The Ontario Language Arts curriculum document is divided into four strands—Oral Communication, Reading, Writing, and Media Literacy. In both the Oral Communication and Reading strands, expectation 1.6 requires students to “extend understanding of texts by connecting, comparing, and contrasting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them.” Being able to make a meaningful connection to the text is essential for reading comprehension and strategic reading; however, some students may have trouble actually getting their words down on paper. In order to help my students produce a well-developed written response (one paragraph or multi-paragraph), I tried to find some strategy that they could use to help sort out their ideas and give them a framework to follow. I first found the PEEL strategy on www.tes.co.uk and it appears that this writing framework is very popular in the U.K. After a small adjustment, I decided to try it out with my class and have achieved tremendous success with it.
So, what is PEEL? Well, PEEL is the acronym for POINT-EVIDENCE-EXPLANATION-LINK and works in the following way:
Point: provide the opening statement for your argument…what point are you trying to prove?
Evidence: provide evidence in the form of quotes from the text
Explanation: explain the evidence you provided through purpose and context
Link: a statement that links back to the main point
When actually using PEEL with my students, the “L” became make a link by connecting to a personal experience, another text, or the world around you. This worked really well with my students and helped them not only make deeper and more meaningful connections, but they were able to easily extend their written responses without much struggle!
Also, some of my students preferred to flip around the middle section and make it Point-Explanation-Evidence-Link because they wanted to first explain their argument and then provide evidence to back up their claims. After reading both sets of responses, I tend to agree with them and like having the explanation first and then the evidence as proof.
I’m providing two worksheets to cover both formats (evidence-explanation and explanation-evidence). Also some classroom posters! Have fun!