Hooking your Reader!

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SWBAT write an inviting introductory paragraph for an argumentative piece.

Big Idea

Hook that reader and reel him in!

Types of Hooks

10 minutes

Today I will introduce students to five types of hooks that will work well with argumentative writing.  Since this type of writing is new to me and my students, I had to create this concept from scratch.  I took some of information from the old persuasive essay and modified it to make it more formal and professional.  For example, I don't want my students to engage the audience or refer to their own feelings and desires in this piece.  

I came up with the following hooks to help them write their very first sentence.

  • Start with a startling statistic
  • Use a quote
  • Give a definition
  • Begin with a general statement
  • Begin with a bold and challenging statement

I will have my students write these types of hooks in their writing notebook, and I give a sample of each one using a claim I have already chosen.  I'll  also mention any outstanding examples I hear in earlier classes.  

Once we have gone through each type, I'll ask students to choose the one that they think will work best for their particular topic.  They'll consult their research and tree map in order to come up with an amazing hook!  I'll have the students write their hook in their writing notebook under the types of hooks.  As they write, I'll monitor and help out.  If I see a great example, I will share it with everyone.  

After everyone has written, I'll ask for volunteers to share out with the class.  We will discuss which type of hook was used and how it worked.  

Student Examples





I feel like spending some time on just one sentence is valuable for a several reasons.  First of all, getting started is typically the most difficult part of the writing process (for my kids anyway!). Secondly,  the first sentence is the reader's first impression and can set the tone for the entire piece.   

The Dreaded First Paragraph

15 minutes

My students always struggle with beginning and ending a writing assignment, so I like to spend a little extra time modelling this process with them. 

I'll give them a little bit of formula to use to help them make the introduction of their essay flow.  I'll start by telling them that we will eventually write five paragraphs, but today we will only focus on one!  

I like to have my students keep their writing in a spiral writing notebook so that they can't lose parts of it before they are finished.  I'll ask them to start a new page in their notebook and begin a new paragraph with the hook that they just chose.  

At this point, I'll share my example hook with them. 

Next, they will decide if there is any information that needs to be given to the reader in order to help him or her understand the issue at hand.  It can be background on the problem or an explanation of the hook if necessary.  

I'll share the way I did this and explain that it may not be necessary for all of their topics.  I anticipate that this will be the most difficult part of the paragraph because they'll have to make some inferences about what the reader needs to know.  I feel like my students will need some extra support here, so I'll make sure to get around to as many students as possible.  I'll also talk through some examples of student work if needed.  

Finally, I'll have the students present their claim and three reasons.  This will be the end of the first paragraph.  I'll share my claim and reasons as well.

I will make sure to read each students' introductory paragraph before they can move on.  I typically carry about a clip board, and check off students that I've met with.  This way I can be sure that every person is able to write a clear introductory.  

Student Examples


10 minutes

We will spend a little bit of time today adding a couple of transitions to the first paragraph.  I'm giving the students a big list of all different types of transitions.  I'll highlight a few types that might come in handy in their introductory paragraph.

I'll have students read their first paragraph silently, and assess where a transition might be needed.  If they are having trouble, I'll have them ask a friend to read the paragraph.  

Although, we will be working on using transitions with this writing assignment, this is a little bit of a stalling technique.  My goal is to walk around and read as many introductory paragraphs as possible and offer immediate feedback, so I want the students to have one more task to work on.  

After students have all read their paragraphs, I will stop and model adding a transition with one of my students' work.  It is really tough for sixth graders to revise their own writing, but I am hoping to teach them how to revise for fluency and flow during the writing of this argumentative piece.  We might as well get started!