Lesson: Non-fiction Text Structures: Author's Purpose: Introductory Paragraphs (Lesson 17)

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Lesson Objective

Paragraphs have purposes. Introductory paragraphs catch the reader’s attention.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 17

Standard: Identify the purpose of common textual features (for example, title, headings, key words, paragraphs, topic sentences, table of contents, indices, glossary,  captions accompanying illustrations or photographs).

Identify topic sentences, supporting details, and elaboration in paragraphs. 

Determine the purpose of individual sentences and paragraphs and how they contribute to the text as a whole. 

Big Idea:  Writers use lots of evidence to support the main idea.  These supporting details fill the text; they are found in every paragraph, all textual features, and all graphic features. 


Teaching Point: Paragraphs have purposes. Introductory paragraphs catch the reader’s attention.



Reading Workshop: Reading binders, pencils, class copies of “Exploding Ants,” pages 8-11

Read Aloud: Reader binders, copy of Exploding Ants, small post-its


Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • Readers, yesterday we started learning about the purpose of paragraphs. We know that good authors organize each paragraph around one thing, one purpose, and that good readers have to understand what that purpose is.
  • We are going to continue writing open responses, but for the next few weeks we will be writing about what we’ve learned in our read aloud “Exploding Ants.” You are going to get your own copy of the section of “Exploding Ants” that we read yesterday so that you can highlight it for evidence that will answer this question. [Put up OR question.]
  • How many parts does this question have? (2)
  • This question is a little different from other open responses we’ve done. We really need to be able to explain what these animals have in common. Does anyone remember what these two animals have in common? (Call on a student who may remember.) Let’s re-read those sections quickly to remind ourselves what these animals have in common. I don’t want to highlight any evidence about them until I can answer the question directly and correctly. [Discuss until students realize that both predatory female fireflies and cuckoos kill other animals to meet their needs.]
  • Okay, now we are ready to re-read for evidence. [Do that, highlighting and labeling as needed.]
  • Come up with a topic sentence as a whole class. Write OR as a whole group, in small groups, or independently.


Read Aloud Lesson:

  • Readers, we have been learning that in all texts we read, every paragraph has a purpose, and good readers always know what the purpose of each paragraph is. Today, we are going to continue looking at the text structure and the purpose of the paragraphs in “Exploding Ants.”
  •  [Start reading “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Make predictions based on headings and pictures before starting each section. Notice that much like last time, most of the first paragraphs are meant to catch the reader’s attention, to make us more interested in the disgusting thing this animal does. Mark each hook with a post-it.]
  • [Stop at the end of page 15. We will read “Swelling, Expanding, and Exploding Bodies” next time.]

Lesson Resources

Lesson 17 Open Response.docx  


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