Persuasive Writers

9, 10, 11, 12

Through persuasive writing, young people build awareness and invite action for change about an issue. Typical writing forms may include essays, editorials, feature articles, or speeches.



PrintTwo 45-Minute Sessions

The learner will:

  • define community.
  • identify motivations for volunteering/giving.
  • use persuasive writing techniques to create a piece that builds awareness of a need and calls for action.
  • copies of handouts
  • examples of persuasive writing
Home Connection 

Learners may ask peers and family to help research their chosen community need. They may also give feedback on persuasiveness of writing.

  • Bullock, Richard.  The Norton Field Guide to Writing. W.W. Norton.  (ISBN 978-0-393-97776-9)
  • Crusius, Timothy W., and Carolyn E. Cannell. The Aims of Argument:A Text and Reader. 5th Ed. McGraw-Hill. (ISBN 0-07-320957-0)  
  • Lunsford, Andrea and Robert Connors. The New St. Martin’s Handbook. Boston:  Bedford/St. Martins, 1999. (ISBN: 0-312-16744-X)
  • Quindlen, Anna.  Thinking Out Loud. New York:  Random House, Rept. in Trimmer, Joseph F. Writing with a Purpose.Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995.
  • Romano, Tom. Crafting. Authentic Voice. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, 2004. (ISBN:0-325-00597-4)
  • Trimmer, Joseph F.  Writing with a Purpose. Boston:  Houghton Mifflan, 1995. (ISBN: 0-39534246-5)


  1. Anticipatory Set: 

    Define and discuss this vocabulary.

    • Community: A group of people living in the same area and under the same government; a class or group having common interests.
    • Social action: The process of acting for the good of all.

    Give each learner two sticky notes On one sticky note have them write what they think motivates adults to volunteer, or be philanthropic. On the second sticky note have them write what might motivate them (or other teens) to get involved in volunteering/giving activities.

  2. Distribute the handout below, Motivations of Giving.

  3. As they are reading, list the seven motivations from the handout as column headings on a display area. After reading, briefly discuss the seven motivations. Read the following statements aloud and ask which motivation each one represents.

    • “Hey, one good turn deserves another, I always say.” Giving Back
    • “I’d rather give locally than to a similar national organization” Being Part of a Community
    • “I guess I never really thought about it. It’s just something I’ve always done.” Family Tradition
    • “I give when my accountant says it would be in my best interest.” Good Business
    • “If the world is going to improve, we all need to pitch in.” Selfless Concern
    • “Some of my best friends throw great fundraising parties.” Social Function
    • “Aren’t we told to 'Do unto others as we would have them do unto us'?” Religion/Spiritual
  4. Have the learners look at their first sticky note that tells what motivates adults to give. They each place them under one of the seven categories that best matches their explanation. Discuss any new ideas or observations.

  5. Now distribute and have the learners read the handout: Top Ten Reasons for Youth to Volunteer. While they are reading, write the ten reasons on the display area.

  6. Have the learners reread their second sticky note (youth motivations) and come to the display area to place their comment in the column that best matches their personal motivation to give.

  7. Discuss the similarities and differences between adults and teens in the motivations for volunteering.

  8. Tell the learners that in the next few sessions they will be using persuasive writing to promote social action and motivate others to give time, talent, or treasure for the common good.

  9. Session Two:

    Working in small or whole group, discuss and complete the handout Issues or Concerns Brainstorming Worksheet, filling in issues they care about.

  10. Share a couple examples of people from today and the past who have advocated for change through their writing. (Two examples: Temple Grandin /resources/grandin-temple and Rachel Carson /resources/carson-rachel)

  11. Display a short example of good persuasive writing. Discuss whether the example uses these techniques writers use to persuade their audiences:

    • Good introduction with a strong statment of position.
    • Know who their audience is. Who are they trying to persuade or ask for help?
    • A clear argument of supporting evidence and reasoning from reliable sources. 
    • Include reason why others might think that the change can’t happen - opposing argument and why faulty.
    • Conclude with invitation for action.
  12. Each learner chooses an issue on which to write a well-researched, persuasive advocacy piece. They need to research the subject, decide on the audience, and choose the most effective persuasive writing techniques. 

    They draft, get feedback, revise, edit, and publish their piece where their designated audience will read it.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.6 Describe how the civil society sector is often the origin of new ideas, projects and innovation and social renewal.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.8 Explain how a robust civil-society sector supports civil society.
    2. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Describe how the common good was served in an historical event as a result of action by a civil society sector organization.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.