A persuasive essay is a written composition for the purpose of convincing the reader toward one side of an argument. Writing a persuasive essay is an important life skill for kids to learn. Once you have learnt the logic of a persuasive essay, you can use the same method in conversations with parents, teachers, supervisors, and politicians to try to achieve your desired goals. It also helps to train you in logical thinking.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Looseleaf paper
- Sharp pencil with eraser
- Books on your topic
Decide what the purpose of your argument is. In this example, the topic will be "Children should be given allowances for household chores." This will be the thesis statement, which should be the first sentence of the paper. Know what the opposite position would be. The opposing side might be stated "Children should not be given allowances for household chores." Your title should state the purpose of the essay clearly. One title could be "An Argument for Allowances".
Try to discern if your audience is inclined to agree with you, disagree, or be neutral. If you were writing the Allowance Essay for your parents and they have not given you an allowance in the past, you can reasonably assume that they presently disagree with your position. You will use this assumption in the writing of your thesis paragraph. You need to set up your argument in at least three sentences.
For example: "Children should be given allowances for household chores. I intend to demonstrate that children who are given allowances are more likely to complete their chores. In addition, they are more likely to learn a good work ethic.
Do your homework. You need to find evidence to back your argument. Go to the library and find a book on your topic. List the reasons both for and against your argument so you know what the other side might say. Find facts, figures, examples, and other logical reasons to support your position.
Some hypothetical evidence in support of giving allowances might be: "A study conducted by the Research Foundation for Family Life in 2010 found that, in homes where children were given allowances, satisfaction with participation in family chores was 50 per cent better than in homes where children were not given allowances."
Write at least three supporting paragraphs. Each paragraph will start with a statement. Back up this statement with at least two or three facts, figures, or examples. List all the findings for your position in order from general to specific. The most general finding would be something that applies to all of society. A more specific finding would apply to a smaller population. The most specific finding applies only to a specific group.
For example: "Studies show that children who are given allowances are more likely to complete their chores. Dr. Berk at Yorkshire University in 2010 surveyed 500 American families and found that 80 per cent of parents whose children who were given allowances were satisfied with how they completed their chores, while only 40 per cent of parents who did not give allowances were satisfied. In our elementary school, 75 per cent of children who were paid to rake leaves raked at least one bag last week, while only 25 per cent of children who not paid raked at least one bag."
You might want to add additional paragraphs that mention the "cons" to your argument -- or the reasons the other side might present against you. If you do this, come up with a logical reason to counter each of the opponent's arguments.
For example: "Opponents of giving children allowances say that doing chores is a responsibility the child has to his family and that he should be happy to help. However, psychologists have found that external rewards eventually become internalised, and that children who are paid to complete chores later come to have a better work ethic. This was the finding of Dr. Jones of the University of Alaska in 2010."
Write a conclusion. Restate your thesis as the first sentence of your paragraph. Reword your main points. You can generalise here. You do not have to restate the facts.
For example: "In conclusion, I believe that there are several advantages to giving children allowances for chores. They learn to be responsible. They learn to work hard. They get their chores done, and their families are happier."
Tips and warnings
- Stick to the facts. Do not list emotional reasons or generalisation that you cannot back up with facts.
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