Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Are You for Real?

Stacy Durham


Students review newspaper articles, magazine articles and advertisements to determine if they are informative or persuasive. They identify the methods that the writers use to persuade or inform the audience.


The student uses text features to predict content and monitor comprehension (for example, glossary, headings, side-headings, sub-headings; paragraphs; print variations such as italics, bold face, underlines).

The student uses a variety of strategies to monitor reading in fourth-grade or higher texts (for example, rereading, self-correcting, summarizing, checking other sources, class and group discussions, questioning whether text makes sense, searching for cues, identifying miscues).

The student identifies and discusses the author's purpose in text.

The student distinguishes between informational and persuasive texts.

The student interprets messages conveyed through mass media.


-Local newspapers
-National newspapers
-Weekly Readers
-Highlighter markers
-For Real? worksheet


1. Obtain enough magazines, newspapers, Weekly Readers, etc. for each student. (the students can swap when they need to)

2. Make copies of the -For Real?- Worksheet (copy front to back- persuasive side and informative side)

3. Obtain enough highlighter markers for each student.

4. Find several informative and persuasive advertisements from various newspapers and magazines and post them around the classroom.


1. Have several advertisements from newspapers and magazines posted around the room. Some should be informative, and others should be persuasive. Discuss with the students the pictures, not mentioning which type of advertisements they are. Talk about the reasons why the artist might have chosen the illustrations that they did for the ad. What is the feeling, the message, or the total image of the ad? What is it trying to make us believe? Will using the product make our lives more rewarding? Will we look younger? Be smarter? What have we learned from the advertisement?

2. Discuss with the class the difference between persuasive and informative articles. Then, go through some of the advertisements on the walls around the room. Have the students tell if the advertisements are informative or persuasive.

3. Now, talk about written articles. How do authors use words, instead of illustrations, to persuade or inform their readers? Talk about various persuasive adjectives that could be used, such as wonderfully, marvelous, exciting, inviting, the best, ultimate experience, etc. Then, mention some informative words, such as; in fact, actually, in conclusion, tests show, research shows, etc. You may want to write these words on the board for the class to use while they are doing the assignment.

4. The childrenís assignment will be to look through magazines and newspapers to find one informative article and one persuasive article. When they locate the articles that they like, they are to read through them and highlight any key words that let them know which type of article it is.

5. After each student has two articles, have them come back together as a whole group. Pass out and explain the -For Real?- worksheet. One side of the sheet is for the persuasive article, and the other side is for the informative article. In a class discussion, talk about any of the key words and context clues that the students have found that helped them to decide the author's purpose.

6. The students should then fill out their -For Real?- worksheets. They should record any of the key words that they found and highlighted in their articles on this sheet.


Assessment of the students can come from any of the following methods:

-Completion of the activity- did the student look through the magazines and find two articles? Did the student highlight the key words that let us know what type of article it is?

-Completion of the two worksheets- Did the student fill out the worksheets completely? Did they correctly determine which type of articles they were? Did they have one persuasive and one informative article? Did they list the key words that were found in the articles?


This lesson could be extended by having the class design their own persuasive or informative written advertisements. You could have the class exchange papers and determine if the papers are informative or persuasive. You could even extend the assignment further to include television and radio advertisements. The children's job would be to list all of the -key words- from the advertisements, and then determine what type of ad it is. This should broaden the student's vocabulary, thus improving the overall class scores on written assessments.
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