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Writing a Persuasive Letter

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


by, Mildred D. Taylor

The boycott of the Wallaces' store is an important part of the book. Its success depends on Mrs. Logan's ability to convince people that the boycott is worth the risks, even though it will cause significant hardships for those who participate. Directions: You are to write a formal letter - in which you pretend to be Mrs. Logan and attempt to persuade one of your neighbors to participate in the boycott. A formal letter is written in proper, academic English. You will need a heading, greeting/introduction, body, closing, and signature--all with proper punctuation. Use the Persuasive Letter Checklist and mark each item as it is completed. How to write the body of the letter: Introductory paragraph: The first paragraph will be your introduction. This is where you will introduce the topic of the boycott of Mr. Wallace's store. This will be a good place to include some information about what brought about the need for a boycott. Body paragraphs: In order to persuade your reader to join the boycott, write some paragraphs that state the positive benefits that will result from the boycott. In addition, you must also recognize and neutralize (overcome) any objections your reader might have. There are several ways to organize your ideas in the body of the letter (choose one): 1. State the objections your neighbor might have. Then, overcome each objection with positive facts about the boycott. Your paper would go: introduction, objection/benefit, objection/benefit, objection/benefit, etc., conclusion.

2. State all the glorious benefits from a boycott. Then, recognize the objections and overcome them by briefly restating the benefits or trivializing them in some way to make them seem less important compared to the benefits. Your paper would go: benefit, benefit, benefit, recognize an objection and overcome it, recognize an objection and overcome it, recognize an objection and overcome it, etc., conclusion. 3. Recognize all of the objections, and then state all of the benefits. Your paper would go: introduction, paragraph of objections, paragraph of benefits, conclusion. Concluding paragraph: Restate the need for the boycott; ask your neighbor to make a decision. Edit your paper: 1. 2. 3. Word process your letter double-spaced, or write neatly on one side of the paper. Have another person edit your paper and turn in an error-free draft. Save all copies of rough drafts and notes.

Checklist for Persuasive Letter Follow the steps on this performance task list to complete this assignment correctly: ____I completed the Prewriting Chart before writing. ____I began with a heading: house number and street, city, state, and zip code, complete date, in the upper right hand corner . ____I have a greeting. ____I have an introductory paragraph reminding people of the bad things associated with the Wallace's and their store. ____I have ended the introductory paragraph with a clear thesis statement letting people know exactly what I (Mrs. Logan) want: We should all band together and boycott the Wallace Store. ____I wrote a body paragraph telling all the glorious benefits we might achieve from this action. ____I wrote paragraphs recognizing possible objections and overcoming (neutralizing) each one with a plan of action. ____I wrote a concluding paragraph that reminds the reader of the need for a boycott, and I clearly ask for a commitment from the reader. ____I closed my letter with the proper closing: Yours truly, or Sincerely, and signed my own name directly under the closing. ____I have proofread my work for proper letter format, grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Prewriting Chart:

List all the negative things associated with the Wallaces and their store and then number these in order of importance.

What are the potential benefits of boycotting the store?

Possible Objection:

Ways to overcome it:

Persuasive Letter Rubric

6 score: Exceeds the expectations of a 5 score (see below). Has a maturity of voice and a sparkling quality that is rare at this grade level. 5 score: The paper is written in letter format. The introduction clearly engages the reader's interest in the background leading up to the need for a boycott and clearly makes the intention of the letter known. The body paragraphs persuade the reader by thoroughly stating the benefits of a boycott and recognizing and neutralizing the objections using sound and convincing reasoning. The paper is well stated, uses a variety of sentence types, appropriate vocabulary, and has few to no errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation 4 score: The paper is written in letter format. The introduction gives reasons for a boycott and states the purpose of the letter, but with less clarity and dynamics than a 5. The body paragraphs state benefits and objections and overcomes the objections but with less development than a 5. The paper is not as well stated as a 5, uses a variety of sentence types, and appropriate vocabulary. There are more than a few errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. 3 score: The paper may have some errors in letter format. The paper states benefits and objections about the boycott and makes attempts to overcome objections, but is shallow and does not have good, clear, development of thought. 2 score: The paper is not written in acceptable letter format. The paper states benefits and need for a boycott but fails to recognize and overcome objections. 1 score: Little or no attempt to address the issues demanded in the assignment.