How to Analyze Expository Texts Through the Rhetorical Appeals

Rhetorical analysis is not for the faint of heart. It’s for teachers and instructors who don’t mind students feeling uncomfortable enough to take a risk. Rhetorical analysis has changed everything for me since I’ve brought these concepts into the classroom. 

The activity below is used to simply introduce the concept to students using a news article or a simple short text. Once we begin this conversation, their work gets better, they have more passion for analyzing literature, and they have the words to discuss this in-depth conversation. 

If you like this activity, check out more of the assignments on Teacher Pay Teacher and see what else might work for your students.  

Teaching High School students rhetorical analysis has changed the way I teach and significantly improved student engagement.

Description of Rhetorical Appeals Activity:

This worksheet is meant to give you a beginner’s knowledge of how to discuss and identify rhetorical appeals in an expository text.  Expository texts are any text that is non-fiction: newspaper articles, informational journals, blogs, magazine articles are just the beginning.

Note: At a later time, we can discuss how any types of videos or audio recordings can also be analyzed for rhetoric.


Analyze a newspaper article for rhetoric.


  • Students will begin to see that any text can be analyzed for rhetoric.
  • Students will have a beginning knowledge of the meaning of ethos, pathos, and logos.


  1. Print out or find a newspaper article that you are interested in.
  2. Use the printable to discuss or write the answers to each question one by one.  Know that each question will have an answer and each answer might be challenging to find.  Look beyond the obvious!!
  3. Skip any questions that you are really struggling with and come back to them later.
  4. After you have completed as many questions as possible, go back to the ones you skipped. One that you might struggle with is this: What does the author want you to do with the information? Most likely, he/she wants you to change your opinion on a subject, describe.
  5. Think about some additional questions about the author: What opinion does the author have about the subject? Who is the audience of the article?
  6. Now respond to the article with your opinion: Do you agree or disagree with the author? Explain.  Would you recommend or mention this article to someone you know? Who and why?

Leave a comment if you downloaded this and completed the activity.  Let me know which question you struggled with the most.  I do plan to do a short video tutorial on this soon, so any confusion can be answered there if you let me know.  

Check out my most popular lesson on writing a Rhetorical Precis on Teacher Pay Teacher Here!

Good luck and blessings to you!!

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