How to Write Opinion Essays: Reasons and Examples

Share it:

Rarely do we speak with an educator who claims that teaching essay writing is a walk in the park.

In fact, most educators openly acknowledge the unique challenges of guiding students through the intricate process of essay composition. 

When thinking about the different genres, some might assume opinion writing is easy compared to the rest since it’s about ourselves! But truly, it comes with its own specific challenges.

How to Write Opinion Essays: Reasons and Examples

Unlike writing informational essays or doing literary analyses, writing opinion pieces means students are mainly pulling experiences from their own memory, which can be a nightmare for writers and teachers alike. 

They often find it hard to think of ideas and properly express them.

In this blog, we will dive into how to effectively teach students about the body paragraphs of an opinion essay to make the process simpler.

How do I Organize Opinion Writing Essays?

Before you teach students how to write opinion essays, you’ll want to cover brainstorming for opinion essay topics.

After you have gone through the topic selection process, you can move on to the organizational structure of opinion writing!
You want to be sure that students know what the essay format or outline looks like. Typically, we use this format –

  • The essay has 4-5 total paragraphs, an introduction, a conclusion, and 2-3 body paragraphs 
  • Each body paragraph has a topic sentence, a reason to support the thesis, and 1-2 examples to support the reason
  • Each body paragraph is a new reason

We highly suggest turning this organizational structure into a graphic organizer. These help students…

  • Figure out their ideas
  • Have as an outline and reference when it comes time to draft

And help you provide scaffolding through the writing process!

As students begin to plan and craft their opinion essay, they will fill in the graphic organizer, so they don’t forget their ideas later.

Using organizers prior to drafting will facilitate idea generation, serve as a reference,  provide scaffolding through the writing process

How do I Help Students to Brainstorm Reason Ideas?

Once students understand the expectations for an opinion essay, and are ready with their final opinion sentence (aka their topic sentence…thesis…claim…), it’s time to move on to brainstorming reasons for their opinion essay.

It’s important to emphasize with students that reasons are the backbone of their essays.

Whip out your Vogue hands (who doesn’t love some old school Madonna) because you are going to start by modeling the process.

You can use this example when teaching how to brainstorm reasons –

  • Opinion Topic Sentence: Disney is the best vacation destination for families.
  • Reason 1: It is easy to get to.
  • Reason 2: There are activities for adults and kids.
  • Reason 3: It will lead to lasting memories.

To model, just express your thought process out loud. 

As you work, continually check in with yourself by asking “does this reason support my opinion?”
Then, begin to have students generate reasons for their own topics. They will write their reasons on that handy graphic organizer.

During this time, you can scaffold and differentiate this independent application. 

For example, some students may only need to provide two reasons for their opinion essay instead of three.

Some students may meet with you at a teacher table while others work independently.

You can also provide some students with a graphic organizer that has hints, question prompts, or examples to held guide them. 

No matter what supports you put in place, we highly recommend checking over everyones work.

Not only will this save you tons of time later when grading the essays – but you can make sure everyone is on track.

Walk around the room, quickly read over their reasons, and apply a check if it’s been “approved”.

What are Transition Words for Reasons?

Because there are multiple reasons for opinion essays, students will need to transition between these ideas. That’s where transition words come in!

We recommend providing students with these transition words. You can put them on an anchor chart or have students jot them down in their notebooks.

Here are a few transition words you can provide to students –

  • One reason
  • Another reason
  • Also
  • Along with
  • As well as 

It may help to also have example sentences on your anchor chart that model using transitions. We never want to assume our students have it all figured out – especially when it comes to writing!

How do I Help Students Brainstorm Examples?

Now that each student has reasons to support their thesis, they need examples for their opinion essay.

These examples will help support their reasons and make their opinions stronger. Just like with the reasons, we suggest starting with modeling and then having students work independently to fill in a graphic organizer. Here is an example you can use to model backing up reasons with examples for an opinion essay:

  • Opinion Topic Sentence: Disney is the best vacation destination for families.
  • Reason 2: There are activities for adults and kids.
  • Example 1: Many of the rides and roller coasters can be enjoyed by children and adults.
  • Example 2: My mom and I both enjoyed the World Showcase at Epcot.

We recommend that students have at least one example to support each reason. 

When coming up with examples, students can pull from their own life experiences or facts they learned from books, articles, etc.

When teaching how to write opinion essays, we tend to challenge students to use their own knowledge and experiences, but they can also research information as well – just be careful that it doesn’t turn into an informational essay.

What are Transition Words for Examples?

Just like with the reasons, we highly recommend giving students transition words to move between examples. Not only does this help with fluidity, but we’ve found that it keeps students from saying, “I don’t know any transitions!” Sometimes, students just need a jumping-off point.

Here are a few transition words students can use for the examples they created for their opinion essay –

  • For example
  • One fact
  • Additionally
  • For instance

Add these to an anchor chart or have students write them down inside their journals. Also, it never hurts to add example sentences in there! 

Done-For-You Opinion Essay Resource

If you’re ready to turn your students into confident opinion writers but feeling overwhelmed by all the planning and preparation, fear not!

Check out this COMPREHENSIVE Opinion Writing Unit for 4th grade – your one-stop-shop for all your opinion writing needs.

4th grade opinion writing unit with photos of organizers, lessons plans, and scripts

We have created a complete standards-based Opinion Writing Unit for 4th grade that has EVERYTHING you need to teach a comprehensive and differentiated unit on opinion writing. With:

  1. Scripted lesson plans 
  2. Graphic organizers
  3. Anchor charts
  4. Mentor texts
  5. Comprehension activities 
  6. And more…

You will be equipped to guide your fourth-grade students through the entire writing process, starting from brainstorming, progressing to writing body paragraphs, and culminating with a published opinion essay! 

To enhance each lesson, we’ve included teaching videos to bring the learning to life, making the experience fun and engaging for your students.

11 teaching videos for opinion writing on the grasphopper youtube channel

With differentiated activities and materials, you can be confident that you’re meeting the needs of all your learners. And with a grading rubric and checklists, assessing your students’ writing has never been easier.

After using this resource, your students will become experts at crafting coherent and compelling opinion writing essays.

Bid farewell to countless hours spent on lesson planning and searching for materials, and say hello to a worry-free teaching experience.

Need some time to brainstorm whether or not this unit is for you? No problem- check out this Opinion Writing Unit for 4th grade freebie for an inside look at parts of this unit. 

We know that teaching writing can be tough, but with the right resources and scaffolds in place  it can become manageable! And if things don’t go as planned, don’t worry. Writing is a process!

Excuse our digital dust! We’re busy renovating this website to make it even more fabulous. Stay tuned!