A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: VOICE Support Trait: WORD CHOICE

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I Wanna [Something]...

writing a persuasive letter that will be responded to by a classmate

The writing of author Karen Kaufman Orloff is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of voice and word choice. Join us in teaching (and adapting) this on-line lesson and sharing your students' work.

You can publish up to three of your students' edited and finished stories at this page.

Use these samples to inspire your student writers! Discussing the strengths of published student samples before, while, and after using this on-line assignment is important. If your students are engaged in trait- or skill-inspired discussions about any of the samples we've posted here, they will produce better writing, especially if you help them take their writing all the way through the writing process.

Thank you, those who share their students' writing with us.

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Student Sample: Early Elementary

Puppy Persuasion
a letter exchange by Imanne, second grade writer

Dear Mom,

Can I please have the adorable puppy Samantha is selling at her garage sale? I’ll take care of it and I’ll bathe it and groom it. In fact, I’ll even make sure he doesn’t get dirty. Even if he does, I’ll clean him straight away. You don’t have to worry about him making a mess. I’ll litter train him and make sure he doesn’t get your clean floors muddy.

Your pleading, careful, knowing youth,

Dear Charlotte,

I understand that you are trying to be so convincing but not so fast. First of all, how do I know you are going to remember to clean him every time he gets dirty? Second, how do I know you are going to have time with all your homework and housework? You’re a busy girl and I’m not sure you are even ready for a pet of your own. You only turned eight last week!

Your wondering, concerned parent,


(These are just the first two letters in a longer exchange.
Click here to view/print Imanne's entire letter exchange.)

Student Sample: Upper Elementary

Fly Persuades Toad
a fun letter exchange written by Matthew & Sean, fourth grade writers

Dear Toad,

Mr. Toad, it’s almost spring and I feel nervous about you and I both going to the lake at the same time. So I’m sending this letter to set things straight! Here’s my letter on why you should not eat me!

First things first, of course I look appetizing but don’t you like dragonflies better? If you don’t, you should because they’re good. Or just eat some fish. I have six thousand kids to feed, plus my friend ate his arm off and he said we taste horrible. True story. Sadly, now he’s in the hospital.

Now back to our conversation, we should make a schedule to let us know when we’re allowed to go to the lake. We should because it’s safer, it’s better, and I won’t have to worry about getting eaten. Anyways, it’s more safe. That’s for sure! I hope you like this idea.

Thirdly, flies these days are very wealthy and if they die, all that money goes into your stomach, and then we become a very poor city and that means there’s a very good chance that we will be extinct in less than ten years.

The fourth and last thing I want to tell you is that you are a very good person. You better watch out for kids these days, they like to catch frogs. Also, they like to catch tadpoles too. I’m just saying, trust me.

Thank you for listening to all my very good reasons why you should not eat me and, for the last time, no eating us!

Sincerely the begging and eye balling fly,
Fly (written by Matthew)

Dear Fly,

Now that it’s even closer to spring, I have to go hunting for food like you. Your letter was a success and I am going to tell you why with quite a few good reasons, so listen up or I might change my mind.

First off, I actually don’t like eating you. You taste horrible, no offense, and once my friend got sick of eating you and he ate his foot. It turns out we taste better than you. Sadly, now he has not right foot and has moved on to eating math books.

Secondly, I am very fond of the schedule idea you came up with. That way if we feel like being alone on a certain day, we can. Also, since I have 20 kids to feed, I wouldn’t mistake you for a dragonfly or a small fish, and that is why I think it is very safe to have a schedule.

Thirdly, I would just like to say to your friend, get well soon and tell him not to eat his arm off again! Also, you should tell your kids to look both ways before running, flying out onto the street because about one thousand almost got hit by a transport truck.

Your new and agreeing friend,
Toad (written by Sean)


(Click here to view/print Matthew & Sean's exchange,
plus the exchange of two of their classmates)

I Want to Eat at the Table
a letter exchange by Ericka, fifth grade writer

Dear Clara,

I wanna eat at the table! I’ve been good all year, and the last thing I asked you for was a bone. It was not the best one I ever tried. Eating off the floor is like eating cat poop, and that is not a very zesty taste, you know.

Alex, your #1 dog

Dear Alex,

You are too messy to sit at the table and plus you can’t even keep your food in your bowl.


(These are just the first two letters in a longer exchange.
Click here to view/print Erika's entire letter exchange.)

I Want School to Let Out Earlier
a persuasive letter by Nicolette, sixth grade writer

February 17, 2009

Dear Mr. Brill,

I know that it would make kids so much happier if we ended school a little bit earlier. We would have more time for homework, teachers and staff would have more free time, and students would have time for more after-school activities.

If school ended earlier, people would have more time for homework after school. Some of the people that don’t turn in their homework regularly would probably turn in their homework more often. I know that we would most likely have more homework in order to cover the work missed in class, but I think most students would be okay with that change.

In addition to the benefits to the students, teachers and staff would have more time to themselves. They could use this time to work on class plans and grade papers. Teachers and staff would also have more time to spend with their friends and families. I think that teachers would be happier and have more energy in the classroom if they had more time to themselves outside of school.

Although we have school activities, most students also participate in after-school activities. Kids would have more time to spend with their friends, as well as doing sports and other hobbies. I think that most kids would take advantage of the additional time to do the things that they really are interested in.

I respect that school time is important, but I think that this minor change would make the students happier and more motivated. Your consideration of my idea is appreciated.


Nicolette, a concerned student of your school


(Click here to print Nicolette and three of her classmate's persuasive letters.)


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