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 this FREE opinion writing student reference page 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

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