Persuasive Writing Resources

Please note these resources, which will help you over the coming weeks in preparing for your next assessment. Please note there are some sample speeches here, from John Pilger (an Australian journalist) to those delivered by former Prime Ministers of Australia. There are glossaries of persuasive devices which you can use and explore at your leisure. All we DO ask is that you DO look at these resources carefully…

Eight Steps to Persuade


List of Common Persuasive Devices



Speech Writing Tips

Sorry Speech

Redfern Address

Pilger’s 2009 Sydney Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Rudd Apology Extract- Annotated Structure Page 1

Rudd Apology Extract- Annotated Structure Page 2

Persuasive Devices ATAR

Persuasive Communication in Todays Curriculum

Your next in-class assessment is provisionally planned for Week 2 of Term 3 so it’s vitally important that you add as much value as possible to your preparation for this.

As with all things, please speak to your class teacher if you are unsure. We will be using some (though not all) of these resources in class.

Persuasive Writing- A Modelled Example

The following question was taken from the 2019 Semester 1 Year 12 ATAR English examination produced by the ETAWA:


Create a persuasive text aimed at a teenage audience which starts with an anecdote.


Question Deconstruction and Planning 

As with all questions, we need to break it down and make sure that we understand what the question is asking of us. We need to understand what the key discriminators are and get our thoughts organised before we begin writing.

Let’s break this question down…

  1. ‘persuasive text’- this means the text of a speech that might be performed in front of a teenage audience. This is your AUDIENCE.
  2. ‘teenage audience’- while this is your AUDIENCE, you also need to consider the CONTEXT of your persuasive text. Is it performed at a school assembly? An awards night? At a conference where many schools have congregated?
  3. PURPOSE- what is your speech going to be about? What is the content? Is it appropriate and relevant to a teenage audience?
  4. Do you know what an ‘anecdote’ is? (Definition- a short story or an interesting or entertaining incident)


Possible Topics 

Climate change


Gender equality… Yeah… this one.

Social media

Instagram and its effect on body image


University- the first year

Environmental issues- recycling etc.


Cultural change

Lowering the age to vote


Sample Response (Gender Equality) 


I lead a very glamorous life. VERY. Some might even say that I’m living the dream and I guess I am. So… here’s a real, authentic and honest account of a shopping trip to Coles. I was pushing my fully-laden trolley down the cleaning products isle when a woman remarked to me that I was very brave. It took me a moment to process what she said, before she pointed at my bright pink fingernails. My daughters often ‘treat’ me to a manicure and this week, their chosen colour was hot pink. And there I was in Coles not really aware of anything much, other than trying to get the shopping done with minimum fuss. My only response was a muttered, stuttered ‘thanks’ and I continued shunting my recalcitrant trolley onwards. But then I thought… ‘How the hell are my hot pink fingernails a symbol of bravery?’ Have I reached the apex of bravery by being seen IN PUBLIC with bright pink fingernails? And what would the people in war-torn countries, asylum seekers on perilous seas in rickety boats or a soldier with a gun in their hand think?


In truth, the answer is perfectly simple and it’s ludicrous to think that a middle-aged man strutting his stuff with hot pink fingernails is in anyway brave at all. It isn’t. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be as the gender binary is slowly being challenged and contested. As it should be. We are gathered here today to promote not only gender equality but to show our authentic face to the world and to make no apologies for it You, the adults of tomorrow, have an opportunity to construct the world in your image and what a joyous image it will be if a teenager doesn’t feel guilty about their identity, that a young person doesn’t feel guilty about who they are, or feel that they have to live a lie. Gender identity is one of the most pressing issues facing teenagers today. This convention of young people here assembled has the power to ensure no-one lives a lie anymore.


