Teach 5th Graders To Write A Persuasive Speech

Writing speeches is fun and challenging for 5th graders.

Fifth grade teachers introduce several types of writing formats to their students throughout the year. Most 5th graders will already know the basics of writing a paragraph and short essay. Speech writing is an effective activity that will help kids practice more complex compositions while expressing their opinions on topics that are meaningful to them.


1. Review the process for writing a persuasive essay. Display sample essays on an overhead projector. Explain that a good persuasive speech begins with an organized essay that establishes points to emphasize.

2. Use a graphic organizer to show students organize information before they write the speech. If they write an essay first, transfer main points to the organizer. These could be the main points for the focus of the speech. Read-Write-Think.org has an interactive persuasion map students can use online to develop their speech.

3. Write a persuasive speech yourself. Show each step on the overhead or board as you write. Provide handouts of your work. Many students learn better if they have an example for reference.

4. Give a speech-writing assignment. Provide students a list of prompts from which to choose. Keep topics simple for 5th graders. The focus of writing at this stage is to master the basic format and technical aspects. Quality will increase as they continue composition practice.

5. Establish clear criteria. For example, tell students to begin with their stance on the chosen issue. Next, they will write three brief paragraphs to elaborate and present facts that support their position. The last paragraph will conclude with a final appeal that will persuade the reader to adopt the writer’s point of view.

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6. Ask for volunteers to make their speech to the class. Don’t make this mandatory until students feel comfortable with the writing process. Reluctant participants may eventually volunteer as they see peers enjoying presenting their views to the class.