Student Writing Samples – Expository and Persuasive

Expository and Persuasive Student Writing Samples


Expository Student Writing Samples


#1.  Here is a 4th grade expository student writing sample.  Note the skills applied by the student.

  • strong organization
  • effective introduction with a lead, topic sentence, and powerful use of informative verbs
  • broad yet distinct main ideas
  • strong supporting details through the use of detail-generating questions
  • powerful conclusion


Do you know a creature who has a spiny tall and a hard brown hat? If you guessed the horseshoe crab you are right! Let’s examine their appearance, investigate its habitat, and discover its history and the incredible facts that are waiting to be uncovered.
Lead – Question

Topic sentence highlighting each main idea

Main Idea – Appearance
Expository_Student_Sample1-crab-1024x463This amazing sea animal has a unique appearance. The horseshoe crab has a crusty, brown, hard, helmet shaped shell. The shell needs to be brown to blend in with the sand and to protect it from enemies. This seashore dweller can weigh up to about 12 lbs. and grow up to 2-3 feet long. Its long spiky tail helps it steer and move. It also helps it flip right side up if it’s up side down.

Tells what it “looks like” and why that’s important

Main Idea – Habitat
Where does the horseshoe crab live? In the salt water ocean and the sandy seashore of course. The tall grasses of the marshes help the crustacean hide from predators there. These invertebrates also live in the warm waters of the Asian and Mexican seashores. I’ll never forget the time when I went to Mystic Aquarium to touch a real live horseshoe crab in its manmade seashore habitat.
Tells what it “looks like” and why its important

Author uses personal anecdote

Main Idea – Amazing facts
Would you believe the many amazing facts about the spiky tailed creature? Can you believe that this seashore dweller lived 100 years before dinosaurs? Its relatives are the tick scorpion, and spider, animals my mom certainly don’t want in her house. Amazingly, this invertebrate can lay 20,000 eggs at one time. Gladly it doesn’t need to take care of all these babies! You’ll be shocked to learn that this amazing sea creature can swim up side down.

Hypothetical anecdote

Reiterates main ideas

So when you are at the seashore be sure to look for a horseshoe crab. You’ll recognize this beach dweller by its unusual traits, identity its habitat and study the invertebrate’s history and incredible facts. It certainly is an amazing creature.

Note informative verbs

Here are just a few of sample lessons used to empower this student’s writing, all taken from The Comprehensive Expository Writing Guide:

Introductions Click here to download ‘Writing Effective Introductions’ Sample Lesson- (Comprehensive Expository Guide p. 301, 304-305, 315)
Elaborate on Facts Click here to download ‘How to Elaborate on Facts – What Does it Look Like? Why is it Important?’ Sample Lesson – (Comprehensive Expository Guide p. 185-187, 193, 197)
Conclusions Click here to download ‘Crafting Effective Conclusion Paragraphs’ Sample Lesson – (Comprehensive Expository Guide p. 302-303, 343-345)


#2.  Here is a student sample of opinion writing. Note that the organizational framework is consistent with that of an expository text, featuring an introduction paragraph, several paragraphs in the body of the piece followed by a conclusion paragraph. The difference between opinion and expository writing is that the purpose of an opinion piece is to express a point of view and the reasons for it, backed by specific details. The purpose of an expository piece is to inform the reader. 

“Wow! Is Autumn Here Already?”

“Don’t you just love Halloween with all the smell and things to see? I love the feeling of autumn rushing against my body. Autumn is my favorite time of the year. There are so many things to see, smell and feel.

Don’t the smells of fall just make your stomach gurgle with hunger? Buttered popcorn sounds so good after walking around the whole street trick or treating? You can bet that the smells of hot cocoa will get me to drink two sweet, chocolaty mugs. When you walk up the street don’t you love to smell candles burning briskly in their cups? I sure do, especially when it’s a brick cool night, in autumn there are a lot of new things to smell.

