Opinion Writing with Text-Based Evidence

Opinion writing is my favorite! There are SO MANY fun ways to practice forming and supporting opinions. I've done candy wars, Chandra's sweet vs. sour, and other fun topics. However, writing data has shown my grade level that are students are showing weakness in supporting opinions with examples and citing text-evidence.

We turned to one of our favorite resources for nonfiction texts - ReadWorks.org. ReadWorks is free for educators, so if you don't have an account yet, make one RIGHT NOW. (Seriously, now!)

So we picked some articles from ReadWorks that could provide some prompts for our opinion writing unit. We let our students choose from 4 prompts:

Should we have year-round school?
Should students wear uniforms?
Should people be allowed to own exotic pets?
Should dogs work?

After they chose their topics, I gave them the corresponding article(s) from ReadWorks. I gave them time to sit with students that had chosen the same topic to read and discuss the texts. Many of my students actually changed their stances after reading - which I loved!! Then we began the writing process. We use many resources from WriteScore (as assessment we use) to teach writing. We taught explicit lessons on introductions, choosing reasons, finding examples, citing evidence, conclusions, and so on. They turned out great!

 I ended up displaying the entire writing process so that growth is evident.


I printed some photographs for my students to use and gave them the option for them to find and bring in their own. Some of them even illustrated instead of using a photograph!

To make this process easier for you , I developed a product that matches everything we did in my classroom. 

I know that your opportunities are endless when it comes to teaching opinion writing, but I firmly believe that students should learn to support their opinions with text-based evidence. Each prompt included in this download has a corresponding article on ReadWorks.org (again, free for teachers!!) that students can use to research and gather evidence.

In this download, you'll find:

  • a table of contents matching prompts to articles you can find on ReadWorks
  • a brainstorming page
  • a graphic organizer for planning
  • 14 prompts

Prompts were chosen to appeal to 3rd-5th grade students. Prompts include:
  • Should students wear uniforms?
  • Are extreme sports too dangerous?
  • Should schools offer healthier choices?
  • Should dogs work?

I suggest choosing a few prompts that you believe your students will get most excited about. Then, use this resource to teach students how to support their opinions with text-based, factual evidence.

Interested? Check it out RIGHT HERE, where it can be yours to use - forever and ever - for only $3.00! 

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