Lesson: Narrative Leads (Part 1): Action Lead, Talking (Dialogue) Lead, and Sound Effect Lead

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Lesson Objective

Wonderful writers will be able to create leads for narrative writing.

Lesson Plan

Main Idea: The lead—plays a special role in a piece of writing. The lead serves to catch the reader’s interest so she/he will want to read the rest. Most important, the lead helps the reader begin to construct meaning. In this lesson, students will craft leads for their narratives. Students will develop a repertoire of seven lead types, such as a dialogue or setting lead, which they can draw from when they’re writing.


Do Now: Multiple Choice Questions


Hook:  Why is the first paragraph of a narrative important? Why are leads important to have in our writing?


Mini-Lesson: Today, we are going to learn several ways we can create an effective that can capture a readers’ attention for narratives. We’ve learned about using questions, quotes, bold and challenging statements. Today, we are going to learn more in order to grab our readers attention when they read our stories. The lead or hook (beginning or introduction) establishes the direction your writing will take.  A good lead grabs the reader’s attention and refuses to let go.  In other words, it hooks the reader.  We are going to learn three leads for narrative writing.  


Today, we are going to look at three examples. These three types of leads are written on the board:


  • TALKING LEAD-Talking leads are about dialogue and conversation-“What in the world did you do that for,” yelled my brother.


  • SOUND EFFECT LEAD-Sound effects are all about sounds! Onomatopoeia (word sounds like meaning) You’ve learned about Onomatopoeia in reader yesterday in Reading. Snap! Crackle! Pop!  That was the sound of the dry twigs beneath our feet as we ran through the woods at the end of our street.


  • ACTION LEAD: Action leads are all about juicy action. Making sure your reader is right there in your action. I gulped my milk, pushed away from the table, and bolted out of the kitchen, slamming the broken screen door behind me.


Instructor passes our worksheets. (Worksheet has student handout of three leads and practice on the back) We have several ways we can create an effective that can capture a readers’ attention. Instructor will briefly review the types of leads and examples readers can use within their writing again. Today, you will use one of these examples to create an effective lead to capture me as your reader. Again, you need a lead that will make me want to read your work. Class reads the sheet and instructor asks: could you use this lead for any piece of writing?  Why or why not? These questions should get students thinking about how different leads fit with different stories or pieces of writing. 


Now, let’s look at some examples of leads. As reminded, certain types of leads may be “better” for certain focuses or topics of writing. For example, humor in a lead may be appropriate for a story about a comedian, but not about a story about a dentist.

Here, I have asked questions to make a reader think about what makes a teacher inspirational and also how these teachers that are inspirational are recognized. I also followed up with an opinion to strengthen my work. This is called a lead because it is at the beginning of our writing and leads us into our essay. Let’s try to create some examples.

Guided Practice (7 minutes): Students and instructor will look over instructor’s model and students will choose a lead they want to use. They will write their ideas of the type of lead they want to use in the designated section on their worksheet. Students will be given 5 minutes to gather their thoughts/ideas and to fill in the box. Instructor will allow 3 minutes for each box for feedback. Recap the three types of leads and their uses.

Independent Writing: (30 minutes of writing): Now, I want you to write an essay with the writing prompt located on the board:

Last year my best friend and I . . .

By looking at the types of leads and the example you have written, choose a  lead and write an effective lead for you first paragraph. You need to pick one type of lead and try to make it work for your own writing. You need to refer back to the questions I asked. Do you have a lead that will capture your reader? If your lead cannot answer these questions with a yes, you have not developed your lead effectively, so you must keep working. I will come around to check your progress. Students work for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, students can ask questions about their writing.

Closure: If time permits, instructor may ask a student or two to share their leads.  Exit Ticket: Students will complete leads for homework. Instructor will check for understanding and return with feedback.

Lesson Resources

Six Leads for Narrative Writing    Notes
Writing Lesson Plan February 16 Narrative Leads Part 1  


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