Little Guy

story by Lyn Priestley , illustrated by Peter Sheehan

Learning intention:

I am learning to plan supporting details of my argument so that I can perform a persuasive talk to a specific audience.

Success criteria:                       

  • I can plan a persuasive argument.
  • I can clearly define my position in an argument.
  • I can use supporting details when presenting an argument.

Essential knowledge:


After reading the story, ask students how else families expand besides adopting a child. Answers will include parents having another child, parents remarrying and bringing stepchildren into the family, grandparents moving in and buying a pet. Ask how students would feel if their family was to expand – with a pet monkey! Explain that they will be performing a monologue as if talking to their parents/guardians, either convincing them to buy a pet monkey or convincing them not to.


As a class, brainstorm arguments for and against having a pet monkey. Some sample answers are below.



  1. It would be fun.
  2. You could train the monkey to help with housework.
  3. A pet monkey means something to play with, leaving parents free.
  4. It would make a great show-and-tell at school.



  1. It would be more expensive because you have to buy food, toys etc.
  2. Where will the monkey sleep?
  3. It might be messy.
  4. It is cruel to domesticate a wild animal.


Give students time to decide which argument they want to choose and have them write down what supporting details they want to use. Display a similar framework to the one below and have students fill out each part with what they’ll say.


Part one – Introduce situation and argument.

Part two – Give three reasons for the argument, each with a supporting detail.

Part three – Give an argument considering the opposite point of view, then rebut that argument.

Part four – Conclusion.


A sample plan is below.


Part one – Mum and Dad, I understand you’re looking at buying a pet monkey and I’m with you one hundred percent. I’m an only child and would love a pet to keep me company.

Part two – First of all, having a monkey means I’d have someone to play with. It’s lonely when I’m home alone all the time. And it’ll mean you won’t always need to find ways to keep me busy. Won’t that be so much easier for you? Secondly, in the evenings we can all play together! Spending time together will bring us closer as a family. Thirdly, it would make life more interesting. We’d never be bored. And imagine how fun it would be to bring a monkey in for show-and-tell at school.

Part three - Now, I know it will be more expensive to have a monkey. But we have a warm, safe and loving home, and the monkey would be happy – much happier if it were stuck out in the wild, trying to find its own food.

Part four – Obviously, it’s the best thing for this family if we get a monkey. I’ll be happier, we’ll be closer as a family and life will be way more fun. Thanks for listening!


Encourage students to use high modality words, emotive words and personal anecdotes to strengthen their arguments.


Extension: Students can use research or statistics, such as how much it would cost to go to the movies with three children instead of two.


Give students time to rehearse their argument. Presentations could be in front of the whole class or within groups of five or six.