Texts for Upper Elementary

When it comes to teaching writing, I can not live without mentor texts


Any writing genre is brought to life by reading mentor texts that engage students and get them excited to write their own pieces. Opinion writing is no exception. We love referring back to these opinion writing mentor texts throughout our entire opinion writing unit and all year long!


To kick off opinion writing, we discuss the elements found specifically in opinion writing, create opinion writing class anchor charts, and get knee-deep in these opinion writing mentor texts.


Read about each of my favorite opinion writing mentor texts below and grab a FREE opinion writing starter kit to help your students master the art of writing opinion essays. 



Which Would You Rather Be? 

written by William Steig


7 Opinion Writing Mentor Texts for Upper Elementary


Which would YOU rather be, an adult or a kid? Fun thought, right? This book is filled with just simple questions to ask students about which they would rather be. Students will practice answering opinion questions with their own thoughts and supporting reasons through this picture book read-aloud. This also provides great topics that you can assign students or groups of students to respond to in writing like, Which would you rather be, a cat or dog? This is a great one to read to kick off your opinion writing unit.



I Wanna Iguana 

written by Karen Orloff


opinion writing picture books


I Wanna Iguana, written by Karen Kaufman is one in a series of books that brings opinion and persuasive writing to life for kids. Written in a series of short letters between the main character Alex and his mom, this fun read-aloud will have your students rooting for the main character to get that iguana! Each page and short letter from Alex includes a reason he believes his mom should allow him to get a pet iguana. This fun family debate is perfect for any opinion writing, persuasive writing, and debate writing activity in your classroom!





The Perfect Pet 

written by Margie Palatini


7 Opinion Writing Mentor Texts for Upper Elementary


In this book, the main character Elizabeth really wants a pet. She tries to convince her parents to allow her to have a pet using different supporting reasons and examples of why it would be a good thing. The surprise ending will not only make your students giggle but help them to understand how opinion writing and persuasive writing are connected.


Be sure to grab the FREE opinion writing starter kit at the bottom of this post.


Southwest Sunrise 

written by Nikki Grimes


7 Opinion Writing Mentor Texts for Upper Elementary


This easily relatable story tells the tale of a young boy who moves from New York to New Mexico. When he first arrives in his new dwellings he hates New Mexico. As the story continues, and the main character explores all the wonders his new home has to offer, his opinion begins to change. I love reading this book and discussing its powerful message about how we can change our opinions. This book brings up discussions about how we should not form opinions without reasons or support to back up our opinions and about how our opinions can change. Very thought-provoking and a must-read!



Things To Do 

written by Elaine Magliaro


7 Opinion Writing Mentor Texts for Upper Elementary


Things to Do is an amazing collection of poems, each giving the reader an idea or opinion about what you can do as each topic. If you are a bird, you can stretch your wings. If you are an acorn you can tempt a squirrel. If you are rain, you can freckle windowpanes. I love having the students write quick opinion poetry about an object that they love or use each day following a read-aloud of this book. I especially love reading this book to show children that opinions are in many forms of writing, not just opinion writing essays. This is a fun one!



A Fine Fine School 

written by Sharon Creech


opinion writing read alouds


This book is a staple in my classroom! So many reasons to read and reread this book, one of my favorites is to discuss opinion writing and differing opinions. The principal in the book loves the school so much that he adds more days to the school calendar. The teachers and students have a different opinion about adding days to the school week and calendar. Nothing changes until one brave student decides to share her thoughts and opinions (with supporting reasons) with the school principal. This book provides a great opportunity to discuss differing opinions.


Be sure to grab the FREE opinion writing starter kit at the bottom of this post.


Great Kapok Tree 

written by Lynne Cherry


persuasive writing read aloud picture books


Don't just save a reading of The Great Kapok Tree for Earth Day or your favorite rainforest and endangered species project, read this book to explain opinion and persuasive writing to your students! This story illustrates opinion writing in a more subtle way. Each animal that lives in the Great Kapok Tree shares its opinion about why the tree is important and why it should not be chopped down. There are so many follow-up opinion and persuasive writing activities that you can do following a read-aloud of this book, making it the perfect mentor text for every upper elementary classroom.



When it comes to helping students fully grasp the genre of opinion writing, be sure to share mentor texts. They are perfect to read together, find evidence of the genre, and inspire your young writers!



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    3 Easy to Implement Tips to Teach Opinion Writing

     

    3 Easy to Implement Tips to Teach Opinion Writing


    Opinion writing is naturally a high-engagement unit. Students LOVE to share their opinions, verbally and in written form. I love harnessing all of their excitement into meaningful lessons that truly teach students each step of writing opinion pieces.


