Writing Catchy Introductions
Students will be able to identify and create different types of story introductions.
Common Core Standard
Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
Sheep by Valerie Hobbs
- Have students find a partner and discuss introductions. What are they and why are they important?
- Ask for volunteers to share their ideas with the rest of the class.
- Tell students that introductions are important because they give readers a preview of what the rest of the text is about. They usually start with a hook to get the reader interested.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling
- There are four ways to introduce a story: through action, the story’s setting, through dialogue, or with a character description.
- Explain each introduction.
- An action introduction describes an event or something a character does.
- A setting introduction describes the location and atmosphere of the story.
- A dialogue introduction features a conversation between different characters.
- A character description introduction, as its name implies, describes one or more of the story's characters.
- Read aloud the first paragraph from The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford.
- Model the process of determining what type of introduction you just read. You can do this by asking and answering questions such as: Did these sentences describe a location or atmosphere? Did it feature a conversation between different characters?
- Read aloud the first paragraph of Sheep by Valerie Hobbs. Have students pair together and discuss the introduction that you read and try to determine what type of introduction it was.
- Explain to students that these books were similar in that they were both fiction novels about dogs, yet they have different types of introduction.
- Which do you feel was more effective?
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling
- Distribute the index cards, then have students take out a novel they have been reading independently.
- Have each student copy the introduction of his/her novel (2-3 sentences) onto his/her index card.
- Once finished, students should partner up and share their introductions. They should work together to determine the type of introduction for each story.
- Once students have finished copying, have them pair up to share their introductions. Ask them to work together to determine the introduction type of each story.
- Some students may have introductions that don't fit into any of the listed categories. Challenge each of these students and their partners to come up with a new category that accurately describes the introduction. Students who complete this activity early may share and discuss with other partners.
- After several minutes, have students regroup. Ask for volunteers to read their introduction to the class and explain what type of introduction it is. Make sure to ask about any new categories that may have been discovered and add them to the board.
- Collect the index cards. They can be posted in the classroom to give students ideas for writing their own introductions.
Independent Working Time
- Ask each student to write three different types of introductions for his/her novel.
- Once they've finished, ask students to reread each of their introductions and draw a star next to the one they think has the best hook.
Review and Closing
- Collect the introductions at the end of the lesson. Review them later to assess students' understanding of hooks and different types of introductions.
- Allow volunteers to share their introductions, one per category.
- Remind students to continue noticing different types of introductions as they read.
Burnford, Sheila. (1997). The Incredible Journey. New York, NY. Yearling.
Hobbs, Valerie. (2009). Sheep. New York, NY. Macmillan Publishers.