I love the feel of autumn. The brisk cool wind feels great brushing against your how sweaty face after walking up and down the street. If you fall in the damp frosty grass, you are sure to get water on your clean warm pants. When you’re picking out your pumpkin, it feels so good to just run your hands over the smooth slippery pumpkin skin. Hayrides are really fun, going bumpety bump, but don’t you hate it when they hay scratches your legs? It feels so rough and pointy. Most of the feels of fall are great.

During autumn there are so many beautiful things popping out. Red and yellow leaves let me know that fall is here and that it is almost time to rake these wonderful colorful leaves. I love lying out on the grass looking up at the clear baby blue sky. Just watching it go by and by. Sometimes the scary pumpkins make you jump when you see them out of the comer of your eye. They are freaky. The flying geese are fun to watch go by in their formation. There are so many wonderful things to see in Autumn.

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. There are so many things to see and feel. If I were you I would keep your taste buds on. You never know when you are going to smell and taste something yummy. I know I would. Autumn is a very special time of the your. To me, it’s great!”

Here are several sample lessons from The Essential Guide to Grade 4 Writing that will help students with the difference between opinion and expository writing. Feel free to download these samples for use in your classroom:


Persuasive Student Writing Sample

Below is a 7th grade persuasive writing student sample:

You’re yearning to watch that movie all your friends have been talking about. It’s the summer blockbuster, but will you go to the cinema to see it or will you rent it from the local video store? Before you make your final decision though, you should take a closer look at the positive and negative aspects of both situations. Time’s a wasting so let’s get going!

Special attention should be “paid” to the cost of either avenue. Renting a movie from the store is $5 and you can keep it for 5 days. Watching it as many times as you would like. This is heaven compared to the $8 you must pay for one ticket at the theaters, Where you can only view the movie once. Add in the price of refreshments and you’ve burned a hole in your pocket, but if you’re at home you don’t have to worry about paying for snacks because you have fully stocked cabinets of food.

On top of the cost, you’ll need to add the atmosphere into the equation. Some people enjoy watching the movie from the comfort of their own home. “You can spread our on the couch, stop and pause the movie whenever you like, and rewind if you missed a certain line” says Tara Reed. Thirty minutes of commercials and previews aren’t something you have to deal with at home, either. On the other hand, a recent survey revealed that 52% of moviegoers prefer the theatre environment to a home showing. “Everything is magnified in theatres: the sound, the picture, the excitement. There’s this larger than life aura to the whole theatre experience” explains Bill Thompson, a movie critic. The multiplex, though, is not without its imperfections. For one, you are confined to one seat and are surrounded by strangers. There’s nothing you can do to control the noise level of others around you and if you need to use the bathroom, you go at your own risk of missing vital parts of the film. Renting a movie isn’t all peaches and cream, either. First of all, whatever movie you are watching is modified from its original version, so both the left and right sides of the film are cropped off the screen. Second, there is nor surround sound system. This gives a less intense audio experience of the film.

But no matter where you watch the movie, you’re going to want something to eat. At the theatre, you can choose from a variety of food like candy, chocolate, and the famous movie popcorn these refreshments come at no small cost, though. The average price of a small popcorn is $3.50 and you can’t get candy without spending at least $3 as well. It is interesting to note that 39% of moviegoers say that the selection offsets the high prices. Others, like Lucy Hones, look at the movie theaters as a special occasion: “my family only goes to the theaters once per month and we see it as a treat. If we went more often, we wouldn’t be able to afford the outrageous price gauging of food.” At the same time, others are happy at home with more limited refreshments. ” All I need is popcorn. It’s quick to make and it’s about 90% less expensive than at the cinemas,” says Bob Smith. “there’s no waiting really Involved either. At the movies, you have to wait in line for at least 15 minutes. At home you can eat whenever you’d like.”

It’s decision time! Now that you’ve been educated about the differences in expenditures, ambiance, and munchies of both options, you’ll be better equipped to make your choice. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to enjoy the movie!

Would you like to have results like this in your classroom? The Comprehensive Argument Guide provides everything you need to successfully teach persuasive writing.

  • More Expository Student Samples

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