Hooking the Reader with a Dynamic Beginning

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SWBAT use narrative techniques to develop experiences, events and or characters by writing the hook of a narrative.

Big Idea

Why is it important to hook our reader?

Mini Lesson--What makes a hook effective?

15 minutes

When students are younger, they practice writing hooks with specific structure.  Many of my students are taught to write a hook using a rhetorical question, an anecdote or an interesting fact. Today, I am going to expose students to multiple opening paragraphs and encourage them to analyze how the authors chose to structure the beginning of the text contributes to its aesthetic impact (RL.11-12.5).  During student work time, students will write their own hook using narrative techniques to develop a narrative experience modeled after the examples (W.9-10.3b). 

First, we need to identify what makes the examples so great.  I group students into groups of four. I give each group a copy of Opening paragraphs document.  I tell each group to read and discuss the first example.  After I give students a few minutes to discuss, I ask them to tell me what they notice about the first example.  I write these on the board.  This video teacher explanation of student share-out explains how I lead this discussion.  I ask them to identify how the author's choices with their introduction create effects such as mystery, tension or surprise (RL.9-10.5)  and how those choices impact the aesthetic (RL.11-12.5).  We will continue this process for the other examples.  

Student work time--Write a hook

25 minutes

I ask students to get out their heart map and their seed stories from the previous two lessons. I give students instructions:

We have spent the last 15 minutes identifying what makes great introductions, great.  We have made a list on the board and now it is your turn to practice these strategies.  I want you to choose one of your seed stories and write the introduction for that story.  You will have 20 minutes to write your story.  Don't worry about making it perfect.  Rather, focus on engaging the reader by creating a smooth progression of experiences (W.9-10.3a) and using narrative techniques to develop those experiences (W.9-10.3b).  As you work, I will come around to confer with you about your introductions.  I will ask you to read your introductions aloud so that you and I both can hear your reading voice.  

Closure-Share your writing

10 minutes

I ask students for volunteers to share their introductions.  I put the introductions under the document camera.  Students and I read the introductions and discuss what makes them great.


At the end of class, I tell students to put their introduction in their binder as unfinished writing.