1. [Improve Your School] The local school committee is seeking ideas to improve your school. These
ideas will be discussed during meetings with students, teachers, parents, administrators, and other
interested parties. The changes proposed by students will be seriously considered since students are the
reason for the schools existence. Choose one change that might improve your school for all students.
Write a persuasive essay explaining why your suggested change is an improvement. Give at least three
reasons to support your suggestion.
2. [School Uniforms] Write a persuasive essay stating whether or not the students at your school should
be required to wear uniforms to school. Give at least three reasons to support your position. Remember,
you must argue in such a convincing manner that others will agree with you.
3. [Locker Searches/Personal Searches] The principal at your school has instituted random locker and
backpack/book bag searches to check for guns, knives, and other weapons. Anyone caught with these
weapons will be immediately suspended. The principal argues that the random searches will not only
guard against illegal weapons at school but will also will help students feel safer. What is your position
on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper stating your position and supporting it
with three convincing reasons.
4. [Censorship] Write a persuasive essay stating whether certain television programs that are considered
to be unsuitable should be censored for children under 16 in your community. Give at least three reasons
to support your position.
5. [Censorship] Your local public library has come under criticism for allowing patrons under the age
of 18 to check out books considered unacceptable. The books are either explicit, describe graphic
violence, or use questionable language. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of
your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with three convincing reasons.
6. [Too Much Homework] Some of the parents at your school have started a campaign to limit the
homework that teachers can assign to students. Teachers at your school have argued that the homework
is necessary. What is your position? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your
position and supporting it with three convincing arguments.
7. [Field Trips] In order to save money, your principal is thinking about canceling all field trips for the
remainder of the year! Write a letter to your principal persuading him or her to allow students to
continue attending field trips. Give at least three reasons to support your position.
8. [Online Schools] The state department of education has provided funding for an experimental online
school. All the classes will take place on the Internet, using email, online chat, and the world wide web.
The students taking classes at this new online school will never meet each other face-to-face. They will
only interact online with each other and with their teachers. The state is hoping this program will
provide fairer educational access to students in outlying, rural areas. Opponents of the program argue
that because of their lack of interaction with other students in a traditional classroom, the students who
attend this online school will not develop the social skills that should be a component of their education.
What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your
position on this issue and supporting it with three convincing reasons.
9. [Computers in the Classroom] As part of a new technology initiative, your local school district is
increasing the number of computers in every school. The district plan provides for two computers in
every classroom. Teachers at your school are lobbying instead to place all the computers together,
creating two computer-based classrooms so that all students in a class can work at the computers
together, rather than only one or two students at a time. The district is worried about the additional cost
of creating and maintaining these special classrooms and is concerned about how access to the
classrooms can be provided fairly and efficiently. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to
the editor of your local newspaper stating your point of view and supporting it with three convincing
10. [Bilingual Education] As part of a proposed educational initiative in your state, local school
districts are responsible for providing required courses in both English language and Spanish language
in order to increase the success of their programs. Because your state has a large population of Spanish
speakers, the state education department believes that teaching these students in their first language will
help them learn better and more quickly. Because of the limited budget, however, the local school board
is concerned that they may not be able to provide the additional teachers or training needed for this
program. They fear that they will lose state funding and accreditation even though 90% of the district's
students pass their achievement tests on the first try. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to
the editor of your local newspaper stating your point of view and supporting it with three convincing
11. [Grade Scale Change] One of the biology teachers at your school has decided to change from a ten-
point grade scale (100 to 90 is an A, 89 to 80 is a B, etc.) to a seven-point grade scale (100 to 93 is an A,
92 to 85 is a B, etc.). The teacher is trying to encourage students to put more effort into their classes by
raising the requirements. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local
newspaper stating your position and supporting it with convincing reasons.
12. [New Highway Exit] The state has created a plan to add a second highway exit to help shoppers
access a busy shopping mall. The only problem is that the new exit will move the access road 500 yards
closer to a near-by elementary school. Teachers and parents at the school complain that moving the road
closer will increase noise at the school and provide unnecessary distractions. The state planners have
included privacy fences to help cut down on the problems, but the protesters are unsatisfied. What is
your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your position and
supporting it with convincing reasons.
13. [Litter] A litter problem has developed on your school's campus. Students are throwing trash on the
ground, leaving empty soda cans and bottles outside on benches, and dropping napkins and other trash
on the cafeteria floor rather than carrying them to the trash can. Your principal has asked students to
take more care, but the litter problem persists. The principal has reacted by canceling all after-school
activities until the problem is taken care of. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the
editor of your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with convincing reasons.
