Where a Letter, a Spoken Word, and a Novel Meet


“As a young boy in France, Jay Frankston witnessed the rise of Hitler’s anti-Semitism leading up to the war and the Holocaust. The experience of watching so many people stand by and do nothing affirmed his belief in speaking up against wrongs, no matter how small.”

Listen to Jay Frankston’s words heretib-frankstonj-105932-200.

This past week, we have read and analyzed an Excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from the Birmingham City Jail.  To increase your understanding of this magnificent letter, watch A Reading of the Letter From Birmingham Jail – OFFICIAL TRAILER from Jamaal Bell on Vimeo.

What do these two works have in common?  What can they teach us today?

This week’s topic for your argument paragraph is as follows:  What is a common theme in Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail, Jay Frankston’s audio recording Speak Up, and Lois Lowry’s historical fiction Number the Stars?

How do you write an argument paragraph?  Make a thoughtful claim!  Support your claim with evidence!!


Fact vs. Opinion

Facts can be proven, while opinions are personal feelings about a topic. Argument writers use both fact and opinion when developing pieces.

What Is an Argument?

An argument is an opinion supported by facts. Writers refer to opinions as claims and facts as evidence. The claim clearly states a stance on a topic or issue. Evidence to prove this claim can include reasons, personal experience, statistics, confirmed facts, and expert research.

Your paragraph should have:

  1. A topic sentence with a clear claim that states the common theme for all three works.
  2. Textual evidence (at least one example from each work) to support your claim.
  3. Explanation of your textual evidence that brings the reader back to your claim.
  4. Transitional devices that help organize and sequence your writing.
  5. A concluding sentence that reinforces your original claim.
  6. Proper grammar (in the present tense)
  7. Accurate spelling
  8. Proper punctuation
  9. Sixth-grade vocabulary
  10. Original, compelling ideas!

Here is our comparative analysis writing rubric.

Enjoy the thinking and writing process, Sixth-Grade Writers/Scholars!


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