Opinion Writing Prompts for Gradual Release

Here are some opinion writing prompts tailored to each phase of the gradual release instructional model.

I Do (Teacher Modeling):

Should students have a dress code?

This is a topic the teacher can model writing a persuasive opinion essay about in front of students. It relates to school rules they understand.

To begin, the teacher models strong opinion writing for students. The teacher selects a high-interest topic and shares their own written opinion piece. They read the essay aloud, explaining key elements like the hook, thesis statement, evidence, concluding statement, persuasive techniques, etc. This exposes students to a good example before writing independently.

We Do (Guided Practice):
Do video games have a positive impact on children?

The teacher can lead a discussion and co-construct an opinion piece about the qualities of a good friend. Students can contribute ideas based on their experiences.

Next, the teacher guides a collaborative writing activity with the whole class. For example, the teacher could pose a question like “Should students wear school uniforms?” and lead a discussion where students share opinions and justify their views. The teacher acts as scribe, composing an opinion essay on chart paper based on students’ input. This co-constructed writing lets students contribute ideas while the teacher handles mechanics.

You Do (Collaborative Writing): 

Is social media beneficial for teenagers’ social development? 

Work with a partner to write an opinion piece. One of you argues for its benefits, while the other argues against.”

You Do (Independent Writing):

What is the best season? 

After modeling and joint writing, students can independently write to this prompt. They likely have strong feelings on favorite seasons they can articulate.

Finally, students are given time to independently draft opinion pieces, while the teacher circulates to provide feedback and guidance as needed. Starting with shorter quick writes, and building up to longer essays, students develop confidence in applying elements from the teacher modeling. Conferencing with students during drafting reinforces skills. The gradual release model ensures students have acquired necessary skills before full independence.

5 Engaging Opinion Writing Prompts 

  1. Should students wear uniforms at school? Why or why not?
  2. What is the best holiday? Explain why you think so.
  3. Should kids be allowed to vote? Justify with reasons.
  4. If you owned a zoo, what animals would you have? Defend your choices.
  5. Is it better to read books or watch the movie version? Support your opinion.

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