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Persuasive Essay Esl Lesson Plan

Language Arts

This persuasive writing lesson from ReadWriteThink uses the Beverly Cleary book Emily's Runaway Imagination as the springboard for kids to write letters to a librarian urging the addition of certain titles to the library. A Persuasion Map Planning Sheet(28K PDF)* guides students through steps similar to what is described above.

This resource shows the lifecycle of writing a persuasive letter to a child's parents about where to vacation for the summer. The PDF begins with the brainstorming, moves through drafting, editing, and publishing of the final letter.


From Writing Fix, here's a speech writing lesson that uses the mentor text Otto Runs for President in conjunction with the RAFT strategy. In this lesson, students assume to the role of a talking fruit or vegetable. Pretending that there's a "Fruit/Vegetable of the Year" election, the students will create a campaign speech that explains why their fruit/veggie is the best candidate for the job.

Writing a persuasive essay

This activity teaches students to write persuasive essay. The activity takes about 2-3 session periods.

The activity

  • Tell students to choose an item of clothing, food, drink, … to advertise to the class.
  • Students write a short commercial to advertise the product.
  • Class votes on most convincing (persuasive) commercial.
  • Discussion about persuasion and how it was used in the short commercials.
  • Give complex, debatable topics (capital punishment, abortion, corporal punishment, etc.) to discuss. These will help provoke thought and trigger reactions.
  • The oral debate of the topics  allows students time to develop opinions and share ideas.
  • Without any guidelines students are instructed to write an essay on the topic.
  • Tell students that opinion words (such as think, feel, in my opinion, etc. ) make the essay sound weaker. They should be avoided in a persuasive essay.
  • Briefly review students on formal writing style and essay formats, then discuss other guidelines for persuasive essays. The following are some key factors to discuss:
    • Do not use contractions
    • Use formal language
    • Write in first or third person only
    • Do not use “opinion words”
    • Have a strong introduction which states your view on the situation
    • Wrap up with a strong conclusion
  • Now have students write a 250-300 word persuasive essay.

Examples of topics for persuasive writing

The following are some good topic ideas for persuasive essays collected from various sources:

  • We spend billions of dollars on space discovery while millions of people die in Africa. Do you think this is fair?
  • There has been discussion of raising the legal driving age. How do you feel?
  • Should professional athletes be paid more than teachers?
  • Should public school students wear uniforms?
  • Should prayer be allowed in public schools?
  • Should capital punishment be banned