Sample The Art of Persuasion Worksheet
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The Art of Persuasion
By Brenda B. Covert
  

1     You want an Xbox, a computer, a raise in your allowance, or permission to attend a concert with your friends. What do you do? You might try whining, wheedling, or begging, but that conduct rarely does more than annoy people. You might employ tantrums, threats, or sarcasm, but that sorry behavior won't win you any awards either. If you use the art of persuasion, you stand the best chance of being heard, respected, and perhaps rewarded with the desired response. Surely by this stage of life you have already picked up on the persuasive argument.
 
2     Let's take what you know about the art of persuasion and apply it to the written word. Your assignment is to write a persuasive essay. We'll take it step-by-step.
 
3     First you need to choose a topic. It must be something debatable. It can't be a fact. If you were to choose as your topic, "Vipers are dangerous," you wouldn't have to persuade anyone of that. However, if your topic was, "Vipers should be eliminated from the animal kingdom," then you would have presented an opinion that could be debated. That's not to say that your argument would win, but you could give it your best effort!
 
4     Your persuasive essay will focus on only one side–your chosen side–of the argument. This will not be a pros-and-cons essay. Also, it won't be a personal opinion essay. You must be prepared to back up your logic with evidence collected in research that supports your position.
 
5     Students often choose topics such as school uniforms, the legal driving age, or saving endangered animals. I'd like you to move past those topics to something new and creative. Try one of these three topics: Christmas trees, Survivor, or our national bird. You need to decide your position on the chosen topic. Your argument regarding Christmas trees may be to persuade others to buy artificial trees, or persuade them that live trees are best, or perhaps you feel that the tradition of Christmas trees has no place in the 21st century! Your argument regarding the TV program, Survivor, would be about whether teens should or should not participate. If you choose our national bird as your topic, you should try to persuade your readers that a bird other than the Bald Eagle deserves to be the United States' bird of honor. Choose one of those topics listed, or come up with an argument that excites you.

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