Opinion writing can be so hard for kids, partly because it requires such a strong structure to make sense.

How can you make it easier?  Check out these tips, tricks, and mentor text suggestions!


Find a topic that truly motivates kids.  Think about what your students like.  In the past, I have used favorite kinds of cookies or candies, complete with a taste test. My favorite was taste testing the different kinds of M&M’s.  We used dark chocolate, peanut butter, and plain, then, we wrote about our favorite and least favorite! Yum!

Students can also tackle opinions on bigger topics such as a 4 day school week. I would suggest these more complex topics after writing about simpler topics first.


Pros and cons are a great way to allow students to get to know their topics.  Invite students to brainstorm the “pros” and “cons” of the selected topic.  This will give students a chance to really formulate their opinion, and provide reasoning for their opinion.


Once students are able to provide reasons, they can back their opinion up with useful facts.  In order to do this, students need to feel confident in differentiating between facts and opinions.  This can be a difficult concept for some and students may need multiple exposures to facts and opinions.  I love using sorts to identify fact and opinion.


I know that formats such as OREO (opinion, reason, explanation, opinion) are popular for teaching opinion writing.  I have used them myself.  However, I would caution against using this as the ONLY format for teaching opinion writing. Students need to realize that expository writing has a format across all purposes (writing to inform, describe, or explain). Before using OREO consider, discuss and participate in the simpler format of a topic sentence, details, closing sentence, and THEN relating this format to the OREO method. OREO only works for one writing purpose while the other works across purposes.

After reviewing the text structure, students can order opinion paragraphs so that they make sense. This allows students to analyze a small portion of text (a handful of sentences) to identify the topic, details, and closing before applying it to their own writing.

Like all these activities?  You can snag them in my Exploring the Opinion Paragraph Pack here!


Are you looking for some mentor text suggestions?  Check these out! These book suggestions are affiliate links which means that if you clicked on a link and made a purchase I may receive a small commission.  THANK YOU!!!

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