Lesson plan

Capture That Reader!

Everyone loves an intriguing introduction! Help your second graders hook their readers as they practice writing new and improved introductions to well-loved fictional stories in this fun writing lesson.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Story Hooks pre-lesson.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Story Hooks pre-lesson.

Students will be able to capture their readers’ imaginations by composing original beginnings.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about the word “introduction” and what it means.
  • Have students turn to a partner and spend 30 seconds introducing themselves.
  • Explain that the best type of introduction makes you want to learn more. Often, writers will work hard to capture their readers’ attention by composing an interesting and original beginning. This is often called a “hook” to the story.
  • Read aloud the introductory paragraph from 2-3 fictional stories.
  • After hearing the introduction, discuss with the students whether they felt “hooked” and want to continue the story.
(10 minutes)
  • Demonstrate several ways to create an interesting beginning by taking a well-known fictional story, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and composing several alternate beginnings. For example:
    • "Would life ever be carefree for Charlie and his family?"
    • "Clink! A coin dropped in front of Charlie."
    • "There was a man who loved candy more than anything else."
    • "It was a windy day, and Charlie was rushing home to his family when he noticed something shiny on the ground."
    • "Everyone loves candy...at least, that is what the owner of a fabulous secret candy factory thought."
  • Create a list of story starters on the board using the above example to illustrate using a question, sound, statement, description, or fact to hook the reader.
(10 minutes)
  • Choose an additional familiar story (for example, Goldilcks and the Three Bears, James and the Giant Peach, Winnie the Pooh, the Harry Potter series, etc.) and have students work in pairs using one of the story starter methods to create a new introduction that hooks the reader.
  • As students share their introductions, reinforce the idea that a well-written introduction should be short, not give too much away, intrigue the reader, and include one of the ideas from the story starter list.
  • If needed, model writing an additional short, vivid introduction.
(20 minutes)
  • Pass out one of the pre-written index cards containing a book title to each student along with the Grab That Reader worksheet for students to complete independently.
  • Support individual students as needed.


  • Provide students with pre-written sentence frames for each type of introduction from the story starters list.


  • Have students think about word choice and try to use a different style of story starter to write a second introduction to their story. Alternatively, if students finish early, have them complete the Strong Beginnings worksheet.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess students’ ability to write creative introductions by collecting their work samples.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share the introductions they wrote with the class without identifying the story. Then ask students to identify the original title of the story at the end. Invite students to read aloud their new introductions dramatically for effect.

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