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Determine Your Audience_Argumentative


Who am I speaking to and trying to influence with my work?
Determine who is the audience of your presentation.

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.L.3
  • CCRA.SL.4
  • CCRA.W.4

I Can Statements 

  • I can use my knowledge of my audience to
    • decide how much and what kind of information to include
    • choose words, tone, and style.
    • identify the purpose my work will serve for my readers.
    • anticipate my audience’s attitude toward and probable reaction to my work.
    • communicate the insights I want my audience to take away from my work or the action I want them to take.

Assessing Student Readiness to Move to the Next Formative Task:

  • Confer with students asking them to briefly describe the needs of their audience and their plan for addressing purpose and audience in their work.
  • Ask students to develop a brief list of guidelines to keep in mind while working on their performance task.
Possible Activities 
  1. Conduct a mini-lesson on how presenters may change their writing based on their audience with a focus on demographics, dispositions, and knowledge. 

  2. Give students case studies; for example, how would a politician who believes in doing away with gun laws have to write differently for a group of hunters in the Midwest than when he writes for a group of teachers who work in New York City? Have students work in groups to identify how an audience can affect the content and format of a presentation.

  3. Have students do an analysis of their most likely audience, including a demographic, disposition, and knowledge analysis (see resource below). Language and terms can be modified to “characteristics,” “attitude or beliefs,” and “knowledge” for younger grades.  Have students write a paragraph describing how they could use this information to help shape their writing. 

  4. Give the entire class a topic such as “Highlights of Our School.”  Divide students into groups of three or four. Give each group a card with a specific audience (e.g., Potential Students, Potential Parents, Potential Funders, The President, and Current Parents).  Have each group write a paragraph directed to the specified audience. For best results, use butcher paper. When students have completed their writing, ask each group to read it to the class. If they used butcher paper, have them tape the essay to the wall. Have students guess the audience, noting key components. Note differences in writing on the board.  

  5. For practice have students argue a position on a selected issue in letters to two different audiences considering the needs of the audience in each letter. Students can work with peer groups. 

  6. Give a mini-lesson on the various aspects of persuasion and rhetoric and how they are used differently for different audiences. 

Downloadable Resources 
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