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Teach Students to Use a Variety of Leads in Their Writing

By Beth Newingham on January 28, 2013
  • Grades: 3–5

I am not a proponent of prescribed writing, but when nearly half of my 3rd graders were starting their stories with “One day . . . ,” I knew it was time to introduce them to a variety of leads that they could use to gain the interest of their audience.

As I often tell them, a reader usually decides very early in a story if he will continue reading or abandon the text. The author needs to draw the reader in from the beginning.

I created these posters of the different types of leads I teach my students: Action, Flashback, Question, Snapshot, Sound Effect, and Talking. (Many of the ideas for the titles of the leads come from Barry Lane’s awesome book, Reviser's Toolbox.)

While my students do all of the writing in their Writer’s Notebook, they also keep helpful handouts in a writing folder. Download this Leads in Narrative Writing handout [link to: http://blogs.scholastic.com/files/leads-in-narrative-writing.doc.pdf] that gives students an easily accessible reminder of each type of lead.

You can also download the material in a SMART Board file.

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