By now, students have developed some awesome stories that are so eexciting and interesting and different from one another. They are writing about magical animals, and finding cures of potions, and even going to distant worlds.
In this lesson I am going to teach them that sometimes, when we are right in the mize of writing, we pause ourselves and think about our leads. Leads is the part of your story that gets the reader excited and interested in what is comin next. Sometimes we get help from the pros.
I show the students how I use a book to discover new ways to revise a lead I had previously written. You can choose almost any good chapter book but it is fun to use one that the kids have read or heard of. Of course, always preview it first before you just pick it up off the shelves as an example.
I notice that it starts right off with dialogue and a little action. It also starts really close to the main event and kind of gives you a hint about what might be important later.
So then I tried that in my lead:
Joey woke up to his mom yelling at him from downstairs. His morning usually started off this way. I know, I know, brush my teeth. Hmm, what should I wear to celebrate my best friends birthday?, Joey thought. I know, I’ll wear the Moove Over shirt we got last week at the fair. Joey jumped out of bed, excited because today was his best friends birthday and he was going to bring cupcakes to school (he knew he would get an extra one because they were best friends). Normally, he was stay in bed for another hour, if he could, but today he had to meet his friend at his house to walk with him to school.
I reiterate how I read the beginning of the book and tried to notice what stood out to me and then tried to understand what the writer did.
I remind them that as they are developing their writing skills, they can look to other authors that they like reading and try to notice what they are doing and then try out that same strategy.
Students try to write leads that include dialogue, action, and setting.
To close this lesson, students share with their peers. They share their favorite lead and receive feedback about its effectiveness. However, if the writer is not sure of which to use, they may share more than one lead with the hopes of finding the most effective one.
I will also find two or three different type of leads to showcase as examples for students who are still coming up with different leads.