How to Teach Kids to Write Editorials

Teach kids to write editorials like the professionals with some practice.

Today's kids face newer, faster technology than ever before and live in an age of hyper fast delivery -- especially with news. The manner in which news stories are discovered and who writes them has changed drastically over the years. Likewise, writing news stories is uniquely different from writing editorials. Editorials can be written from three points of view: an editorial staff, a small team or pair, or one person (often readers of the publication). All editorials share commonality and can be taught to kids with some practice.

Assign a topical and current issue or theme to a small group of 2 or 3 students. Each group will follow the instructions.

Research the topic for facts, statistics and anecdotes that back the students' positions.

Distribute editorial copies to use as examples for each group.

Explain to groups the difference between fact and opinion and how it applies to the assignment; the purpose should be to formulate opinions using facts to support their case.

Each group writes the stated goal of the position they are defending; the stated goal should denote what they want to accomplish with their editorial.

Write a sample introduction to an article showing students how they will lay the premise for their argument.

Review editorial copies with student teams, identifying articles to discuss. Talk through the use of persuasive language with your students. Explain how persuasive language molds the context of their work to try and get readers to agree with them.

Give examples to help students visualize what persuasive language is as they write the body of the article. Examples include: car owners should obey the rules of the road, or people suffering from morbid obesity should watch their diet.

Write a sample solution to a point you have identified in your editorial copies showing students how you arrived at your solution. The solution you present to your student groups can expand upon thematic threads running through the article so as to further persuade the reader.

Ask students to make a conclusion to their article on their own; in their conclusions, encourage students to allow room for the reader to formulate his own opinion.

Deronte' Smith began his professional writing career in 1996 with Trader Publications, writing listings for "Auto Trader Magazine." He has also worked for the "Central Kentucky News Journal" and the "Kentucky Kernel." Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Kentucky.