At some point in your child’s academic career, he or she will have to write a persuasive paper or give a persuasive speech. I know this because I have been an English teacher for the past twenty-five years. I have given a persuasive assignment many, many times.
The hardest part of the process is selecting the topic if the teacher does not assign the topics. Your child will turn to you with fear in his or her eyes and ask you to help with the selection. Many times, the students simply do not know where to begin.
Never fear, it is easy and I am here for you with my professional advice. My suggestions:
- Pick a topic that interests your child. And if he or she is knowledgeable about the topic that is even better. If the child knows and enjoys the topic, the entire process will be less of a chore and more of an adventure. Think how much fun it would be for a child who plays baseball to argue that Jackie Robinson is the most influential player to ever play in the league or that Pete Rose should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- Check a reputable database to make sure that there is current and valid information on the selected topic. Some suggestions might be Questia(www.questia.com) or Gale(ww.gale.cengage.com/). If your child’s school does not provide a subscription to one of these databases, you may want to purchase one for him or her. If there is no information on your child’s topic at the database, go back to the drawing board.
- Check the phone book or web to see if anyone in your area is an expert in the topic. The prospect of a face-to-face interview or email interview will greatly intrigue your child. Make this assignment and topic as enticing as you possibly can.
- If all else fails, research the web for topic lists. If you dig deep, you may find a unique topic from a valid source. http://homeworktips.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/100-Persuasive-Essay-Topics.htm has a very basic topic list, whereas the National Speech and Debate Association (http://www.speechanddebate.org/) lists some more challenging and higher-level topics.
Do not underestimate the topic selection process. It can make or break the end result. There is nothing worse for a student than to spend a few weeks with a project topic that do not like or understand. The end result will be disastrous.