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Opinion, Persuasive, and Argument Writing: What's the Difference?

Most of the teachers I've been working with this past fall are knee-deep into the (relatively!) new Units of Study for Writing Workshop put out by Lucy Calkins and her brilliant team. One of the most common questions I've been asked these last few months is about the differences between opinion, persuasive and argument writing.

I've heard kindergarten teachers fret over thinking they must get their five-year-olds to engage in critical debates over whether Frozen or Tangled is the most magical movie of all time... and then write about it! And teachers of fifth-graders are wondering why their students are writing superficial essays about which subject is their favorite.

The differences between the genres can seem slight and this confusion can cause teachers to plan lessons that may not be developmentally appropriate. In an attempt to answer some of your questions and alleviate some concerns when it comes to non-narrative writing, I've created an infographic. Check it out below. It compares the purpose, tone, and technique for each of the genres in a concise manner.

Print it out and hang it by your desk as a reminder of what to expect of your students for each genre!

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