How to Teach Argumentative Text to 3rd Graders

Scratching your head trying to figure out where to start with argumentative text? I’ve got you covered. Here are the steps I took and aspects I thought about as I planned my argumentative text unit.

Build Literacy Knowledge

Introduce the genre and its essential terms in an engaging way prior to reading. I like to use a video as the genre introduction. I also like to create a mini anchor chart with the students in their interactive notebooks to help them see the basic structure and give them a reference they can use throughout the unit. Find the free video and information about the interactive notebook pages I use here.

Choose a High-Interest Text

Choosing a high-interest text with a simple structure helps third graders break down and identify the characteristics of argumentative text. Here’s a great free passage to get you started.


Learn more about choosing the right argumentative text for your third graders here.

Introduce the Mentor Text

Build and activate your students’ background knowledge about the topic and any vocabulary you may need to pre-teach in your introduction. Do this by facilitating a discussion around the topic or bringing in real-world objects that will get them excited to learn more about the topic. This will help your students create a shared narrative of relevant experiences and information that will serve as a foundation for the topic.

Read & Explore the Basic Structure of Argumentative Text

PowerPoint slide to help you introduce and teach argumentative text in third grade

Introduce the Introduction

Explain it’s purpose in the text. Read it with your students. Stop and check for understanding. Ask what the author’s claim is, scaffolding as needed.

Introduce the Body

Explain that this is where the author cites evidence to support the claim. This is where the author really explains his/her argument. Read one paragraph at a time, stopping and checking for understanding after each one.

Introduce the Conclusion

Explain that this is where the author wraps up the argument and restates the claim. Read it and check for understanding.

Introduce the References

Explain to that the author cites his/her references at the end of the argumentative text. This tells us where the author got his/her information, evidence, quotes, and facts. It’s important to look the references to make sure they are good sources of information. Discuss the credibility of the sources cited.

Determine the Intended Audience

Guide the students in using text evidence to infer who the author’s intended audience is. 

Analyze the Structure of the Argumentative Text

Help the students look for the relationship between the details and evidence presented in the text. Does the author separate the reasons into different paragraphs? Why might that be important? Was a counterargument offered? What else do you notice?

Evaluate the Author’s Claim

Evaluate the author’s claim with your students by analyzing the reasons and supporting evidence. Determine if the support given by the author is based on facts or opinions. Analyze how the author uses facts, evidence, and examples to support each reason. Evaluate the author’s sources.

Compare Argumentative Texts with the Same Topic

Comparing argumentative texts will help your students explore the different ways authors support their claims and solidify the importance of supporting evidence.

Provide Student Practice

This can be done in partners or independently. Have them identify the intended audience, the author’s claim, and the supporting evidence in another text. You can have them add this to their interactive notebooks if you would like to give them something to refer to later.

argumentative text 3rd grade interactive notebook page

Evaluate and Compare Arguments Made in the Same Text

This is great for partner work as well. There are some great options for this on 

comparing arguments made in the same argumentative text - argumentative article and response sheet shown


Assess your students’ understanding of argumentative with an end-of-unit test. 

Want It All Done for You?

This bundle has everything you need to teach argumentative text to your third graders and lifts all the hard work off your shoulders. It is all planned and ready to go.

What You'll Get:

  • 5 easy to follow, scripted lesson plans take out all the guesswork.
  • 3 of the 5 are PowerPoint lessons that make introducing the genre a breeze.
  • A total of 7 high-interest passages will keep your students engaged.
  • An assessment with an answer key is included.
  • Interactive notebook pages help your students interact with the text and give them a tool to refer back to.
  • Task cards help your students practice distinguishing fact from opinion and identifying evidence that supports the author’s claim.
  • Plus, you’ll get resources for tier 2 vocabulary, grammar, and more!
argumentative text bundle for sale. image of a passage, digital task card, and interactive notebook pages
Save 20% on all argumentative resources by purchasing them in the bundle.

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More About Argumentative Text:

hello, i'm laura heinen from cultivating critical readers

I help third and fourth grade RLA teachers like you create engaging and effective reading lessons without all the stress.

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