I’m horrified every time I walk into a toy shop. The stark reality is that the gender binary exists- in all its forms- whenever I’m asked to buy a present for one my daughter’s friends. The girls’ section is littered, splashed, dominated by pinks and purples, dolls and domesticity, glitter and gloss. The boys’? construction, cars, tools, science stuff. This is outrageous. Do we even stop to consider that one day our boys might be parents and that looking after a baby might be a skill worth learning? Or at least being a caring human being. I find it all quite exhausting. It really doesn’t challenge anyone’s construction of gender if a boy chooses to play with a doll, or wants to do ballet and why should it anyway?


Planning- Rest of Response

My sample response would include the following sections if I was to continue writing…


I’d go on to look at Billy Elliot (film) as an example.

Might offer a refutation/rebuttal.

Perhaps find some statistics to back this up. That the gender binary is being contested.

An appeal to our sense of values… that we want people to grow up to be their best selves, to be empathetic, to judge people on the ‘content of their character’, not by how they look.

Then I’d end with an appeal to paint your nails with pride, dance like no-one’s watching and to live an authentic self.


Teaching and Learning Points

  • I deconstructed the question BEFORE I began writing my response so that I had a very clear sense of direction. It’s important that you have a focused approach, particularly in deciding what the PURPOSE of your persuasive text is going to be BEFORE you begin writing.
  • I SHOW my audience my context, audience and purpose… I don’t TELL them it. There’s a difference.
  • First two sentences are a weak attempt at humour. I wanted to contrast the ‘glamourous life’ and ‘living the dream’ with something very mundane… shopping at Coles.
  • ‘fully-laden trolley’ is storytelling, it’s being descriptive and setting the scene for the audience. It adds to the narrative.
  • The anecdote starts off innocently and then changes into something more serious… challenging the notion of ‘bravery’.
  • There’s a rhetorical question in there to show my incredulity.
  • Notice the short sentences in the second paragraph to make my point in a short, sharp manner. They’re used for impact and to make the point to-the-point.
  • Notice the repetition in this paragraph to reinforce my message.
  • Notice the alliteration of ‘live a lie’ to reinforce my message.
  • Final sentence of the second paragraph gives the context of the persuasive text.
  • Second paragraph becomes more emotive.
  • I use hyperbole in the first sentence of the third paragraph. Being ‘horrified’ in a top shop is a gross exaggeration used to prove my point.
  • There’s a few triplets in this paragraph.
  • Note the use of alliteration to unify the imagery I use at this point.
  • More emotive language- ‘outrageous’.
  • The planning of the rest of the response shows that I would use some facts to support my argument, that I would appeal to my audience’s values and that I would offer an appeal at the end to not judge people by their appearance but by the ‘content of their character’. This, by the way, is an intertextual reference to Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.


As you can see, I’ve used a reasonable range of persuasive devices (rhetorical questions, triplets, emotive language, alliteration, anecdotes, repetition) as well as SHOWING my audience my context, audience and purpose without TELLING them it. The planning shows that I’d want to offer further proofs (facts and an appeal to values/justice) before getting to the emotional climax of my speech and offering a solution or, at least, a challenge to the audience to go out into the world to live their best lives.

How to Deconstruct a Responding Question…

…. And arrive at a thesis statement and topic sentences for three body paragraphs.



Please note the following image, which deconstructs the question (in the centre of the image) and arrives at not only a thesis statement, but three arguments for my body paragraphs.

For the purpose of the question, I’ve explored The Dressmaker, and the central character, Tilly Dunnage.


  1. Deconstruct the question using the SCSA syllabus glossary at the back of the syllabus as well as the generic one used in the formulation of questions. These are available on the SCSA website:
  2. Apply the text to the question.
  3. Select specific points in your chosen text which will form the basis of your body paragraphs.
  4. Devise your thesis statement
  5. Define the arguments for your body paragraphs.


Things to note:

  1. This looks like a lengthy process, but much of this can be done in your interrogation of the question. This is as much about defining a process rather than what it might look like when you’re planning in an exam.
  2. The thesis statement includes reference to the key words from the question.
  3. The arguments for the body paragraphs are explicitly linked to the thesis statement. It’s one cohesive argument.
  4. This needs practice!



