Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Persuaded or Informed?

Deborah Maksymyk


This activity incorporates real life media, such as the newspaper and/or magazines, to help students identify an author's purpose for writing, whether it is an informational or persuasive article.


The student identifies the author's purpose in a simple text.

The student distinguishes between informational and persuasive texts.


-One newspaper for each child
-A notebook or journal for each child


1. Collect newspapers from businesses or ask the children to bring one from home. One newspaper for each student is preferred.
2. Buy or have students bring a notebook for recording and collecting. Each child should have something in which they are able to record two different types of articles.
3. Teacher should collect and have ready all materials on the Materials List. (See Materials.)


1. If you do not have enough newspapers for each child to have his/her own copy, divide the class into groups so that each group has a newspaper, and pass out the papers. Otherwise, give each child a copy.

2. Tell the children to turn to the Editorial page in the newspaper. (You may want to tell the section and page number.) Select three or four letters from the editorial page which try to persuade the reader.

3. Read the three or four letters from the editorial page, one at a time aloud to the children.

4. After all letters have been read, elicit responses from the children about the purpose or reason the first one was written. You may want to take this time to have the children reread the letter with their group. Then, discuss how each letter is an opinion of the writer, but expresses a purpose, such as to persuade the reader to think or do as the writer.

5. Ask the children if the first letter is trying to get the reader to think the way the writer thinks or do something the writer thinks everyone should do. Make sure it is persuasive and explain that this is a persuasive letter because it is trying to get you to believe or do something.

6. Pass out notebooks to the children. In these notebooks the children will compile persuasive and informational material. The entries will be an on-going process.

7. Tell them to title the front cover of the whole notebook, An Author's Purpose for Writing. Then, tell them to write Persuasive Articles in large letters on the first page of the notebook as the title for this section of the notebook. This is the title page for this section. Tell them they may decorate it later.

8. Tell the children to cut out the first editorial letter, and glue it to the next page in the notebook (behind the Persuasive Articles title page.) Tell the children to write a short paragraph under the letter, telling the authorís purpose (to persuade) and explain why it is persuasive.

9. Do the very same with one other letter in the editorial page, keeping in mind you only want to focus on the persuasive letters.

10. Tell the children they will complete one other letter on their own as the class did in step 8. Tell them to complete the next article writing on the next page of this section. Allow about fifteen minutes to complete. Monitor children as they think and write.

11. Tell the children to turn to approximately the middle of their notebook/journal. Tell them to write Informational Articles on this page.

12. Tell the children you will now find examples of another type of purpose to write, which is called informational text. Discuss that the authorís purpose to inform is to tell something or give information about a subject.

13. Tell the children to turn to the front page of the newspaper. You should find an article that shows the authorís purpose to inform as a model. Ask the children to focus on the article you have found or find an informational letter in the editorial section and do the same.

14. Read the article to the children while they follow along. Ask the children if they were informed about anything in particular. Discuss each childís answer and find it in the text to point out to the other children who may be having difficulty understanding this concept.

15. Tell the children to cut out the discussed article and glue it to the page after the title page marked Informational Articles.

16. Tell the children to write a paragraph under the article, telling about the authorís purpose to inform and what information the reader will get from reading it. Monitor children as they think and write.

17. Tell the children they will now find text (an article) that shows the authorís purpose to inform, and they will glue it to the pages after the first one under the Informational Section of the notebook.

18. Tell the children to write about an article as they did in step 16. Allow approximately fifteen minutes for this to be completed.

19. Monitor students as they read, find information, and write about each article, making sure the authorís purpose is correct.

20. Asees the activity. (See Assessment.)


Note: This lesson assesses only a portion of this standard as outlined below.
Use the studentís journal/notebook to formatively assess studentís ability to
distinguish between informational and persuasive texts and to identify the authorís purpose in a simple text.


After the initial lesson and discussion, this activity can be completed each morning when the children first get to your room. They could keep the newspaper and use the same one for several days if you are short on newspapers. Many businesses will donate newspapers to your classroom. This is also a good homework assignment if you assign homework. Also, you can use magazine articles, as well as the newspaper. Then, have the children work in small groups to create a class magazine or newspaper with persuasive and informational articles.

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