Teaching opinion writing is so much easier when you have great books to go with it! Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite books to teach opinion writing. Before you embark on any type of writing, it is so important that your students have an example (a mentor!) or model of that type of writing. This helps them understand what they are being asked to do. It helps them identify their job as a writer and really get into that frame of mind. And when you choose the right mentor texts, it makes the whole process a lot more fun! If you ask me, writing should be fun. Let’s dig into some of my favorite mentor texts for Opinion Writing: 

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black

Well, I’m not saving the best for last. I want to put this one right at the top of the list! While I like to expose my students to a variety of mentor texts, this one just takes the cake in my opinion. (see what I did there) If you teach opinion writing, this is a must-have for your classroom. If you have to use one book to teach opinion writing – choose this one. 

This is my absolute favorite book to teach opinion writing. When I first started teaching opinion writing, it was so difficult to find a book for upper elementary students. Many books were geared toward first and second graders. However, this book uses stronger language and vocabulary.

Not only is it humorous, but it also provides the actual structure for an opinion essay with transition words and all. I use this book throughout my entire opinion writing unit. From the hook to the listing of reasons, to the transition words, to the conclusion – this book has it all. One of my favorite things to do is to outline the structure of the writing in boxes and bullets so that students can see the structure of opinion writing used by the author. Then they can use that same structure to write their own essay. This has worked beautifully from my writers who struggle to the writers that are ready for extensions. 

I use this book to model the structure of an opinion essay. There is a clear opinion statement, reasons and evidence to support each reason. I also love the use of transition words and phrases throughout the whole book. There is so much to teach from this book.

10 Books to Teach Opinion Writing
Pigs do not enjoy marching, they won’t wear proper uniforms, they don’t care about floats, and they have terrible taste in music. A pig parade would be fun to watch, but the logistics behind the actual parade just don’t work. 

While this book is my hands-down number one favorite, there are plenty of other books that are great for showing your writers what opinion writing looks like. 

9 More Books to Teach Opinion Writing

 Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett

Judi Barrett shares with us all the reasons animals should not wear clothing. Snakes would slither out of their clothes, goats would eat theirs, and a walrus’ clothes would always be wet. This book is a pretty simple book and is great for highlighting the reasons to support the opinion. There’s a lot of “because” in this book, which is a great support for students who struggle with the WHY of their opinion writing. 

 

Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague

A dog sent to obedience school feels like he’s been sentenced to prison. Instead of enjoying the camp-like atmosphere and the fun he could be having, this dog writes to his owner begging to come home using all sorts of excuses (i.e. reasons!). 

 

Animals Nobody Loves by Seymour Simon

Full of animals we would call anything but cute and cuddly, this book explores misunderstood animals. Each of these animals often incites fear when we see or hear them and it is obvious why we wouldn’t want to curl up with them in bed at night. I included this book because it is a great book to jumpstart opinion writing topics. You can expand on this book in your class by coming up with opinions on the animals that your students can share together. 

 

Red is Best by Kathy Stinson

Even the title of this book is an opinion to talk about with your students. Just because something is a certain color doesn’t always make it the best. The brown mittens are warmer, but they’re not red, so this child absolutely does not want to wear them. This book is a great way to show students how we stubbornly stick to our opinions. 

 

I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff

Through written negotiations with his mom, one boy desperately tries to get her to agree to an iguana for a pet. His arguments are compelling, but his mom always seems to have another way of looking at all the good points he brings up. This is a great way to show students how sometimes being able to support our opinion with reasons and evidence can help us get the things we want in life. 

 

Don’t Feed the Bear by Kathleen Doherty

Bear loves it when people leave food for him to clean up at the park, but the ranger’s job is to keep the park clean. Her “Don’t Feed the Bear” signs around the park are starting to work, so Bear makes some of his own. The sign wars escalate until the bear and the ranger meet on common ground to share gifts of food together. Sometimes a difference of opinion isn’t that different when you join forces. 

 

Pick a Picture, Write an Opinion by Kristen McCurry

Full of colorful photographs and great questions to get your students’ minds flowing, this book has it all. Questions and prompts accompany each picture to encourage your students to make an opinion and write about that opinion. Your class will have fun deciding and sharing their opinions with this book.

 

I Can Be Anything, Don’t Tell Me I Can’t by Diane Dillon

Dreams do come true. Setting goals and believing in yourself is an important concept for young learners to understand. This book lets your imagination run wild with all the things your students may want to do. It promotes opinion writing by opening up the world of possibilities to anything your students want to do with their lives. 

 

What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers

This book paints a positive picture of what citizens can do in their community. There are lots of opinions to be taken from the positive role we can and should play in our society. After reading, encourage your students to pick something they are passionate about in their community and why. This is a great book for getting ideas for opinion writing.  

If you are looking for more support when it comes to teaching opinion writing, this complete opinion writing unit walks you through teaching opinion writing step-by-step. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The writing units are available inside the TLL Monthly/Annual Membership, my TpT shop, or my website shop. 

Shop the complete opinion writing unit: 

Or grab the bundle of writing units here: 

You can also grab the Opinion Writing Freebie here which includes free lessons from the unit and resources to get you started! 

If you have any questions about teaching opinion writing or teaching writing at all, you can email me at jessica@theliteracyloft.com

Happy Writing! ✏️📓

Jessica

 

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