Teach young authors how to "hook" readers with this hands-on lesson. By examining novels and developing their own introductions, students will be able to hone their writing skills.
Students will be able to identify and create different types of story introductions.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Have students pair up and briefly discuss what they think an introduction is.
- Allow a few volunteers to share their ideas with the rest of the class.
- Explain that the introduction of a text gives the reader a preview of what the rest of it will be about. It usually starts with a hook, or a line meant to get the reader interested.
- Compare the introduction of a text to some of the introduction types mentioned by students. For example, an introduction that occurs when two people meet helps them get acquainted, just like the introduction of a paper helps the reader get acquainted with its topic.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Write on the board: setting, dialogue, action, character description. Tell students that different stories have different types of introductions, and each of these things can be used to introduce a text.
- Explain each type of introduction. A setting introduction describes the location and atmosphere of the story. A dialogue introduction features a conversation between different characters. An action introduction describes an event or something a character does. A character description introduction, as its name implies, describes one or more of the story's characters.
- Read aloud 2-3 sentences from the beginning of a novel. 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 2-3 sentences from the beginning of a second novel. Have each student talk to a neighbor and try to determine what type of introduction you read.
- Repeat this process with a third novel.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)
- Distribute the index cards, then have students take out their novels.
- Have each student copy the introduction of his novel (2-3 sentences) onto his index card.
- 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 (20 minutes)
- Ask each student to write three different types of introductions for his 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.
- Enrichment: Challenge advanced students to improve their word choice. Have them reread each introduction and replace common words (e.g. "big") with more interesting words (e.g. "humongous").
- Support: Reduce the workload for struggling students. Ask them to write one or two introductions instead of three. This will allow them to focus on the task at hand without feeling rushed.
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Collect the introductions at the end of the lesson. Review them later to assess students' understanding of hooks and different types of introductions.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Allow volunteers to share their introductions, one per category.
- Remind students to continue noticing different types of introductions as they read.