Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Elementary School Writing: Persuason.

The purpose of this Blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels.

Title of Article: "The Elementary Persuasive Letter: Two Cases of Situated Competence, Strategy, and Agency"

It's not too early to introduce 3rd- and 4th-grade students to persuasive letter writing. Students should read persuasive texts to study the techniques of persuasion. DD Anderson. Research in the Teaching of English. (Feb. 08), 270-314.

RayS. The author gives examples of writing letters to the principal about a particular problem in the school. From my point of view, students will also learn the mechanics of letter writing from the inside address to the complimentary close. They will learn to address an envelope. I know that e-mail has replaced letter writing, but letter writing is still useful occasionally. Using the letter format for persuasive writing at this early age is short enough to introduce the techniques of persuasion. The authors also emphasize adjusting expression to the audience. Finally, students could learn to apply their lessons in persuasion to e-mail. If I were still teaching, I'd try it. [Note: If I could take time away from standardized tests to try it.]

The author gives an example of a child's persuasive letter:

Dear Mrs. Salvo, [principal]

My name is Brianna and I am a fourth grader at Acme Road School. I am writing to you because I think we should learn to speak a different language.

It will help us to be prepared for high school and college. It gives us time to practice it over before we go to high school. If we talk to someone who speaks a different language we will know how to communicate with them. I want to know if we could learn to speak a different language. Maybe you could get some books and a language teacher.

Thank you for reading my letter. Bye!


PP. 270-271.

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