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Grade: Middle
Subject: Language

#2950. Teaching Leads in Writing

Language, level: Middle
Posted Sat Oct 4 08:34:06 PDT 2003 by Wendy Geve (
Materials Required: Selected novels or a short story book
Activity Time: Approximately eight days

The lead (beginning or introduction) establishes the direction writing will take. A good lead grabs the reader's attention. it is often called a hook. Each lead should have at least three sentences.

DAY 1: Discuss the definition and importance of a good lead. Read the lead for a number of stories. (Selected novels or short stories) For each story ask the following questions:
1. What do you think the story is about?
2. How can you tell?
3. Based on this lead, would you want to read further? Why or why not?
Occasionally throw in a few very weak leads. The class then discusses what is missing and why it is weak.

ASSIGNMENT: Find a book or story with a lead that grabs your attention. Be prepared to read it to the class and explain why it attracted you to the story.

DAY 2: Share the assignment wifrom the previous day with the class.

DAY 3: Write poor leads on the board and tell them the topic. Example:
TOPIC: baseball
"In this paper I am going to tell you about baseball."
Together we write better leads.

DAY 4: Divide them into groups of two or three (no more) and give each of the groups a poor lead (each group a different lead.). They write a better lead together. Then they present to the class.

DAY 5: Give each of them an assignment with four/five poor leads. They rewrite them and turn them in at the end of the period.

DAY 6: Choose the best leads. (TRY to get one from each student, although it is not always possible). Put them on the board and talk about why they are good. Then ask for suggestions on how to make a very good lead even better.
ASSIGNMENT: Based on what you have learned, choose a topic and write a good lead.

DAY 7: Collect the leads and redistribute them. Each student will evaluate the lead given them on a rubric provided by the tacher. Room is left for suggestions. Give each student five minutes to evaluate. Collect the leads and redistribute them again. Repeat as often as time allows. collect all of the rubrics. The teacher will also evaluate each of the leads.

DAY 8 (Assessment): Give each student their lead and completed rubrics. The student will rewrite his/her lead.