Crafting a Lead Sentence
Hook: Read the first sentence of a couple mentor texts to show a variety of leading sentences that catch the reader’s attention. Options include Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto for an opening paragraph that describes the setting. Another is Pax by Sara Pennypacker who begins the story with the dogs sense of feeling. There are many other great texts to show examples on how to draw in the reader to the story.
Purpose: Today writers, we are going to look at how other authors begin their stories. By looking at the different ways they begin their stories, we will borrow some of their strategies and include them in our own writing. We want to be able to draw our reader in and hook them into our story through the first sentence by choosing the right lead.
Brainstorm: The teacher will begin by having the students come up with a scenario that all of the students can relate to. Examples include, going across the monkey bars during recess, sitting in the cafeteria, or running a mile at P.E. The teacher will have already chosen a couple leads to provide as examples that match the mentor texts read previously. The teacher will then proceed to model writing the leading sentences.
Model: Using a scenario that the students came up with, give examples of leading sentences. For this let’s use running the mile run in P.E. as the example.
Foreshadowing – If only I had known we were being timed in P.E. today. Would I still have chosen to wear jeans?
Short, Choppy Statement – No. That’s not today is it?
Onomatopoeia – Huffing and puffing I rounded my first lap. I turned around to see if my friends would be passing me soon.
Shared/Guided Writing: Provide students with the time to create lead sentences as the teacher has modeled. Depending on age group is how many examples you provide as the teacher. Students may work independently or in pairs to create the leads by using shared experiences.
Independent Writing: Have students create lead sentences for pieces of writing that they have previously written. This can be to hook the reader better and be a part of the revision process. The students may also begin a new piece by creating a catching lead.
Reflection: Allow time for the students to share their leads with their peers and answer the following questions. This can also be done as a whole group.
How did using these sentence structures hook your reader?
Did your piece improve and how?
What perspectives did you use in your lead?
What was the feedback you received from your peers?