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New York, NY
PK - 12
Class Size:
Less than 10
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  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Dry erase board (optional)
  • Dry erase markers (optional)


 To identify the strengths and weaknesses of a persuasive argument.

Resource Instructions


  1. Discuss with students the concept and purpose of persuasive writing. Remind them that a specific audience, a clear purpose, supporting reasons, and persuasive word choices make for effective persuasive writing.

  2. Ask students about the TV commercials and print advertisements they have seen that are especially persuasive. Ask: What aspect of each advertisement or commercial, such as words or images, is most effective in persuading the audience? 

  3. Explain that each commercial or advertisement is targeted to a specific audience. Distribute a variety of magazine advertisements to the class geared toward preteens (e.g., advertisements for iPod, sneakers, clothing lines). Ask: Who is the audience for these advertisements? What makes the advertisement appealing or not appealing?

  4. Introduce students to some of the different devices that advertisers use to hold an audience:

  • Visual Imagery: Advertisers use visual imagery such as color, shapes, familiar icons, models, or background scenes they believe may be attractive to their audience (e.g., an advertisement geared toward getting more fans to attend baseball games might capture the excitement of the game by showing cheering crowds, hot finger foods, and a favored player hitting a home run).
  • Verbal Cues: Advertisers use words or phrases that will capture and hold the audience's attention (e.g., "It's out of here!" "Come and support your team!").
  • The "Everyone Else Has One" Hook: This is an effective way to attract the attention of anyone who doesn't want to stand out by being different.

  • Select one advertisement to post on the board. Use colored markers to point out examples of visual imagery and verbal cues, and identify the key audience.
  • WRITING ACTION (20 minutes)

    Distribute copies of Presenting Persuasively (Grades 6-8) Student Reproducible.


    Divide students into groups. Distribute colored markers and poster paper to each. Have each group select one of the advertisements they chose to critique. Explain to students that they will create an advertisement for the same product, but it should be targeted to a different audience.

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