A big part of timed essays relies on quickly interpreting questions and developing well substantiated opinions. For example, if a student is asked to write about whether school uniforms should be required in high school, he must be able to form an opinion and support it before any type of writing skills even come into play.
| Persuasive writing begins with strong |
critical thinking. Use everyday
activities to talk to your teen and
stretch their reasoning skills.
Sadly, it is in this critical thinking step that many teens fall short.
Practice critical thinking skills on a regular basis and share your own process of discernment with your child. There are many sides to every argument: help him to see all sides and then choose one that most aligns with his views and that he can adequately support with logic and reason.
Dinner time or a quick car ride to the store are perfect times to practice critical thinking skills. Simply bring up a casual topic for debate - controversial topics are all around us in the news, in the office, or at the playground.
“I met Mary at the bank today and she said that the city is debating whether to close the library or the rec center due to budget cuts. Which one would you close?”
“Why do you think that?”
Remember that with critical thinking the answer or opinion isn’t the important part - it’s arriving at a conclusion and having strong reasons to support it. Avoid topics which are not open for debate in your home!
Practice critical thinking skills and then when it comes time for your student to write a timed persuasive essay, he will be prepared, confident, and ready to impress!