9 - Writing a Series of Paragraphs Expressing an Opinion


Lesson 3:
The Basic Structure

Your series of opinion paragraphs should be three paragraphs long. 


You must indent each paragraph and leave spaces between each paragraph. You will loose points if the markers of the OSSLT see your writing as one long paragraph.


Follow this outline:



Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph shape

     This is where you explain to your reader what the general topic is, and tell the reader which side you are on.† Remember those lessons from Workshop 6 (The Information Paragraph).† Those same rules apply.†

Start with a topic sentence (thatís your argument, or your main idea).† The second sentence is a general idea about the topic, and the third sentence tells your reader what evidence you are going to use to prove your point of view.

Paragraph 2: Evidence

Paragraph shape

     The second paragraph is where you write down the ideas you have that support your point of view.† For example, if you were trying to convince a friend to see a movie, you might tell your friend about the acting or the special effects or the funniest scene.

The first sentence of this paragraph should explain what evidence you are presenting.† Then you should have two more sentences supporting this evidence.

Paragraph 3: Conclusion

Paragraph shape

     In your conclusion, you should rephrase your topic sentence (the first sentence of your opinion piece).† To do this, put that idea into different words.† In the second sentence, you should list your evidence again, and in the third sentence, you should finish off your opinion paragraphs with a sentence telling the reader that your point of view is correct.




Activity Section


Letís go back to that task we introduced in Lesson 2 and to the Pros and Cons List we generated.


Write a series of paragraphs (a minimum of three) expressing an opinion on the topic below.  Develop your main idea with supporting details (proof, facts, examples, etc).

Purpose and audience

An adult who is interested in finding out your opinion.


Should the voting age in elections be reduced to sixteen years of age?


The lined space provided for your work indicates the approximate length of the writing expected.  (In this case, try to fill 2 pages, double-spaced, size 12 font)


The Brainstorming Chart

Yes:  The voting age should be lowered to sixteen years of age.

No:  The voting age should not be lowered to sixteen years of age.

  • It will make students more aware of whatís happening in the world.
  • Most students study civics in school; they know enough to make a smart choice.
  • Getting into the habit of voting will make it a lifelong event.
  • Decisions made by politicians affect young people, so they should have a say.
  • Students donít pay enough attention to the news to make a smart choice.
  • They donít appreciate the importance of their choice.
  • Will vote how their parents tell them
  • May treat voting as a joke.
  • Donít pay taxes so they donít get a say


Here is the task for this lesson.

Youíre going to read two written examples for the above task Ė Example A and Example B.

Read both Ė then decide which one you think is better.


Go to 9.3 Voting Age Discussion and post a response that explains which one you thought was better and why.† Consider whether or not the example follows the Basic Structure discussed earlier.


Example A  

     The voting age should be lowered to sixteen years old so that students can participate.  Sixteen year olds have enough information to make a smart decision and they are affected by what happens in politics.  Students should have a say in elections.


     Most students learn about politics and government in civics class.  They know what each party stands for and what the major issues are.  Letting sixteen year olds vote will give them the chance to share what theyíve learned in school.  A student who has learned what the political parties believe in should have the chance to vote for someone who represents what he or she believes. 


     There are many reasons to lower the voting age to sixteen.  Three of the most powerful arguments are the maturity level of students, the amount of information they have on the topic, and the fact that politiciansí decisions affect them every day.  For all these reasons, the voting age should be lowered. 


Example B

     The voting age should be lowered. Teenagers are smart enough to know who to vote for. They are often not given enough credit for being able to make their own decisions.


     Some teenagers may not follow politics, but they can learn. Teenagers are not given enough independence. They are often stereotyped as kids who just want to cause trouble.† Adults believe that unless teenagers have rules to follow, they will get into trouble.


     The voting age should be lowered because this would make teenagers feel more confident that adults believe in them.


When you are done, move on to Final Steps where you will be guided through the last stages of writing your own series of paragraphs expressing an opinion.





Move on to 9.4 Final Steps