Lesson Plan

Exaggeration in Nonfiction


Grade Levels

Related Academic Standards

Assessment Anchors

Eligible Content

Big Ideas




[IS.5 - Language Function]

In this lesson, students examine the problems caused by the exaggeration that is prevalent in propaganda and some editorials. Students will: [IS.6 - All Students]

  • define exaggeration and propaganda.
  • identify examples of exaggeration in propaganda and editorials.
  • read several passages and identify them as objective or biased, underlining supporting evidence.
  • label specific examples of stereotyping and exaggeration.  [IS.7 - Level 1]

Essential Questions

  • How does interaction with text provoke thinking and response?


[IS.1 - Preparation ]

[IS.2 - ELP Standards]

[IS.3 - Language Function]

  • Bias: A judgment based on a personal point of view. [IS.4 - All Students]
  • Exaggeration: To make an overstatement or to stretch the truth.
  • Propaganda Techniques and Persuasive Tactics: Propaganda techniques and persuasive tactics are used to influence people to believe, buy, or do something. Students should be able to identify and comprehend the propaganda techniques and persuasive tactics listed below.

1.      Name-calling is an attack on a person instead of an issue.

2.      A bandwagon appeal tries to persuade the reader to do, think, or buy something because it is popular or because “everyone” is doing it.

3.      A red herring is an attempt to distract the reader with details not relevant to the argument.

4.      An emotional appeal tries to persuade the reader by using words that appeal to the reader’s emotions instead of to logic or reason.

5.      A testimonial attempts to persuade the reader by using a famous person to endorse a product or idea (for instance, the celebrity endorsement).

6.      Repetition attempts to persuade the reader by repeating a message over and over again.

7.      A sweeping generalization (stereotyping) makes an oversimplified statement about a group based on limited information.

8.      A circular argument states a conclusion as part of the proof of the argument.

9.      An appeal to numbers, facts, or statistics attempts to persuade the reader by showing how many people think something is true.


45–90 minutes/1–2 class periods

Prerequisite Skills


[IS.8 - ELL Students]

Note: Please check Web sites in advance for availability.

o   “Hurricane Earl grows to category 4; Tropical Storm Fiona forms.” CNN U.S. 31 August 2010. http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/30/tropical.weather/index.html.

o   “Our view on food safety: Egg recalls fit pattern of negligence, lax oversight.” USA Today. 29 August 2010. http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2010-08-30-editorial30_ST_N.htm

o   “Texting is not talking.” The Boston Globe. 16 July 2009. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2009/06/16/texting_is_not_talking/

o   Pandemic Level Increased by Daniel Wetter. Scholastic.com. 6 July 2009. http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3752088

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