Practically Persuasive

1. Exploring the Purpose of Persuasive Texts

Suggested Learning Intentions

  • To explore the purpose of persuasive texts
  • To understand that the combination of words and images can be used to represent specific points of view

Sample Success Criteria

  • I can explain the purpose of persuasive texts
  • I understand how combinations of words and images in texts can influence the opinion of the audience
  • Visual stimuli
  • Cluster word web graphic organiser: docx PDF
  • Denotation vs connotation chart: docx PDF
  • Graphic organisers: pptx PDF (optional)
  • ‘The Island’ by Armin Greder, ‘The Refugees’ by David Miller or an alternative persuasive picture book

This stage of the sequence focuses on building the context or field in order to support students to understand the role of persuasive texts in our culture.

It is strongly recommended that teachers review all suggested stimulus texts prior to their use to ensure their appropriateness and to enable rich, respectful discussion. For guidance on text selection refer to the Teaching and Learning Resources — Selecting Appropriate Materials policy.

Provide students with a visual provocation that is able to evoke robust opinions. For example a political cartoon like Bill Leak’s ‘Scapeboat People’, John Spooner’s ‘Dignity and Compassion’, Fiona Katauskas’ ‘What have refugees ever done for us’ or Jon Kudelko’s ‘I’m not really into yacht racing’. Guide students in a discussion about the primary purpose of the author, focussing on the intention to persuade.

Support students to build their field of knowledge by asking them to consider the concept of persuasion and its sociocultural functions. For example, why is it important for us to be able to persuade? Scaffold a class discussion on the topic by providing a range of questions for students to explore. Record responses on the board or use a digital tool to enable students to contribute their responses in a collaborative space.

Suggested prompts:

  • Why might authors try to persuade others to agree with a particular point of view?
  • How might authors persuade others to share the same point of view?
  • What techniques could be used to persuade someone to share a point of view? For example, strategic use of language; imagery; tone; emotive appeals, employing humour.
  • Is it important to be able to persuade people to agree or disagree with a point of view? Why or why not?
  • Can you think of any people or groups of people that regularly try to persuade the public?
  • What might be gained by persuading people to agree or disagree with a point of view? For example, buying a product or voting for a political party. Encourage students to think at both an individual and community level.

Enable a wide range of students to contribute to the discussion by using an online tool to encourage participation. Monitor student responses to check prior knowledge and to ascertain levels of understanding. Explicitly teach vocabulary at the commencement of the learning sequence. 

Extend students by exploring the relationship between personal ethics, and the role of ethics in persuasion. For example, what does the word ‘ethics’ or ‘ethical’ mean? How might an individual’s beliefs manifest themselves in a persuasive text? Consider providing two texts on the same issue for comparison, such as a 1903 cartoon by Louis Dalrymple and a more contemporary image by Michael Leunig.

1. Modelled Reading

Introduce a persuasive picture book to students, such as ‘The Island’ by Armin Greder or ‘The Refugees’ by David Miller.

Clarify new or complex vocabulary with your class before commencing reading.

Students sit in a circle or create a comfortable reading space before reading aloud to them. The Literacy Teaching Toolkit has some suggestions about how to make modelled reading a rich and engaging experience.

Facilitate a group discussion, encouraging students to express their first reaction to the book. Ask students to expand on their initial responses by identifying the argument made or issue/s addressed throughout the narrative. Invite students to speculate on the position the author might be encouraging the reader to take, prompting them to provide evidence from the text to support their opinion. Refresh students’ understanding of making inferences where appropriate.

Record student responses on the board, on an anchor chart or add them to the class’s digital collaboration space.

2. Collaborative Learning

Students form pairs. Allocate a page of the book to each group. Ask students to brainstorm the techniques that they think may have been used by the author to persuade the audience to take a position. You may wish to use a graphic organiser to record their ideas. A downloadable cluster word web graphic organiser template is available in the Materials and texts section above. 

Use prompts for students to guide their brainstorms, for example:

  • What stands out to you about this page? Why does it stand out?
  • What do you think the author might be trying to communicate?
  • How have you formed your view about what the author might be trying to communicate? What evidence can you offer to support your view?
  • How has the author combined words and images to make their point?
  • Can you identify a word or an image that might be designed to make the reader feel a certain way?
  • What persuasive techniques could an author use in a picture book that might not be available in other text types?
  • What other techniques do you think the author is using to communicate their point of view?

Enable students to engage with the analysis by strategically pairing students and by engaging in targeted discussions with small groups of students.

Extend students by offering them a denotation vs connotation chart (see Materials and texts section above) and asking them to identify any words on their page that have an implied rather than a literal meaning.

Invite each pair to feed their responses back to the class. Add responses to the board, anchor chart or class collaborative space to extend the bank of thoughts and feelings about persuasive techniques.

Collect student work to gauge prior understanding of technical terminology and metalanguage, such as knowledge of rhetorical devices, intensifiers or evaluative language and to inform further teaching.

Revisit the discussion held at the beginning of the class and work with students to summarise the additional ideas generated throughout the learning experience. Students write a short reflection outlining:

  • Why it might be valuable to be able to convince others of a point of view.
  • A method of persuasion that was used by the author of the relevant picture book.
  • How that specific method of persuasion may have been intended to influence the reader.

Collect student responses for assessment and feedback.

Photograph the ideas recorded on the board and post the image to a collaborative class page on your collaboration space, or print for display in your classroom or in a shared learning journal. This resource can be used in later stages of the sequence. 

Australian Curriculum Lessons, 2012. Persuasive Writing Techniques. [Online]
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Churchwell, S., 2019. The New York Review of Books, American Immigration: A Century of Racism. [Online]
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Class Dojo Inc, n.d. Bringing every family into your classroom. [Online]
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Creately, n.d. Visualize Hierarchy of Concepts. [Online]
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Leunig, M., 2012. The Sydney Morning Herald. [Online]
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[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Manning, H. & Phiddian, R., 2013. The Conversation, Following and recalling election campaigns through cartoon. [Online]
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NSW Department of Education, n.d. Graphic organisers for processes, Understanding, Cluster and word map. [Online]
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NSW Department of Education, n.d. Graphic organisers for processes, Understanding, Denotation vs connotation. [Online]
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[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Padlet, n.d. Padlet. [Online]
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Power, F., 2015. ‘Refugee Council launces exhibition and calendar of political cartoons’, The Sydney Morning Herald. [Online]
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Reading Rockets, 2019. Inference. [Online]
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[Accessed 15 March 2022].

State Government of Victoria, (Department of Education and Training), 2018. Literacy Teaching Toolkit, Modelled Reading. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

State Government of Victoria, (Department of Education and Training), n.d. Literacy Teaching Toolkit: Teaching-learning cycle; reading and writing connections: building the field or context. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

State Government of Victoria, (Department of Education and Training), n.d. Victorian Curriculum F–10 Consolidated Glossary. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

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