NAPLAN is just around the corner and teachers are busy preparing their students in all aspects of numeracy and literacy.

Since 2015, there has been one writing task for Year 3 and 5 students, and another task for Year 7 and 9 students. Students are provided with a prompt and asked to write a response in a particular genre – either narrative or persuasive.

To help with these text types, we thought we would put together a simple “how-to” guide on each.  We’ll start with persuasive writing.

What is a persuasive text?

A persuasive text is any text where the main purpose is to present a point of view and seeks to persuade a reader. A persuasive text can be an argument, exposition, discussion, review or even an advertisement.

How is a persuasive text structured?

A persuasive text is organised to include a ‘statement of position’, ‘arguments’ and a ‘reinforcement of position statement’

The statement of position gives an overview of the argument and reveals the position to be argued.

Next is the arguments section which is a series of points with supporting evidence. Here is where you try to convince the reader into believing your point of view on a particular issue. As a basis, you should have at least three main argument points and can include more if necessary.

After you have put forth your arguments you then need to sum up. In this section you will strongly repeat what you believe in with a summary of your argument points.

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Grammar and language conventions used

  • Words with high modality, that is, words that show a high degree of certainty. For example – must, ought to, shall, has to. In comparison to words such as may, might, could and would that have low modality and show less certainty.
  • Emotive, descriptive words that appeal to the emotions. For example – wonderful, horrible, cruel, amazing, frightening, perfect.
  • A formal voice that is more authoritative and has more power of persuasion.
  • Repetition of words or phrases and concepts to push your point of view.
  • Connectives that help sequence your argument. For example – Firstly, Secondly..
  • Present tense

Use samples to increase understanding

If you are able to, find sample persuasive texts, grab a highlighter and start scanning them for main argument points, high modality words, emotive words and connectives. Working through a sample text is a great way to help you understand the general structure and sequence of a specific text.

Once you have deconstructed a sample text try writing a persuasive text yourself. You might want to have a friend write the opposing argument and you can compare afterwards.


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