Persuasive Writing Prompts for ESL

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Learning to write persuasively can bring the task of writing to life. This lesson presents persuasive writing prompts to help your ESL students understand just how effective good writing can be.

Persuasive Writing Matters

Are you a teacher of ESL students? You might be looking for ways to help your students understand why writing is important. One genre that can really help engage students is the persuasive essay. When students write persuasively, they get to express their points of view and try to convince others to agree with them. For ESL students, persuasive writing can be especially empowering, and it also provides an opportunity to strengthen vocabulary and try out new and complex syntactical patterns.

The prompts in this lesson are designed to help students at different levels practice persuasive writing.

Prompts for Elementary Students

The prompts in this section are appropriate for students in elementary school. These students might only be beginning writers, but they are sure to have strong points of view. Your job as a teacher is to help them express their opinions in writing.

Persuading Parents

Think of something you really wish your parents would get you, such as a pet or a new toy. Write a paragraph or essay persuading your parents to get you this thing. Make sure you include at least three reasons that this pet or toy would be a good addition to your family's life.

Persuading Teachers

Do you think you get too much homework at school? If so, write a paragraph or essay persuading your teacher that you should have a homework-free month. In your writing, offer specific reasons why homework is a problem. Be sure to explain how you will use the time you gain from not having homework.

Persuading School Administrators

Some people think all schools should have uniforms, while other people think school uniforms are a problem. Choose one side of this debate, and write a short essay arguing for why uniforms are or are not important for students' well-being at school. Give as many specific ideas and examples to support your point of view as you can think of.

Persuading the Community

Think of something in your neighborhood or community that is bothering you. For instance, maybe people litter too much or drive too fast. Write a persuasive letter to the editor of your local newspaper, explaining why people should work on changing the problem behavior. In your letter, explain why the behavior is a problem and offer strong but reasonable alternatives.

Prompts for Middle and High School Students

These prompts are oriented toward the somewhat more sophisticated writing and thinking that students in middle and high school are capable of. Some prompts also try to get at some of the issues that affect ESL students most acutely.

Should ESL Students Be Mainstreamed?

Some people think that ESL students should always be integrated into classes with the rest of the school, while others believe that ESL students should have separate classes. What is your opinion? Write an essay persuading school leaders or administrators of the best way to educate ESL students. Use examples from your own experience and knowledge to prove your argument.

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