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ERIC Number: EJ782215
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1081-3004
From Dialogue to Two-Sided Argument: Scaffolding Adolescents' Persuasive Writing
Felton, Mark K.; Herko, Suzanne
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, v47 n8 p672-683 May 2004
Argument, debate, discussion, disagreement--most teachers would agree that these skills fall well within their students' repertoire. Students are frequently energized and excited by arguments and will voluntarily elaborate on and defend their ideas. Yet put these same students to the task of writing a persuasive essay and much of that eloquence is lost in translation. As the National Assessment of Educational Progress's 1998 Writing Report Card indicated, fully 55% of 12th-grade students in the United States scored below "sufficient" on a persuasive writing task. Their essays contained little more than an assertion, with limited or disorganized elaboration to support their opinion. Their persuasive essays lack the basic components of argumentative writing--components that they readily offer up in conversation. Thus the challenge for writing instructors is to bridge the transition from rich verbal debates to the written essay. In the argumentative writing workshop featured in this article, the authors attempted to do just that. As researchers from the university and high school levels, they wanted to create a multilayered learning experience that allowed many points of entry for student growth and understanding. The 36 students who participated in this workshop came from an urban public school serving a richly diverse population, and they represented a range of achievement levels and writing abilities. Their primary goal was to build on students' oral debate skills to strengthen their written arguments. Drawing upon research in writing and critical argument, this writing workshop used structured reading, debate, and metacognitive reflection to scaffold students' written argument. In the explanation of their workshop they first explore the research underpinnings of the learning experience and then describe the structure of the workshop itself. (Contains 4 figures.)
International Reading Association. 800 Barksdale Road, P.O. Box 8139, Newark, DE 19714-8139. Tel: 800-336-7323; Fax: 302-731-1057; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 11
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A