Convince Me! A Persuasive Writing Activity

Teaching Your Child to Argue in Writing

Child writing
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​As your child starts learning more complicated types of writing, she’ll be introduced to the idea of persuasive writing. If she’s the type of kid who frequently challenges or debates what you have to say, then the hardest part of persuasive writing will probably be the writing itself—she’s already working on the persuasion piece!

The Convince Me! activity is an easy way for you and your child to practice persuasive writing at home, without the worry of getting a good grade.

Persuasive writing puts the everyday challenges and debates into a written form. A good piece of persuasive writing explains the issue at stake, takes a position, and then explains the position and its opposing stance. Using facts, statistics and some common persuasive strategies, your child’s argument essay tries to convince the reader to agree with her.

It may sound easy, but if your child doesn't hold her own well in arguments or has trouble doing research, she may need some practice to become convincing.

What Your Child Will Learn (or Practice):

  • Persuasive writing
  • Research
  • Analytical thinking
  • Negotiation and written communication

Getting Started with the Convince Me! Persuasive Writing Activity

  1. Sit down with your child and talk about she needs to do to make somebody else see her side of an issue. Explain that while sometimes she argues, when she backs up what she’s saying with good reasons, what she’s really doing is convincing the other person, given the other person justification for seeing things her way.
  2. Prompt her to come up with some examples of situations in which she tried to change your mind about something she didn't agree with. For example, maybe she’s successfully negotiated an increase in her allowance. Tell her that the word for what she did was to persuade you, which means she was influencing what you thought or was convincing you to look at things differently.
  3. Together, brainstorm words and phrases that can to try to persuade someone and write them down.
  4. Talk about things that happen around the house that you and your child don’t always agree on. You may want to stick with topics that are not going to cause huge fights since this is supposed to be a fun activity. Some ideas to consider include: allowance, bedtime, how much screen time your child has daily, making her bed, the time frame in which laundry has to be put away, the division of chores between children, or what types of food she can eat for after-school snacks. (Of course, these are simply suggestions, there may be other issues that come up in your household that aren't on that list.)
  1. Choose one and let your child know you might be willing to change your mind about it if she can write a convincing and persuasive essay explaining her reasoning. Make sure she knows her essay has to say what she thinks should happen and use some persuasive words, phrases and strategies.
  2. It is absolutely crucial to make sure to set the conditions under which you’ll give in. For example, maybe her goal is to try to convince you to change your mind about eating sugary cereal over the summer, not for the rest of her life. If she convinces you, you must live with the change. Set the rules for engagement first, and don't change them.
  3. Read the essay and consider her arguments. Talk to her about what you thought was convincing and which arguments didn't convince you (and why). If you’re not totally persuaded, give your child the opportunity to rewrite the essay with your feedback in mind.

Note: Don’t forget, you really need to be prepared to make changes if your child is persuasive enough! It’s important to reward her if she writes a very good piece of persuasive writing.