Persuading Readers with Endorsement Letters

In this lesson, students explore the genre of commercial endorsements, reading a government document that outlines the guidelines for such advertisements in the United States. Once the characteristics and requirements for the genre are established, each student composes an endorsement of a product, service, company, or industry. Students create a class checklist and rubric for the project and complete a peer review session before publishing their finished letters. This lesson specifies that students write letters for their endorsements; however, the activity can be adapted to a Web page, podcast or audio recording, or a video. (from site) In this activity students will be writing letters of endorsement so that they can u201cwork as experts by choosing a product or service that they use and then . . . persuad[ing] readers to buy the same product or service for themselves.u201d (from site)

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3001.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3001.7.4
Apply and adapt the principles of written composition to create coherent media productions.
CLE 3002.7.4
Apply and adapt the principles of written composition to create coherent media productions.
CLE 3003.7.4
Apply and adapt the principles of written composition to create coherent media productions.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • use technical reading strategies. 
  • review letter-writing conventions. 
  • review and discuss persuasive writing strategies. 
  • analyze a product or service and its related audience. 
  • compose, edit, and publish persuasive letters.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Rather than asking students to write endorsements for products and services that they use, have them choose a character from a recent reading and write an endorsement letter from that character’s perspective. This activity works well as a book report alternative.
  • If classroom and school resources allow, expand the project by offering students the opportunity to create audio endorsements (like podcasts) or video endorsements (like those available on YouTube). Be sure to check your district’s acceptable use policy and review the technology before asking students to work in these other formats. 
  • Political endorsements often include many of the same qualities as product and service endorsements, though they do not fall under the FTC Guides. Share Chuck Norris’s endorsement of Mike Huckabee to get started on a discussion of these political endorsements, and move on to consider the different kinds of political endorsements (e.g., by celebrities, by other politicians, by newspapers, by labor unions, by professional associations or member organizations).