Empowering Writers

Autumn – Opinion Writing Sample

What is your favorite season and why? Write a piece describing and explaining your favorite season. This was a prompt that until recently I would have used for my students when we were working on expository writing. It required little in the way of research, we knew a lot about autumn living in the northeast. However, when I really began to break a task like this down, I realized that what my students were writing was opinion in purpose. True exposition requires some kind of research unless a student brings a wealth of knowledge about a topic.

What I was really asking my students in an assignment like this was to make a choice, their favorite, and then to back that up with some sound reasoning. There are language cues that helped me to tailor other assignments for specific purpose. Some opinion language cues are: Explain why you like or why you’re in favor of, choose a position and provide reasons, and describe what you like or dislike. If the purpose of the assignment is informative, then these cues are helpful: Write an essay or report about, compare _____ to _____, or write a piece explaining.

The piece here, all about Autumn, has a great sense of voice and plenty of sensory detail that answers the question, What does it look like? There is a variety of main idea sentences, one is even a question. The author’s enthusiasm for the topic is apparent. There are however areas that need some work. For instance, the redundant language that appears throughout the piece or the “book ends” – the introduction and conclusion paragraphs could use to be stronger.

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