Lesson plan

Argument Writing: Drafting the Introductory Paragraph

Great introductory paragraphs pull the reader in. Students will review the different types of hooks and practise writing effective hooks. Then students will study the structure of of the introductory paragraph and begin to craft their own.
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Students will learn about the different kinds of hooks that writers use to start their essay or story.

Students will learn to write an effective introductory paragraph to an argument essay, including a hook, three supports, and their claim.

(10 minutes)
  • Select 3-5 books from your class library that have good beginnings (first few paragraphs) that really hook the reader in.
  • Ask students: What do you think an author is thinking about when they write the beginning of a piece of writing, whether it be a story, an essay, or some other non-fiction?
  • Tell students that you will be reading just the beginning of a few books and after each one you will ask them to share how they think the author is trying to hook them into the story.
  • Read each beginning and follow up with a brief discussion about the hook.
  • Explain that they will crafting a “grabby” introduction to their argument writing today, and this lesson will walk them through it.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the resource Types of Hooks to each student. Review each kind of hook together, briefly.
  • Give the class a hypothetical writing topic, such as “Why Recess Should be Extended.” With students working in pairs or groups, assign one kind of hook to each group and ask them to craft another example of a hook for that prompt.
  • Have each group share out to the class. If groups finish early, have them select another kind of hook and create a second example.
(25 minutes)
  • Distribute the The Introductory Paragraph worksheet that reviews the parts of an introductory paragraph.
  • Have students complete the activity as a class, in small groups, or in pairs.
  • As a class, discuss the questions provided at the end of the activity.
  • Distribute the Time to Write Your Introductory Paragraph worksheet.
  • Explain that students will now begin drafting the introductory paragraph of their argument essay.
  • Using their prewriting and the Types of Hooks resource, have students craft a hook for their introductory paragraph.
  • Give them five minutes to write a hook - tell them it’s okay if it doesn’t turn out great. They can write a few and pick the best one.
  • Have them share their hook with a partner or small group. If they don’t like it, they can rewrite it during independent writing time.
(20 minutes)
  • Provide the argument essay, “Cutting Soda and Other Sugary Drinks From Your Diet” to use as a mentor text. It can be very helpful to have another example handy as they write.
  • Instruct students to complete the Time to Write Your Introductory Paragraph sheet, filling in their reasons and claim from the prewriting they did previously.
  • Using the mentor text and their completed Introductory Paragraph grid, have them put the pieces together and craft the first paragraph of their essay.


  • Work with struggling writers at a side table and work through the planning sheet together. You may also consider having those students write to the same topic and collaborate on the draft.


  • Encourage students to add an additional paragraph to their essay: the counter-argument or concession paragraph.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate the room to review students’ planning sheets. See that they have crafted a hook and introductory paragraph that is effective and has all of the requisite parts.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students share their introductory paragraphs with a partner or small group.
  • Ask for one or two volunteers to share their paragraph with the class. Project it if you can so you can point out the different parts visually.

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