Transitions Make Persuasive Writing Flow

Transitions, or linking words, help readers navigate the text. When students use them, writing flows. For beginners, provide a list of terms. As they become more proficient, ask them to choose transitions that fit the situation.

Transition Terms

Start with a list. The page below, for example, provides many options. Kids can simply choose words that work well in their writing.

They can also use these terms to establish text structure. Words showing similarity and difference, for instance, are used when comparing and contrasting. Furthermore, they’ll see that certain terms signal cause and effect and sequence.

When third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade students add transitions to their persuasive writing, it really flows. This list offers words showing similarity, differences, cause/effect, examples, sequence, and conclusion.

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Transitions That Tell How, When, or Where

Instead of considering a list of terms, emerging writers can use phrases to tell how, when, or where. This provides more flavor.

Do you want your third grade, fourth grade, and fifth graders to use transitions? Use modeling! This poster shows how to add transitions showing how, where, and when.

On a more advanced level, transitions can provide coherence to a paragraph. Let’s consider a paragraph about the circus. If the writer wanted to direct the audience to each of three rings, she might say:

  • To the left, trainers coax lions to soar through flaming hoops.
  • On your right, trumpeting majestically, elephants parade and stand on their hind legs.
  • In the center ring, bears perform.

What if the writer wanted to emphasize sounds? She might use these transitions.

  • In calm, steady voices, trainers coax lions to soar through flaming voices.
  • Trumpeting majestically, elephants parade and stand on their hind legs.
  • With snorts and growls, bears perform.

Phrases that tell how, when, and where can work with the beginning and ending to tie the entire piece together.

Persuasive Writing Series

Learn more about teaching persuasive writing in these blog posts:

Looking for related instructional materials? Check out the circus-themed video, anchor charts, modeling, and student sheets in my Teachers pay Teachers store.

Circus clip art was created by Kate Hadfield.

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