Parenting 101

Opinion Writing Made Easy: Engaging Strategies for Elementary Students

Opinion Writing Made Easy: Engaging Strategies for Elementary Students
What is Opinion Writing

Opinion writing is when we express our thoughts, feelings, or beliefs about a topic. It's like sharing your opinion with others through writing. It helps add structure to your thoughts and essays. It is where students give their opinions and preferences; a chance to share their point of view on something.

Learning to express the opinions in writing helps children share their thoughts clearly. It also teaches them to back up their ideas with reasons and examples, which is an important skill.

Here’s how one should ideally look at expressing opinions in written 

  • Choose your side
  • Research thoroughly
  • List your reasons
  • Appeal to emotions
  • Call to action
Why is Opinion Writing important?

We all need to have opinions about things to make important decisions, whether it’s choosing a car or deciding on a restaurant. 

Opinion writing helps children to express themselves confidently and helps them to make decisions.  For example, if they are trying to decide which game to play, writing down the reasons for choosing one game over another can help them make a proper choice.

Reading is very important for learning how to write opinions. Before children can express their opinions in writing, they need to be able to read and understand the prompts or topics they are asked to write about.

Reading helps kids learn new words, see things from different angles, and gather facts for their opinions. As they get better at reading, they get better at sharing their thoughts in writing, so learning to write opinions is a natural step in their reading journey.

You might come across a question like,

“Why is it important to write the opinions? Can’t we just say them out loud?”

Well, writing the opinions help think more deeply about what we want to say. Plus, it's a great way to practice and improve writing skills and keep a record of our ideas. When children write down their opinions about something, it helps them clarify their thoughts and take better decisions. 

Activities to spark opinions for kindergarten kids:

We all begin forming opinions in childhood, from our favourite crayon colours to the most delicious snacks. Teaching children to express their opinions is important, even from kindergarten.

Introducing opinion writing to kindergartners can be a lot of fun.

Here are some of the activities to introduce the concept of “expressing an opinion” to the kindergarten kids:

  • Tell me your favourites:

Offer students, ample of chances to express their opinion. For example, “tell me your favourite book” or “tell me your favourite food” or “colour” or “season”. Have each student choose their favourite and explain why they like it.

  • Choose a pet:

As most kids love to have pets, we can discuss with them what pet they would prefer if we were to purchase one.

  • Sketch a place:

Have students draw a picture of their favourite place (e.g., the park, the beach) and write about why they love it.

  • Using books as stepping stone:

Books plant story seeds that grow into opinions, shaping young minds.

While reading a story, take a pause and ask students for their opinions for the character’s action, or what would they do if they were that character, etc...

Teacher's nugget - Using books as a springboard for opinion writing can be a great way to engage kindergartners.

Here are some picture books that can help children state their opinions:

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar: It is a children’s book written by Eric Carle, where a hungry caterpillar eats a variety of food. Students can express their opinion on their favourite food from the book and why they like it.

2. The Snowy Day: It is written by Ezra Jack Keats that features a boy who explores his neighbourhood after the season's first snowfall. Students can share their opinion on what they like to do on a snowy day and why.

3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? the book by Bill Martin Jr. And Eric Carle is designed to help children associate animals, colours and meanings with objects. Students can express their opinion on their favourite animal from the book and why they like it.

How to introduce opinion writing to elementary students:
  • To attempt opinion writing, it is important to include supportive reasons to strengthen an opinion.
  • To make the point of view more credible, opinion pieces should include supportive facts, quotes or examples.
  • We can start by choosing a topic we have strong feelings about. For instance, our favourite food, book or movie.

The OREO technique is a top choice for teaching opinion writing to kids at Bambinos. It significantly enhances their writing style. It states -

O (Opinion) – state your opinion about something.

R (Reason) – Give reasons to support your opinion.

E (Examples) – Give examples and experiences which further strengthen your point of view.

O (Opinion) – Close the write – up by once again highlighting your opinion.

We also provide different linking phrases to the students to make opinion writing even more exciting, such as,

“In my belief”

“From my point of view”

“Research probes that”

“To give an example”

“In view of all the above points”

Here are some activities for elementary kids that complement Opinion Writing:

1. Brainstorming:

Encourage students to brainstorm ideas by discussing topics they feel strongly about. This could be done by conducting group discussions or mind mapping.

2. My take on it:

Children can write book reviews to share their opinion about books they read. First, they choose a book that they read and enjoyed. Then, they can write a brief summary to give others an idea of what it is all about. After that, they can share their opinion about the book’s strengths and weaknesses.

3. Characters analysis:

Provide reading comprehension passages to the children to write their opinion about their favourite book character, why they like it, what would they do if they were the same character. 

4. Opinion Pieces: 

Have students write short opinion pieces on topics they care about, such as their favourite story, movie, or holiday destination. We can also suggest some linking phrases for stating the opinions or giving examples as mentioned earlier.

5. Peer reviews:

Keep peer review sessions frequently in the classes where students read and provide feedback on each other’s opinion prompts. This not only improves their reading and writing skills, but also enhances their critical thinking skills as they evaluate the writing of others. 

6. Pause and Ponder:

Ask a child to read a story loudly, pause at a certain point and ask students for their opinions on that point of time. For instance, “what might happen next...” or “how does the character feel at certain time” and enjoy the children giving amazing responses.

7. Debate sessions:

Arrange debate sessions for students where they can debate their opinions on various topics.

Some interesting debate topics are:

  • Junk food vs healthy food
  • Should schools offer more art and music classes?
  • Which is better: summer vacation or winter break?
  • Paper books vs E - books
  • Homework on weekends
  • Should recess be longer?
  • Importance of sports and other extra curricular activities

This activity promotes critical thinking and improves speaking and listening skills.

8. Reading response journal:

Maintain a journal where students can write their opinions and thoughts about the books they read. This can include both, their most favourite parts and least favourite parts. Have a corner where they can give suggestions for other readers.

The OREO technique is a simple and effective way to introduce opinion writing to students. By using this technique, students can give proper explanation to support their view, let’s them help begin by stating their point clearly with reasons as to why they feel that way. It encourages students to state their opinion, provide reasons to support it, and then elaborate on those reasons with examples, hence improving their writing skills.

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Article Author

Author image
Ashita Gunjikar

Ashita Gunjikar is an M.Tech graduate, a dynamic educator with over 8 years of teaching experience. She is passionate about writing and content creation.She has received awards like 'Best Mentor' , 'Wow Teacher' and 'Educator of the month' for her great work in education. She has a unique way of making even the most complex topics easy to understand. Her ability to bring fun and excitement to each session is remarkable.

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