Language devices

Writing for the purpose of expressing and supporting an opinion using persuasive devices. Persuasive texts seek to convince the audience of an argument or point of view using persuasive devices. Students in Stage 1 need to be able to use language features that help a text serve its purpose.

Persuasive devices: Why do I think that?

Strategy

Explicit teaching

Teach students to state their ideas more convincingly when speaking and writing by using words like ‘because’ or ‘should’ to support their opinion with reasons or persuasive devices. Compound sentences allow students to link two ideas to provide more information or evidence to support their point of view or argument. Model and explore convincing language (modality).

e.g. I like forests.
I like forests because birds live there. (compound sentence).
We should protect forest wildlife. (modal verb).

General strategies

Model elaborating on your own opinion in different learning areas when speaking, writing and drawing and prompt students to give reasons and elaborations when contributing their response or opinions e.g. Why do you think the answer to this problem is 25?
Prediction is a useful means for modelling and encouraging the language of opinion. Prompt for student predictions during orientations to texts and ask other students why they agree or disagree. The beginning or end of a new unit of learning (or a new focus within a unit of learning) is often a good opportunity to ask students for their opinions and scaffold elaboration, e.g. What do you we should learn about (topic)? Why would you like to learn about (topic)?
Use sentence scaffolds and vocabulary banks to guide students in expressing their opinion using language features that support their point of view:

I think…because…
I believe…is better than…
A good reason for…
It is important to…
We should…

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1: opinionated language bank

Creating a language bank for opinionated speaking and writing will support students becoming familiar with persuasive devices and using them in text composition.

  • Record and display a class brainstorm of thinking and feeling verbs: think, believe, convince, dream, etc.
  • Record and display a class brainstorm of convincing or persuasive vocabulary: should, important, have to, etc.
  • Point out examples of opinionated language in shared texts.
  • Add to the brainstorms as students encounter or generate other vocabulary.
  • Play ‘word detective’ as a lesson break or writing warm-up to support recognition and use of environmental print (can be used for all print): state a word from the brainstorm and give a student 30sec/1min to find the word, the student remains the detective until they do not find a word in time and then another student becomes the detective.

Activity 2: convincing ideas

This activity can be implemented as a whole class lesson or a regular literacy centre activity to familiarise students with the use of persuasive devices to express their opinion.

  • Display or provide students with opinion statements that lack elaboration or persuasive devices.
  • Guide students through an example (or have one example written for a literacy centre) by reviewing the statement and adding to it or rewording it so that it is more convincing.
  • Ask students to review the rest of the sentences to elaborate and persuade (can be completed as a whole class, in small groups, in pairs or independently).

References

Australian curriculum

ACELA1447: Text structure and organisation: Understand that the purposes texts serve shape their structure in predictable ways.

NSW syllabus

EN1-7B: Outcome 7: identifies how language use in their own writing differs according to their purpose, audience and subject matter  (EN1-7B) - Understand and apply knowledge of language forms and features: understand that different types of texts have identifiable text structures and language features that help the text serve its purpose

NSW literacy continuum

WRIC6M7: Aspects of writing, Cluster 6, Marker 7: Experiments with using some complex sentences to enhance writing.

Teacher resources

  • The official website for Cool Australia’s teaching Toolbox (free but may require registration) with a huge variety of resources for all stages based around environmental themes. This site has a broad range of videos and texts that utilise persuasive devices and would suit cross-curriculum learning: coolaustralia.org/student-toolbox
  • A collection of adaptable learning activities to develop students understanding of persuasive devices:
    First Steps, Writing Resource Book (p.111-112), download as pdf: det.wa.edu.au
  • First Steps, Department of Education WA. (2013). Writing Resource Book. Western Australia: Author.

Student resources

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