When I thought about a persuasive mentor text, my first thought was to go with The Pigeon, Mo Willems' crabby bird who demands things. I almost dismissed this Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus writing idea because I thought my kids will probably think it is childish, but I went with it anyway. I'm so glad I did! It was so silly that they completely enjoyed it. Mo Willems' pigeon was was the perfect character for a persuasive writing lesson. You'd think there was a young audience for the book. Revisiting Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! with older kids allowed them to practice writing on a subject that was very humorous!
The Pigeon's Persuasive Argument
The mentor text I'll use is Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems.
In this popular book, we are a part of it. The bus driver approaches the readers to ask us to say no to the pigeon. Of course, the rest of the book is the pigeon asking to drive the bus and being denied (supposedly).
When my son was two, we would read this book, and he could not say no to the pigeon. Every time we would read this book, he'd say "YES!" I could not get him to understand that we supposed to say no.
Pigeon Persuasive Writing Brainstorming
The purpose of this writing assignment was to decide: Did the pigeon's arguments persuade you? What evidence do you see that he would be a good bus driver? Should the bus driver let him drive the bus?
I want like the kids to explain to the bus driver why he should or should not let the pigeon drive the bus.
Although I am strongly on the "don't let the pigeon drive!" side of the argument, I think it is important for kids to think of reasons for themselves. The pigeon makes a lot of arguments. The question is, Do we trust him?
I am hoping that this simple template will help them put reasons to their argument. It's important that students brainstorm. Can they put themselves on both sides of the argument? When they can do that, they can argue better against those things as a good reason. It will make their overall persuasion stronger.