Persuasive Speech

Persuasive Speech: ELA 11 VanValkenburgh
Compose a persuasive speech: Patrick Henry’s famous speech is a classic example of effective
oratory, the art of public speaking. Using Henry’s speech as a model, write a three-to-five
paragraph persuasive speech on a topic you feel strongly about. You must include elements of
ethos, logos, or pathos.
Present a clear argument (firm stance!)
Cite reasons and evidence (use actual quotes when you can – cite sources)
Use rhetorical devices (repetition, parallelism, antithesis, allusions, rhetorical question,
Close with a strong statement (call to action)
You will have 3-4 class periods to work on developing your speech both in class and in the
Media Center. The speech is due next Friday (NOVEMBER 15th)!
**You also have an extra credit opportunity! You can present your speech in front of your
classmates for extra points!**
Possible topics: Argue against or defend on of the stances below, or come up with your own.
1. All students should stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. The drinking age should be lowered.
3. Everyone should be educated about better nutrition because it benefits society.
4. All students engage in a study hall period where he or she can read and work.
5. Magazines marketed for teenagers send the wrong moral and ethical messages.
6. Tax incentives for international adoption are a good idea.
7. The government should cut off all foreign aid to dictatorships.
8. Online education is just as good as classroom learning.
9. In-vitro transplants should be banned.
10. College scholarship athletes should receive a monthly stipend to cover expenses.
11. Cell phone use and texting cause lower levels of concentration and focus.
12. Legalization of gambling.
13. Public displays of affection should be banned in schools.
14. Life is better now than it was 50 years ago.
15. Reality shows are exploiting people.
16. Violent video games are dangerous.
17. Texting while driving should be illegal.
18. We should do away with pennies.
This is a space for you to plan out your speech (writing should always begin with brainstorming
and outlining). Bring this in on Monday with you (we’ll be using it all this week).
Begin by listing…
SPEECH ELEMENTS (Brainstorming/Outline)
Introductory hook (How can you get our attention?):
Stance (State how you clearly feel about the topic):
Reasons/evidence (Back up your argument using E, P, or L – or all three!):
Closing statement (Summarize your arguments and leave us with something to really think
about – Call us to action!):
Consider your audience (!!) Have you adequately addressed them? Have you considered their
investment or wants/needs/values?
How is your tone? Does is reflect what you want your audience to know about your feelings?
What is the purpose of your speech? If it is not completely clear, then refocus it.