Writing Persuasive Text

Gradually Releasing Responsibility to Students

A#1 Professional Article

Katie Orscheln

Section D

Date Presented: 2/11/15

Why is Persuasive Writing Important for Students to Learn?

  • Common Core Standards emphasize 3 kinds of texts that students need to learn to write: exposition, argument, and narrative
  • Many teachers tend to focus only on narrative writing, and students need more experience with writing exposition and argument
  • "Mastery of persuasive writing is important because it empowers students and enables them to produce, evaluate and act on professional, ethical, and political discourse that is central to our democratic society"


  • IMSCI model is a persuasive writing strategy for grades K-5 that focuses on gradually releasing responsibility to students
  • Highly scaffolded writing approach
  • Importance of integrating reading and writing instruction for argumentation, which enhances both, because students' arguments are influenced by the texts they read before writing
  • Stands for Inquiry, Modeling, Shared Writing, Collaboration, Independent Writing

  • Inquiry: immersing students in inquiry about text or topic
  • Engages students, gets them thinking
  • Helps develop their own understanding of the nature of persuasive texts
  • Helps make clear the features of the genre that they will eventually use in their own writing
  • Sample questions: "What characterizes this type of writing?", "What features do these texts have in common?", "What voice does the author use to communicate their message?" -teacher points out identifying characteristics students notice during inquiry

  • Modeling: Teacher models how to prepare to write by generating a list or creating a concept map, or other prewriting strategies
  • Teacher models how to gather evidence, facts, and details supporting thesis statement
  • Teacher also models how to use the prewriting to generate connected text
  • This shows students the thought process of prewriting, walking through each step; thinking out loud

  • Shared Writing: Teacher invites students to share their input during prewriting
  • This provides a safe space for students to share thoughts and ideas, trying out elements that are new to them, knowing the teacher will be there to guide and support them

  • Collaborative writing: Students are asked to produce similar text by collaborating with a partner
  • This releases more responsibility to students but still have peer to rely on, collaborate, share thoughts/opinions

  • Independent Writing: most of the responsibility released to student, but teacher and peers can still provide support
  • Great idea: allow students to choose their own topics for persuasive essay that they write independently, which is the intent of the IMSCI model- that after a highly scaffolded writing experience, students will be more ready and able to write independently in the same genre
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Benefits of IMSCI Model

  • Through inquiry and careful modeling and shared writing, students can internalize the characteristics of the genre more effectively and thus reproduce these characteristics in their own writing with greater ease
  • Informal and familiar to the students, creating an affective environment that reduces anxiety and enhances motivation—a critical element in effective teaching
  • Research has shown that many teachers to not teach writing and focus more on the product rather than the process; this model provides teachers with a framework for teaching rather than just assigning it
  • When students read with this kind of focus on how authors create text, there is evidence that reading improves- students pay more attention to words in the text, details in organization, and voice of the author as they identify characteristics of the genre
  • It is especially helpful to those students who are usually intimidated by the whole process of writing, as well as to those students who find writing to be an easy task, but have difficulties in editing their drafts


I think it is so important for students to learn how to effectively write persuasive text and be able to formulate opinions that are based on evidence and facts, and also be able to justify their reasoning. Persuasive writing is important because it empowers students and enables them to formulate their beliefs based on facts and be able to act on and defend those beliefs (Read, Landon-Hays, & Martin-Riveras, 2014). The IMSCI model is an effective strategy to teach persuasive writing primarily because of its excellent use of scaffolding. The five elements of this model—inquiry, modeling, shared writing, collaborative writing, independent writing— allow students to better understand and internalize the characteristics of persuasive writing. I think the IMSCI model is an effective strategy to not only teach persuasive writing, but is a great method for teaching any genre or form of text. Based on what I have seen in my experiences in elementary schools, inquiry is alway what gets the students engaged and sparks their curiosity. One example of a time I observed this is when the teacher posed the question, “What changes would you have to make if your home was relocated to the moon?”. The teacher asked students to consider how not having gravity would affect their daily life. This question, first and foremost, engaged the students and got them thinking about different scenarios and discussing all the possible effects this would have. This is a strategy I will definitely use in my future classroom because it allows students to use their imaginations and gets them to think deeply, strategize, use reasoning, and justify their thinking.

Discussion Questions

1. What are some strategies you could use to effectively engage your students in an inquiry about a topic or text type?

2. Using the IMSCI model, how could you make accommodations and differentiate instruction for the needs of diverse learners?

3. How would you assess students learning without hindering the creative writing process?


Read, S., Landon-Hays, M., & Martin-Rivas, A. (2014). Gradually Releasing Responsibility to

Students Writing Persuasive Text. The Reading Teacher,67(6), 469-77.