14. [75 Hours Community Service] Write a persuasive essay telling whether you feel students should
be required to complete 75 hours of community service as part of their graduation requirements. Give at
least three reasons to support your position. The way in which you present your argument could decide
whether you will be required to do 75 hours of community service before you graduate from high
15. [Curfew] The mayor of your city is trying to decide if a 7:00 P.M. curfew for children under the age
of 16 is needed. What do you think? Write a persuasive essay to the mayor [ name ] to convince him to
enact or not to enact, the curfew. Give at least three reasons to support your position.
16. [Moving] Your family is getting ready to move to a new home and your parents have given you two
choices: in a neighborhood outside a city or on a farm in the country. Where would you like to live?
Write a letter to your family persuading them to live either outside the city or on a farm. Give at least
three reasons to support your choice.
17. [Extended School Day] Write a persuasive essay stating whether the school day should be
lengthened by two hours so that all students can get help with homework. Give at least two reasons to
support your position. Remember you must argue in such a convincing manner that others will agree
18. [Helmets] Write a persuasive essay stating whether children under the age of 16 should be required
to wear helmets while biking, scooting, skateboarding, rollerblading, and skiing. Give at least two
reasons to support your position. Remember, you must argue in such a convincing manner that others
will agree with you. The outcome of the state legislature's vote on helmets could be decided by your
19. Choose one film or book review that you have recently seen or read. (It's all right to have a copy of
the review in front of you as you write, if you wish) Briefly, summarize the review, giving the name of
the book or film. Then, state whether you agree or disagree with the review and why. Give enough
information and detail to convince a reader to agree with you. (Hint: Do NOT summarize the book or
film; instead, tell whether you think it is worth reading/seeing and why.)
20. Write an essay in which you strongly and clearly AGREE OR DISAGREE (but NOT both!) with
ONE of the following:
o Fads never really go out of style
o Life in the 21st Century will be better than ever
o People are happier than they used to be
o Americans are too concerned with material goods
o You can tell a lot about people by what they eat
o You can tell a lot about people by what they read
o The Internet is the best thing to ever happen to education
21. People worry too much about __________. Fill in the blank with any topic you like. Then, write a
paper that supports your statement. Convince others to agree with you.
22. Write a paper in which you AGREE OR DISAGREE with this statement:
It's more fun to be a child than to be an adult.
23. Pick something you're wearing or something in your desk or pocket. Write an advertisement for this
thing that would convince someone to buy it.
24. Think of ONE thing about television advertising you would like to see changed. Then, write a letter
to the Advertising Council explaining the change you want and the reasons you think this change is
25. "The most important quality any person can have is a sense of humor." Do you agree or disagree?
Write a paper in which you take a clear stand, agreeing or disagreeing with this statement, and explain
your position so the reader can understand fully why you came to feel the way you do.
26. Would you rather be an only child or have many brothers and sisters? Why?
27. Write a convincing paper in which you agree or disagree with this statement: "Life was easier for
teenagers 50 years ago than it is for teenagers today."
28. Write an essay proposing a new national holiday. You anticipate that there might be people who
don't agree with your idea, so defend your reasoning by explaining the meaning and background of the
event/person and why a national holiday is justified. You could describe how the holiday should be
observed or celebrated.
29. Many famous people, both real and fictional, have been honored by having their faces on postage
stamps. Choose a real or fictional person who you feel deserves this honor. Write a paper that would
persuade others your choice is good.
30. Photograph Writing. Students' comments and actions reflected increased insight as they began to see
photography as rhetoric, as language, and to see the analogies between photographic and verbal
expression. That understanding expanded their concept of literacy and encouraged them to explore new
possibilities in their writing.
Write a story from a photograph.
Getting Started Means Getting Organized
Getting organized is a vital part of the writing process which requires critical thinking and lots of
practice. It is important to first analyze the information that you have to understand what is being asked
in the assignment. Next, you need to think about the information that you know about the subject and
decide what is relevant to the topic. Then you must decide which information you will use and where it
will be most effective. These are the very basic steps.
The first step is to analyze the assignment and determine what is being required. If it is written, you
are lucky. You can use a highlighter to note the important words that help define the topic and aid in
setting up the organizational plan. For example, let's assume that you have been given this writing
Everyone has been given a present that was really memorable. It could have been for an important
occasion or just for no reason at all. Think about one that you received. Tell us about a present you were
given and why it was memorable. Be sure to include the reason it was given, a description of it, and how
you felt when you got it.
This tells us you are to write a narrative essay because you are "telling us about a present you were
given," the subject is a memorable present, and the three main subtopics required are:
the reason it was given,
a description of it,
and how you felt when you received it.
If the directions were given orally, it does pay to stop and jot down the important words on your
planner so that you do not skip any important points.
Once you know and understand the scope of the assignment, you need to plan well and quickly. The
better the planning, the better the essay.