    When it comes to writing instruction we focus on three major units: narrative writing, procedural writing, and opinion and persuasive writing in the same unit. We group opinion and persuasive writing together since persuasive writing is focused on the writer's opinion. Once students have mastered opinion writing, we dive into persuasive writing. Persuasive writing goes one step further than opinion writing, as it not only shares the author's opinion but also focuses on convincing the reader that the author's opinion is correct with additional writing techniques. Come spring, we take a break from writing in these genres to get our writing feet wet with poetry writing.


    Here is how I break down the opinion writing genre for my upper elementary students to help them understand all of the different elements found in the writing genre. These tips are perfect for any opinion writing lesson at any time during the year or to tie together opinion writing and the seasons.


    Whether you are just beginning an opinion writing unit or reviewing this important writing skill these tips will help your students be successful in writing opinion pieces.  Be sure to grab the FREE opinion writing starter kit mentioned in this post.



    3 Easy to Implement Tips to Teach Opinion Writing


    What is Opinion Writing?

    Opinion writing is a form of writing where the author shares their opinion about something using examples and evidence. Ultimately, the writer wants the reader to agree with their opinion. By defining opinion writing as the very first step of teaching this writing genre, students know exactly what to look for when as we begin to explore our opinion writing mentor texts. 


    What does Opinion Writing sound like?


    Before we explore opinion writing mentor texts to truly see what opinion writing sounds like, we create two opinion writing anchor charts: one that includes a class agreed-upon definition and the second that includes opinion writing keywords.  Our list of keywords include:

    • I think
    • I believe
    • I feel
    • In my opinion
    • It seems to me
    • I prefer
    • My favorite
    • First, next, then, finally
    • In conclusion 


    We refer back to these two anchor charts as we read our mentor texts to help us gather evidence of opinion writing. 

    One of my favorite mentor texts to read that shows opinion writing in action is A Fine, Fine School written by Sharon Creech. (see all my favorite opinion writing mentor texts HERE.) 



    3 Easy to Implement Tips to Teach Opinion Writing



    Another way to show your students opinion writing in action is to use modeled writing. You can write your own, use student writing from previous years (be sure to take off the name and ask student permission first) or grab the monthly modeled writing that I use HERE or the modeled opinion writing for each season HERE

    Be sure to grab the FREE opinion writing starter kit mentioned in this post.



    opinion writing activities using modeled writing examples





    3 Easy to Implement Tips to Teach Opinion Writing


    How is Opinion Writing Organized?

    Teaching students the structure found in opinion writing pieces helps to scaffold instruction for all levels of learners.  By explicitly teaching the structure of opinion writing right from the start, students will understand the key components of this writing genre. When introducing this form of writing, these are the three components that I teach and expect from students:

    1. Introduction: Hook the reader, introduce the topic, clearly state your opinion with a thesis statement.
    2. Body: Be sure to include at least 3 specific examples to support your opinion, using keywords throughout the body.
    3. Conclusion: Wrap up with a strong conclusion statement that clearly states your opinion again.

    Once we have gone over and reviewed the structure of the opinion writing we go back to our opinion writing mentor texts and work together to identify the three components. If you have read several of opinion writing mentor texts, give groups of students one mentor text to reread, find the elements and share their findings with the class. You can create a chart that keeps track of each component of each picture book you read.

    Grab a FREE opinion writing student reference page at the bottom of this post to accompany your opinion writing lessons!




    opinion writing student reference page for interactive writing notebooks


    e sure to grab the FREE opinion writing starter kit right here!

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      3 Easy to Implement Tips to Teach Opinion Writing

      Students love sharing their opinion about things that they value and know a lot about! By using broad topics for opinion writing like, what is your favorite after-school activity, students can use their strengths and knowledge that they already have to successfully write an opinion writing essay. By doing this, you will keep students motivated and engagement high!


      TEACHER TIP: Not sure of an interest that will engage your students? Ask them! Brainstorm different topics with your students that they want to write about. From that list you can allow choice or assign a topic you want them to write.


      What Opinion Writing tips will help students shine?

      Build on student interest and motivation by teaching your kids some opinion writing tips that will make their essays top-notch.

      Try these tips:

      • Start off strong to engage your readers
      • Know who your audience is that is reading your writing
      • Use a mix of keywords, supporting details, and interesting word choice to keep readers engaged
      • Wrap up with a strong conclusion that restates your opinion



      Opinion writing is a genre of writing that engages all levels of writers! By introducing opinion writing lessons with a broad topic or something else that students are interested in, like seasonal activities or relevant topics, students become invested in writing their best pieces. 


      If you want to practice opinion writing all year long, introduce the genre in the fall and practice writing these pieces all year long! Follow these tips and you will see high success in your class!




      Looking for Opinion Writing Activities

      Try these print and digital opinion writing tasks your students will love!


      high interest topics for opinion writing upper elementary








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      opinion writing activities for upper elementary students





      *affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)

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