I quickly tossed the mac and cheese box in the trash. “Ok, boys, dinner’s ready,” I called into the living room.
“Thank you!” they called as they climbed into their seats.
I smiled tensely, hoping they wouldn’t notice my slight.
My older son looked down at his plate and furrowed his brow. “I don’t like this one.”
Children at this age have no problem stating their opinions when it comes to the dinner menu. But understanding the difference between opinions and facts, and then being able to state and write their own opinion statements can be a challenge.
Kindergarten writing standards ask students to:
Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is . . .)Common Core Standards for Kindergaten: Writing Standard 1
It may sound like a challenging task, but I’ve put together 10 simple ways to teach kindergarteners how to understand, state, and write their own opinions.
10 Easy Ways to Teach Opinion Writing in Kindergarten
1. Post the Stems
Post anchor charts with opinion writing stems to help give kindergarten students the language they need for opinion writing.
Create a poster for your classroom so your students can learn to use this language every time they write or state an opinion. This serves as a writing template for students.
Opinion Sentence Stem Options:
- “I think…”
- “I prefer…”
- “I believe…”
- “In my opinion…”
- “My favorite…”
- “I like…” and “I do not like…”
- “…is the best because…”
- “…is better than…because”
2. Read Books
Books are a great thing to add to your opinion writing lesson plans. Kids naturally wonder why when reading a book. When you read books that naturally suggest opinions, discuss and create lessons around them to help children understand different opinions.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. I Don’t Want to Be a Frog Dev Petty
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog* is great for discussing likes and dislikes. Start off by discussing some of the things the frog doesn’t like about himself. Then discuss the good characteristics.
Then discuss the pros and cons of being a child. Create a bank of reasons during your discussion.
After the word bank has been created, have each child write one of the things they like about being a child and one of the things that isn’t so great.
For Example: “Being a kid is nice. I like going to school, but I do not like eating my vegetables.”
2. We Disagree Bethanie Deeney Murguia
We Disagree is a book about two animals who can’t seem to agree on anything. It’s perfect for introducing students to the idea that people have different opinions.
Have students create “I like…better than….” or “I prefer…over….” statements. Or create questions for them to respond to based on the questions in the book.
For Example: “I prefer riding a bike over hiking.”
3. The Perfect Pet Margie Palatini
In The Perfect Pet, Elizabeth wants a pet and goes about finding ways to convince her parents to get her the perfect pet. She persuasively lists reasons why each pet she presents is perfect and her parents argue with each.
This book is perfect for a larger writing project on the best pet. Have children formulate their own arguments on why their chosen pet is perfect.
For Example: “A dog is the perfect pet because they are friendly, they like walks, and they are helpful.”
Here are a few more opinion writing picture book options from True Life: I’m a Teacher.
3. “I Like” Ice Cream
This My Favorite Ice Cream Lesson Series helps students discuss their own likes and dislikes when it comes to ice cream. Students start off identifying ice cream flavors and practicing writing “like” and “do not like.” Then they move into determining their own preferences. Finally, they write a statement about the ice cream flavor they like the most. They even practice writing a paragraph (with stems) about the flavors they like and don’t like.
This helps children learn to identify their own likes and dislikes and practice stating their own opinions.
4. “I Prefer” Pizza
The I Prefer Pizza Opinion Writing Lesson Series focuses on the stems “I prefer…” and “In my opinion…” while focusing on one of their favorite foods.
Students first practice identifying pizza toppings in writing. Then they determine the pizza toppings that they like more. Finally, they create comparison sentences and final sentences that list the toppings on the best pizza.
5. Play Games
Have your kindergarteners practice identifying opinions with these sorting games. Each game includes 6 or 7 facts and 6 or 7 opinions to identify. Children will cut out the statements and add them to the correct place. Sorting out the facts and identifying the opinions.
Each game can be played in groups or individually.
This includes 3 different options: a sports-themed game, an ice cream-themed game, and a neutral game. Each has different statements so you can play one or all 3!
6. “My Favorite” Color
This My Favorite Color Lesson Series focuses on explanation. Children are asked to identify terms, make decisions about which they like more, and choose reasons why. The finishing assignment asks them to use all these practiced skills to write a full sentence stating their favorite color and giving an explanation. This uses the sentence stem, “My favorite color is…because….”
Children are given thorough practice, with a word bank, writing out reasons they like one color over the other.
7. “My Favorite” Thing
This lesson series on My Favorite Thing, uses graphic organizers to help children decide on their favorite things. Do they like going places or picking flowers? Do they like coloring pictures or reading?
Again, children are provided with reasons they may like one thing or another and supported in writing a sentence to explain why.
They will eventually write about their favorite thing with scaffolded reasons and then without them.
8. Daily Writing
One way to make sure your students are getting regular writing practice, as suggested by research and the Department of Education, is to use daily writing prompts. Add some opinion writing prompts to give them regular practice with opinion statements. Introduce a question of the day and give them sentence starters to help answer the question.
Kindergarten Opinion Writing Prompts:
- What is the best snack?
- Which is better? Fish sticks or chicken nuggets?
- What is the best toy?
- What is your favorite thing to do after school?
- Which season is best?
- What is your favorite holiday? Why?
- Would you rather play on the slide or the swings?
- What is your favorite animal?
Be sure to use the anchor charts with sentence starters to help students formulate their responses.
This list from Kindergarten Corps is another great place to find a kindergarten writing prompt that focuses on opinion writing.
9. Drawing and Describing Images
Another simple way to teach opinion writing is to have your kindergarteners draw a picture and write about what they think is going on in the picture. Alternatively, you can provide them with a picture and ask them to write about what they think is happening.
Using the picture above, I would first ask the children what they see in the picture. This helps them learn to identify concrete details. Write what they list somewhere they can see it.
After they have listed everything in the picture, ask where they think this girl is. They will write “I think the girl is…” to answer the first part of the question.
After they’ve written that, ask them why and bring them back to the concrete details that they identified. They will add to their sentence. “I think the girl is…because….”
For this picture, their sentence might be “I think the girl is in the library because there are books behind her.”
10. My Favorite Book
This is a simple way to reinforce opinion writing skills and can be done after a reading unit or stations where children read different books. It’s a simple handout where students draw their favorite book and write the name of the book on the cover. Then they write an opinion sentence stating what their favorite book is and explaining why it’s their favorite.
This can be used multiple times throughout the year.
Opinion Writing Unit
Use all of these resources together to create a full unit of study. Use each lesson series for writing centers or a literacy center, having students work through each lesson series.
I hope you’ve found at least a few of these options helpful in your kindergarten classroom or with your kindergartener at home. Soon enough your kindergartener may be able to do more than just state their opinion at dinner time.
In case you missed it, don’t forget to grab our free opinion writing resources for kindergarten. As a bonus, you’ll be the first to access any new resources or content we publish.
Related: A Fun Way to Teach Elementary Poetry
Campos. (2015). Kindergarten Writing – Opinion writing prompts. Kindergarten Corps. Retrieved October 12, 2023, from https://kindergartencorps.blogspot.com/2014/02/kindergarten-writing-opinion-writing_3.html</a>
Puranik, C. S., Al Otaiba, S., Sidler, J. F., & Greulich, L. (2014). Exploring the amount and type of writing instruction during language arts instruction in kindergarten classrooms. Reading and writing, 27, 213-236.
Theresa. (2021). Books to teach opinion writing. True Life I’m a Teacher. https://truelifeimateacher.com/books-to-teach-opinion-writing/</a>