Fact and Opinion: Not as Easy as it Seems

 Hi, it's Melissa from Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late here to share some tips and a little tool for teaching Fact and Opinion!

I don't know about you, but this is a skill that my students really struggle with all of a sudden when they reach 4th or 5th grade. They can tell me the difference between the two and even give me examples. They even THINK they are really good at it and will sometimes say it's easy. But don't be so quick to take their word! I'm going to walk you through some quick steps to teach and review fact and opinion so that your students can be more successful, even when the examples go past, "Yellow is the best color." and "The sky is blue."

First, make sure they have a STRONG understanding of what fact and opinion looks like. This means you need to go beyond definitions and help them identify traits and clue words.

Amber Polk has a great freebie on TPT that I love to use for this. It includes definitions and characteristics that students can sort under correct categories. Then they can also put everything into an interactive notebook to refer back to later on! Click on the picture to find her freebie.

After students understand characteristics, have them begin to identify examples from text they are reading. But don't stop there! Students need to be able to explain why to reinforce their understanding. Have students highlight key words and/or write what traits are present in the sentence (specific event, date, etc). For facts, I ask my students to tell me how they could prove it is true. If the fact says, "More Olympic events take place in the summer than winter", students could say that they would look for a list of Olympic events sorted by the seasons.

To help students practice proving fact and opinion, I created this simple graphic organizer to share with you. There are two versions: one includes clipart with Si from Duck Dynasty, and the other is plain. I will keep this as a freebie forever, so don't worry about it disappearing on you!

Fact and Opinion Graphic Organizer

What other comprehension skills do you notice students struggle to master?


  1. You are so right! Fact and opinion seems so easy, yet kids don't always get it. I just worked with my second graders on the skill, and one of them said an opinion is "something that isn't true." This will be a great strategy to use with my students in many grade levels! Thanks for the great information!!

    Reading Toward the Stars

    1. I've had to explain to my 5th graders before that just because something isn't true doesn't make it an opinion. There was a mistake on a worksheet, so we ended up labeling it an "incorrect fact". Then we talked about how with facts, you always have a right and wrong. People can disagree on opinions all they want without anyone actually being wrong!

  2. I agree, fact and opinion is tricky for students. I think the most difficult aspect for my kiddos is when they are presented with an opinion that they believe to be true, like "My brother is annoying." Gets 'em every.single.time. Thanks for the graphic organizer. :)

    Another comprehension strategy that my students struggle with is Main Idea, ugh!

    Read With Me ABC

    1. We were working on that Wednesday. One of my kids was insistent that Taylor Swift was a good song writer. I had to explain that not everyone would agree with that. I think it broke her heart! ;-)

      I feel like we work on main idea ALL YEAR, and they still seem to struggle with it!

  3. Excellent post, and I love this organizer. We just did Fact/Opinion last week, and although they do well with picking out signal words, they still get things confused.

    1. Very true. It takes a lot of practice! I also like to have them write their own facts and opinions. They really struggle with writing facts.