There are many organizational techniques that can help. If you need information or want to learn
more about various techniques to organize your thoughts, here are some excellent places to visit for
General Procedures for Writing an Assigned Essay - a good format to use when writing
Sample Outlines - review and examples
Graphic Organizers - explains the basic spider-ing approach
10 Ways to Use Venn Diagrams - really helpful information
Organization Patterns - basic guide for the 5 paragraph essay
An Essay is Like a Journey - good basic information
General Procedures for Writing an Assigned Essay - a good format to use when writing
Decision Trees - could be used for persuasive essays
Pick a format that fits your learning style, and practice using it. Soon it will become easy to plan. Once
you master good planning, the essay almost seems to write itself.
Now that organization is no problem, let's get to writing the essay.
Writing the Essay
There are things that one needs to know that contribute to excellence in writing. They are not hard to
learn. Once you know them, they do take practice to gain proficiency. That practice makes all the
difference in the world.
Think of the five paragraph essay as having five separate parts. Learn to master each of the parts one
at a time. As you become proficient with one part, work on proficiency in the next. Writing the
introduction and the conclusion are strongly linked. Working on them in sequence will make the job
easier. Then tackle the body paragraphs, one at a time. With the inclusion of transitions, you will get the
feel and flow of the essay. Put them all together, and you will have the first draft of your essay.
Here are some sites that will help you to improve your understanding and technique:
These sites review individual paragraph writing.
Writing Effective Introductions - clear advice with examples
Thesis Statement - be sure to scroll to check for the answers
What not to do in the Introduction - explains why
Writing and Essay - great visual with examples
Writing Vivid Paragraphs- good examples drives home the points made
How Do I Write Body or Support Paragraphs - good basic information
Transitions - discusses the need for and types of transitions
Transition Words and Phrases - Writing Effective Conclusions - good ideas with examples
Strategies for Writing a Conclusion - These are things to consider
Writing conclusions - good examples help you see the points
Editing, Revising, and Evaluating
It is important the every writer learn to evaluate and edit his or her own work. One always wants to
put their "best foot forward" and have their efforts understood and appreciated. It is amazing how even
little things can detract from the reader's appreciation of the work. So this area is most important.
Editing is far more than correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It is most important that the
writer check that the logic is well crafted so that the reader is drawn to the point that is made. It is
imperative that the reader not be bored by the use of repeating and dull sentence structure, generalities,
and imprecise word choice. This takes time, but it is time that is well spent. By acquiring the skills
necessary and putting in the time and effort, the writer can take something that is just ordinary and turn
it into an essay that is very good. Having your name on a paper that is well crafted, written and logical
can bring a great deal of positive self esteem.
Be aware that even the best of writers usually have pretty bad first drafts.
Some of the sites below may help you perfect your editing skills.
Run-on Sentences - explains what they are and how to repair them
Trouble Shooting Your Sentences - good ideas to make them more vivid and precise
Appositives - These rules are often confused.
Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation -
Guide to Grammar and Writing - pretty complete handbook
The Rewriting and Editing Process
Editing Paragraphs - list of things to check
Persuasive Essay and Prompts
Persuasive writing attempts to convince the reader that the point of view or course of action
recommended by the writer is valid. To accomplish this, the writer must develop a limited topic which is
well defined and debatable, that is has more than one side. It is important that the author understand
other sides of the position so that the strongest information to counter the others can be presented. In the
essay, only one side of the issue is presented.
Like all kinds of five paragraph essays, there is a specific format to be followed.
The topic sentence cannot be a fact as facts cannot be debated. It should be a statement of
position. That position must be clear and direct. This statement directs the readers to
follow along with your logic towards the specific stated conclusion that you want them to
support. Do not make it personal so do not use personal pronouns. Make it definitive.
Then, in the same introductory paragraph, state the three best reasons that you have to
support your position as the remainder of the opening paragraph. These reasons become
the topics of each of the three supporting paragraphs. Again, be sure they are able to be
supported with additional separate facts.
In the body of the essay, the writer uses specific evidence, examples, and statistics and
not broad generalizations or personal opinions to persuade the reader that the stated
position is a valid one. Each topic sentence for the support paragraphs have been
introduced in the beginning paragraph. Each additional sentence must closely relate to the
topic and the sentence that came before it. This way, the logic of the argument is easy to
Be sure to use adequate transitions between paragraphs as they make it easy for the
reader to follow the logic of the presentation.
As one closes the essay, it is most important to clearly redefine the topic and restate the
most compelling evidence cited in original form. Remember, this is the last chance to
remind the reader and convince him/her to accept the writer's position.
Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
To learn some addition things about constructing this type of essay, visit one of the following:
Persuasive Essay Description
Persuasive Essay Tips
Tips on Persuasive Logical Writing