persuasive writing · student work

Purposeful Persuasion

Sam's letter to the babysitter. Click on the image to enlarge.
Sam’s letter to the babysitter. Click on the image to enlarge.

“Mom, you need to talk to Noah and tell him I need more cinnamon on my morning toast.”

I raised my eyebrows at the first grader. “I doubt you need more. You already go crazy with it.”

“Seriously, Mom. Noah skimps on the cinnamon. I tried to tell him, but he says I have enough. I don’t have enough, though. Will you talk to him?”

I cut his toast into three sections. “Maybe you should write him a note and convince him yourself.”

He chews a bite of toast, considering this.

“You’ll need good reasons if you want him to change,” Hannah says. “That’s what my teacher always says. And they can’t just be because you like it. You need something with teeth.”

I smile. I’m not sure I knew that as a fifth grader.

Sam swigs his chocolate milk and says, “Mom, can I use your phone? I need to ask Google what’s good about cinnamon.”

We don’t use phones at the table, but really, how can I resist? “Since you’re eating, let me ask.”

So I Google the benefits of cinnamon. “What’s it say?” he asks.

I skim the article aloud.

“That’s a good one, “he said. “That one about it’s good for your brain.”

The conversation ended as more pressing matters like shoes and lunches and piling into the car entered our day.

It was past bedtime when I heard the feet tapping down the steps. His smile is enough to get him out of trouble, but then he hands me an envelope addressed to Noah, the babysitter. “You can read it,” he says.

“Wow,” I say, looking at him. Wow, was about all this writing teacher momma could come up with.

“Hannah said I needed a closing, so I added, ‘please.’ Then I drew the dog with puppy eyes because who can say no to a pup?”

“Good point. I think your reasons are powerful.”

“Yep. They have teeth.” He kisses me and skitters back to bed.

Mid-blog post, he brings me this…

sam note

It was hard to be stern and send him back to bed.

“We can write during summer break,” I said.

“Seven more happy wake ups. I’ll dream about the characters until then,” he said.

Sometimes it’s even harder to believe this kid is for real.


9 thoughts on “Purposeful Persuasion

  1. I agree with Sam – you can’t have enough cinnamon! What a great writing story! I love to age of beginning writing. The world is there for them and they are so sure they can do it all.


  2. “This kid is for real” (I feel the same way when you share these things!), and he’s yours!!!! When kids openly share their love for you, that’s how you know you’re on the right track. Here’s to cinnamon and the story that awaits both of you!


  3. I love how you are teaching Sam the power of his words. I love how his sister gave added support and he listened. I love how he used his words to warm your heart. Happy writing!


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