Require WHAT & WHY in Primary Opinion Writing

FAQ: How do you address argument in the primary grades?

ANSWER: K-2 teachers often wonder how to address the argumentative writing standard. With our youngest writers, we work on the lowest form of argument–opinion writing.

As far as opinions, we know that five, six, and seven-year-olds have their own. They have favorites. They have things they strongly dislike, and they have a definitive sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair. And we know this because they’re always tattling on each other.

Encourage students to state an opinion and back it up or support it with multiple reasons why.

Provide sentence starters to support students when writing “the what” (their opinions). Consider phrases like: I think. . . or I feel. . .

When students add “the why,” the reasons to support their opinions, provide sentence starters like:

  • I think this because…
  • I feel that way because…
  • Another reason I think this is…

Beyond just writing opinions about various kid-friendly topics, look for ways to tie this to your reading. Here are three books that offer argumentative/opinion writing opportunities:

Hey, Little AntDuck! Rabbit!Spoon

After reading Hey Little Ant, kids write an opinion piece answering the questions: Should we or should we not squish the ant?

After reading Duck! Rabbit!, students have to decide, Is this a duck with a bill or a rabbit with ears?

After reading Spoon, students conclude if Spoon’s life is boring or not (as compared to other utensils).

In each written response, require that students state their opinions and then support their thinking with three different details from the text for why they think that.

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