Today I’m going to share 4 different picture books that I’ve used with years 2-5 to help reinforce the concepts involved in persuasive writing. I chose this topic because it’s getting to that time when we need to be thinking about this genre due to NAPLAN fast approaching.
I have used these books once I have taught or revised the structure of a persuasive argument, depending on what year I was teaching. I’ve found that they are best used once the children have a complete understanding of what a persuasive argument is all about, the structure that is used to write a complete argument and what persuasive devices can be used in an argument like high modality words, emotive language and rhetorical questions.
The books I’m going to talk about are I Wanna Iguana, Hey Little Ant, Can I Keep Him, Dear Mrs LaRue and Click Clack Moo Cows That Type. I’ve used these books in various year groups and have friends who have used them in different year groups. The activities that I’ve devised to go with the books are quite open-ended and can be used with different ability groups too. I wanna iguana- used in year 2,3, 4 & 5 Hey little ant- use din year 2,3 & 4 Can I keep him- used in year 2 Dear Mrs LaRue- used in year 3 & 4 Click clack moo- used in year 2, 3 & 4
These are the concepts I’ve used these books for.
I wanna iguana is about a little boy who’s friend is getting rid of his pet iguana. Alex, the main character, writes letters to his mum trying to persuade her to let him have the iguana. Mum writes back, explaining why each of his ideas is terrible.
I’ve used this book to reinforce the concept of what an opinion is and how to support it with valuable reasons. I have a set of slides that we go over each lesson on persuasive writing, which is what this opinion explanation is. Each lesson I get the kids to orally come up with supporting reasons for different topics, which is what this slide is for. The kids and I analysed the letters that Alex and his mum wrote to look at the supporting reasons they came up with. We analysed some as a class and they looked at some in partners.
The kids then had to come up with reasons why they would want an iguana as a pet and why they wouldn’t want an iguana as a pet and they set it out in a table like this. Last year I had a year 3/4 class and they had to turn their ides from the table into strong paragraphs.
Some of the letters have rhetorical questions which is a persuasive device that I have taught well into a topic of persuasive writing. We looked closely at the letters with rhetorical questions, how they were used to be persuasive and the structure of them. When the kids were doing to previous task of writing their for and against reasons for having an iguana as a pet I had the challenge for the higher achieving kids to use rhetorical questions in their writing.
A major activity that I have used this book for is to get the kids to think of different animals they would like as pets, come up with 3 strong reasons and then write a persuasive letter to their parents. We looked at some animals together and did some planning together. I used this activity to reinforce the concept of quick planning and using key words to jot down a plan so that on NAPLAN day they could do this. They then had to write their plan down in their writing book and use this as a guide for their letter. This was probably my favourite activity to use I wanna iguana for because I loved seeing the creative ideas the kids came up with.
This book is about a group of cows who are tired of the way their owner Farmer Brown is treating them so they go on strike and refuse to produce any milk until he improves conditions. They get their hands on a typewriter and write demands to him and Famer Brown writes back.
This book is filled with high modality words and emotive language like adjectives. During each lesson on persuasive writing we go through high modality words and what other types of strong words can be used. We then analysed each letter and discussed the words used.
The cows come up with lots of demands for Farmer Brown, such as wanting electric blankets in the barn. An activity that I did was to come up with other demands that the cows could come up with. Some of the ideas I got were chocolate flavoured hay, someone to read bedtime stories and lemonade to drink instead of water. The kids then wrote a persuasive letter to Farmer Brown, turning their demands into paragraphs that included high modality words and emotive language.
Another activity that I did with this book was to get them to think of things they would want to change in their home. They had to put these into a plan. Some of the things they thought of were TV whenever they wanted, being able to each junk food at all times of the day and locking annoying brothers and sisters in bedrooms for certain times of the day. They had to plan their reasons and then elaborate on them in a table like this.
Hey little ant is a conversation between an ant and a little boy. The boy wants to squash the ant and has convincing reasons for doing this and the and tries to convince him not to squash and has convincing reasons why he should be saved.
I did a similar activity with this book as I did with I wanna iguana. The kids and I analysed each part of the conversation and looked at the reasons each party had.
Something that I focus on with all my kids when teaching persuasive writing is adding more details to make their arguments stronger. We look at different arguments for different topics and make them stronger each day. The kids had to think of one reason for or against squashing the ant and then they had to write this into a paragraph. Their goal was to add more detail into it.
Like the last two books, a larger activity that can be done with hey little ant is to have the kids write a letter to the boy convincing him to either squash or save the ant. For my higher achieves I had them add a rebuttal into the letter by thinking about the table of for squashing and against squashing we had taken from the book.
I also had the kids do similar planning to the letter they wrote in I wanna iguana.
This book is about a dog called Ike who is sent to dog obedience school because he has been naughty. He write letters to his owner, Mrs LaRue trying to convince her to come and get him and take him home.
This is another terrific book for emphasising the use of high modality words and emotive language as Ike is pretty definite that he has done nothing wrong.
Like the previous books I analysed the letters and we looked at how different words were used to make Ike’s letters more convincing and persuasive.
Once we had looked at Ike’s letters each kid was given one of them to respond to, pretending they were Mrs LaRue. They had to think about different persuasive devices that they had seen in Ike’s letters and try to use these in their replies. Some things that I had them focus on were emphatic capitalisation, using strong words and using rhetorical questions.
Kristen Wilson - Persuasive Picture Books
Kristen Wilson Year 3 Teacher KDHS
picture books are
excellent for use
once the structure
of a persuasive
argument has been