Under the Common Core State Standards, persuasive, opinion and argumentative essays can be considered distinct styles that build students' skills in a developmental continuum, writes James Scott Miller, a Zaner-Bloser senior instructional consultant and author. Opinion writing in elementary school prepares students for argumentative essays in sixth grade, Miller writes, though identifying the types of writing specifically isn't the key. "As writers develop, their compositions will gradually become less opinion-oriented and more characteristic of a true argument," he writes.

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