Semester 1 Examination Revision- Suggested Tasks

As you know, your Semester 1 examinations take place in Week 7. Week 6 is an assessment-free week in which you’ll be expected to use your lesson time wisely in order to prepare for this examination as effectively (and efficiently) as possible.

Here is a list of possible tasks which you might complete in order to address any targets, areas for development and to work formatively to ensure you have every possible chance of success.

  • Organising notes on set texts into the following categories: genre, themes, conventions, representations of people and groups of people, ideas, values. This will be good preparation for the Responding Section. Remember that you need to know ALL your set texts forensically well to give you the best chance in your Semester 1 examination. You can’t rely on knowing one text well and hope the questions suit it.
  • Practice short answer responses for the Comprehending Section, particularly when writing about unseen fiction and non-fiction texts.
  • Revise image analysis conventions.
  • Practice introductions, including constructing effective/focused thesis statements.
  • Revise body paragraph structure- TEEL- and how effective/focused topic sentences should logically extend from the thesis statement.
  • Revise narrative elements and short story structure.
  • Consolidate your understanding of how to deconstruct questions quickly and effectively.
  • Practice planning responses in 5min bursts.
  • Read through past assessments and use them to set targets for your examination.
  • Write responses under timed conditions.
  • Look at past questions.
  • Research your set texts even further.
  • Use the Year 12 ATAR English blog to find resources on each set text and summarise their contents.
  • Make cue cards to revise from for each set text.
  • Complete a retrieval chart for each set text. Attached to the lesson plan.
This list isn’t exhaustive or definitive, but it does give you some suggestions on how you can use your time productively over the next few lessons/week to prepare for your Semester 1 examination

Task 4 Responding (Comparative)- Summative Feedback

Please use the comments below (and the individual comments on your work once it’s returned to you) to set targets and prepare effectively for your Semester 1 examination. Note that these comments can be equally applied to any question on any text and aren’t restricted to High Noon or The Dressmaker.


In effect, these comments work for ALL questions and ALL texts in the Responding Section of your ATAR examination.


Use them to re-write responses, to work formatively, to set targets.



Task 4- Responding (Comparative)


 Please note the comments below and use them to set personal targets in advance of your Semester 1 examination.




  • Where responses were at their most successful, there was a clear focus on all elements of the question, there was sufficient focus on specific scenes and/or characters, there was an appreciation of how they were constructed and how their construction invited a specific response from a viewer.
  • Effective responses were characterised by sophisticated academic discourse, strong thesis statements, topic sentences which logically and cohesively extended from the thesis statement and backed up by a confident knowledge of the texts.
  • Effective responses were detailed and sustained. While the most effective responses won’t always be the longest ones, there is an expectation that an extended response is precisely that.
  • The most effective responses demonstrated a competent understanding of how these extended responses will be assessed.



