With the advent of the CCSS, everyone is concerned about teaching Opinion Writing in response to text, to issues, situations, likes and dislikes.
The underlying organizational structure of a well-crafted opinion piece has its foundation in expository/informative writing. It shares other characteristics with expository/informative writing as well. A strong opinion piece begins with an introduction that includes a lead to grab the reader’s attention, and an opinion statement (much like a topic sentence) to give the reader a sense of the reasons that support the writer’s opinion or point of view. The middle of the opinion piece is called the body, made up of a number of paragraphs. Each paragraph is built around a reason (just as expository/informative writing uses main ideas). The reason is supported by a number of fully elaborated details that influence and inform the writer’s opinion. These details and facts might include the use of sensory information, relevance to the reason stated, and powerful tools for showing, rather than telling – ex. quotes, statistics, amazing facts, descriptive segments, anecdotes.) Like the expository/informative piece, opinion pieces end with a conclusion paragraph in which the main reasons are reiterated to fully drive home the author’s point of view.
It is critically important for students to recognize the difference in author’s purpose between expository/informative and opinion pieces. Clearly, informative/expository writing is written to inform an audience of others using facts and supporting details, while opinion writing uses information to explain why the writer holds a particular opinion or point of view.
Click here to download side-by-side annotated samples of a narrative, expository, and opinion piece, all written to a similar theme. Note the use of opinion vocabulary in the opinion writing piece that sets it apart from its expository counterpart. A list of helpful sentence starters is also included that can assist students in stating their opinions in powerful, articulate ways.
A simplified version of each of these samples is included for use in grade 2 and 3. Of course, select the samples best suited to the reading level of your students.