Lesson: Compare and contrast persuasive and informative writing

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast two types of writing.

Lesson Plan


Connection (3-5 mins): Readers yesterday we focused on identifying texts that are meant to entertain.  Today, we will focus on two author’s purposes that are more difficult to distinguish between because they are both non-fiction.  In each type, the author presents facts but in one case the facts are given to inform and the other to persuade.  Remember as readers we have to be thinkers and adjust our thinking based on the author’s purpose for writing. 


Teach (10-12 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson.  Readers sometimes I get confused when I start to think about the differences between texts that are written to inform and those that are written to persuade.  A text written to inform is teaching me about a subject so it must be non-fiction and contain lots of facts.  A text written to persuade often uses facts as well as opinions in order to get me to believe something or feel a certain way about a topic.  Although there is a difference it can still sometimes be confusing. Today we will take the time to look at a few examples and use a Venn diagram to compare the two types of writing.


Teacher places the first page of the author’s purpose Venn diagram form on the overhead (attached).  Teacher reads aloud the first example.  I’m thinking this article is trying to get me to buy the Slim-O-Matic.  If the author wants me to buy something or believe something, the purpose is to persuade.  I will write that under the purpose. 


Now you try with the second example.  Teacher reads aloud second example.  Turn and tell your partner the purpose of this paragraph.   Students turn and talk.  Teacher calls on a student to share.  You are correct. The purpose of this paragraph is to inform the reader about the Underground Railroad. 


Now that we have both examples clearly labeled, we must think about the differences between the two examples.  The more similarities and differences we can find, the easier it will be in the future to determine the difference between the two types of writing.  One thing that I can write under inform text is that is included many facts.  Something that is similar between the two that I must write in the shared space in the middle of our Venn diagram is that they both do not have characters. 


I want you to try with your partner.  Turn and tell your partner what characteristics we can add to our Venn diagram.  Students turn and talk while teacher listens in on conversations.  After talking, students share out their responses and teacher writes on the class Venn diagram.  Teacher may guide students to notice more characteristics if the conversation is limited.


You all did such a great job today.  We noticed many differences and similarities between the two types of writing.  From now on if you are asked to determine the purpose of a paragraph, you can think back to these ideas you noticed.  At your seat today you will practice with two different examples.  I know you are all ready to do a great job.  Try to push yourself to think of more characteristics to add to our Venn diagram as well.  We will share what you noticed at the end of workshop time.


Active Engagement (15-20 mins): Students should return to their seats to complete work independently.  Teacher should circulate during this time or conference with groups of students. Students should complete the second set of examples using the Venn diagram.  Most students will include similar comparisons between the two examples but the extra practice is needed.


Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins):  Students share out what they noticed with the class.  Teacher adds any new responses to the chart used during modeling the lesson.  Teacher collects exit slips to provide feedback for following lessons.


Reflection: My students did really well with this activity.  However, the examples were really clear and did not require much reading on the students’ part.  Next year I plan on using longer and more difficult examples so that students have a realistic expectation of what author’s purpose questions will look like on the end-of-year assessment. 

Lesson Resources

Author's Purpose Nonfiction Venn Diagram.doc  


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