Areas for Development


  • Spell titles of texts correctly. High Noon and The Dressmaker. Spell the names of characters correctly. It doesn’t inspire confidence in your response if you make avoidable errors such as these. Underline titles of texts please.
  • Refer to the genre of each text in your introduction.
  • I got the impression from some responses that the understanding and engagement with each text was very limited.
  • Establish strong links in your introduction by using the appropriate discourse markers.
  • Topic sentences should be focused and should build on the clear and focused argument promoted by the thesis statement.
  • Mise en scene (translated: everything that’s in a scene) is an umbrella term for a host of specific features in a visual text. You’re better off being more specific (props, costumes, framing, posture, facial expression etc) and exploring how different elements combine to position a response from a viewer.
  • The most effective responses were those that offered a focused analysis of specific scenes/points in each text and then explored how the construction of these invited a specific response from the viewer.
  • It’s important to explore the function of these texts and how their construction is used to promote particular ideas about the context of production.
  • ‘Viewer’ is a more appropriate term, rather than ‘audience’. It implies a more analytical approach, rather than the more general ‘audience’. You can also use the term ‘When reading this text, …’ which also invites an active engagement with the text rather than a more passive ‘viewing’.
  • The Dressmaker isn’t a Western. It is a revenge comedy which borrows from the Western genre.
  • While context (particularly the context of production) is important, you mustn’t allow yourself to become side-tracked by it. When that happens, you lose sight of the texts themselves which can lead to a rather superficial response.
  • Academic discourse, the language you use to establish and develop your argument, should be sophisticated. Quite a few responses could be considered too informal in the ways in which points about each text were addressed.
  • It’s essential that you establish a clear and unambiguous argument in your thesis statement which is then developed in a clear and logical manner through your topic sentences. In many responses, the lack of a clear thesis statement in relation to both texts and question, lead to an unfocused and largely general treatment of each text. In other words, if you fail to get your introduction right, the success of your response is compromised at this point.
  • General character and plot overview will not get you across the line in ATAR English. You need to be able to demonstrate that characters are constructed, and it is their construction which promotes particular attitudes and values, invites a specific response from the audience and is, in many cases, a reflection on the context in which the text was produced.
  • Some responses were far too brief.
  • Question 3 asked you to explore how the texts appeal to ‘certain audiences’. The most effective responses defined who those ‘certain audiences’ were. However, less effective responses treated the concept of audiences in a very general manner. This was a key discriminator in the responses to this question.
  • Some body paragraphs were quite limited in scope. There were opportunities to extend/develop your ideas and in many cases, these simply weren’t taken. Your argument and insight into the texts needs to be detailed and sophisticated.
  • Body paragraph 1 needs to promote your strongest argument, ideally.

Formative Feedback- Task 4- Comparative Response (High Noon & The Dressmaker)

Year 12 ATAR English


Task 4 Preparation- Formative Comments


Please note the observations below to target-set and to consider ways in which you might improve your performance in your Task 4 assessment this week.


Areas for Development- Content


  • The titles of the texts are High Noon and The Dressmaker. No other variations are acceptable, and it doesn’t inspire confidence in your examiner if you spell the titles of the texts incorrectly. Please note that the titles are underlined.
  • The Dressmaker was DIRECTED by Jocelyn Moorhouse and was RELEASED in 2015. . Please use this link to spell the names of characters correctly:
  • High Noon was DIRECTED by Fred Zinnemann and was RELEASED in 1952.
  • High Noon belongs to the Western genre. Please use this link to spell the names of characters correctly:
  • The Dressmaker does not belong to the Western genre. It is a revenge comedy BUT it borrows heavily from the Western genre.
  • Spell archetype and stereotype correctly.
  • Power and status and connected and are features of the largely patriarchal society constructed by both texts. Kane’s power comes from his status as a (former) marshal, his gender in a patriarchal society, the symbolism of his tin star, the phallic symbolism of the gun. Tilly’s power largely comes from the weaponization of her dresses, while she has no power or status beyond that.
  • If you’re writing about Helen Ramirez, she is a femme fatale and if you’re writing about Amy Kane, she is a damsel in distress. You’ve got this information already but relatively few people chose to use it.
  • Please use all the resources on the ATAR English blog to help guide your reading of these texts. There is a wealth of information on there, which would add sophistication to your insight.



Areas for Development- Writing About the Texts


  • Introduction structure still needs some work. Your thesis statement is your overall argument, which is then broken down into your topic sentences which should develop this argument in a clear and unambiguous manner. The global sentence should go beyond stating the entirely obvious.
  • Your introduction should use the key words from the question to signpost the relevance of your response to the demands of the question.
  • Many responses dealt with the texts too generally and acted, in effect, like plot/character summaries with little insight into specific scenes, how these were constructed and how the construction might position/invite a specific response from the viewer.
  • Some students need to revise effective body paragraph structure.
  • Avoid vague statements like ‘this has an effect on the viewer’ (for ex) without saying what that effect is, how it was constructed, in what part/section/scene of the text and how that might invite a specific response.
  • Topic sentences need to establish a clear argument.
  • Body paragraph structure needs some work. Remember that the structure of a body paragraph doesn’t change for a comparative response.
  • Discourse, in some responses, wasn’t particularly sophisticated. You need to sound like you know what you’re talking about in a sophisticated and controlled manner.
  • While you do need to add some context, some responses were characterised by rather too much of it. One or two short sentences (at most) would be sufficient. Some responses contained too much and this led to responses which were very general.
  • Remember to use clear discourse markers to transition between your texts, particularly in your topic sentences where you switch to writing about a different text.
  • There is an effective structure on the Year 12 English blog for you to follow. Please use it.



A Suggested Structure for a Comparative Response to Section 2 (Responding) Questions

Consider this structure as a suitable framework for a comparative response. Please note that this isn’t the ONLY way in which texts might be compared:



  1. Start with your introduction. This needs to include as many transition markers as possible. A list of these is contained in the downloadable version of the modelled response in the previous post. So… You’ll need to use words like ‘both’ and ‘similarly’ to establish strong links between the texts.
  2. Your FIRST TOPIC SENTENCE needs to also establish a point of comparison between your two texts and establish a clear argument. It should should establish HOW you are going to compare your two texts and what you’re going to focus on- specifically- to compare the texts.
  3. Then… your FIRST BODY PARAGRAPH will focus on your first text.
  4. Your SECOND BODY PARAGRAPH will then focus on your SECOND TEXT. The TOPIC SENTENCE of your SECOND BODY PARAGRAPH will establish a link between your SECOND TEXT and your FIRST TEXT.
  5. At the end of your SECOND BODY PARAGRAPH, your linking sentence will summarise the links between BOTH TEXTS
  6. Your THIRD BODY PARAGRAPH will then focus back on your FIRST TEXT. TOPIC SENTENCE will establish further links between the two texts.
  7. Your FOURTH BODY PARAGRAPH will then return to your second text.
  8. Your conclusion will then summarise your points of comparison and the arguments you posed in establishing links between your texts.

Please see the modelled example for an illustration of how this might look. As ever, let me know if you have any questions.

A Modelled Response to a Comparative Question

Please note the model answer (reproduced from the Good Answers guide 2019) below. I’ve also attached a link underneath to a PDF of the whole response for you to download. 

Page One


Page Three

Comparative Question Model Answer ANNOTATED Good Answers 2019


Teaching and Learning Points:

  • How and why the response is successful using the overview on the first page. Text knowledge, writing in an articulate manner, structuring your response clearly/consistently and understanding how the text(s) were constructed are ESSENTIAL to a successful response to this section of the WACE examination.
  • How the introduction establishes points of comparison clearly and consistently.
  • How the topic sentences work to offer consistent points of comparison
  • The balance between context and content of texts. Does this response offer too much context in places, or does the context allow the candidate to widen their argument?
  • The overall structure of the response and how the candidate uses topic sentences to draw comparisons between the texts but uses the body paragraphs to focus on one text at a time. It’s the topic sentences which do a lot of heavy lifting!
  • Knowledge and understanding of how each text was constructed to promote specific ideas. There’s a strong understanding of selected conventions which elevates this response.
  • Sentence structure has to be more complex when writing about more than one text and those transition markers do affect the ways in which you engage with texts and their ideas.
  • Note the list of transition markers on the last page (of the downloadable version) and how these have been identified in the model answer. You can see how consistently those points of comparison are promoted.
  • Body paragraph structure is consistent.
  • Discourse is sophisticated. Note how the candidate refers to the CONSTRUCTION of character (rather than, simply, characterisation) because CONSTRUCTION invites an exploration of HOW they were constructed.