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Introductory paragraphs

Students will go through the steps to making an effective introductory paragraph.

Danielle Sherfey

on 28 August 2013

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Transcript of Introductory paragraphs

Introductory paragraphs
Step by Step

There are many different ways to use hooks to grab the readers attention.
Hooks/Leads: The hook or lead is the first sentence in the introductory paragraph. It should grab the reader's attention and make the reader want to keep reading.
Step One: Developing a hook sentence
Examples of using a question for a hook:
Bad example:
What is equality?
This is a bad example because the reader could answer this question with very little to no thought. It doesn't connect the reader to the topic
Good Example
: Are today's young women and men more skeptical of authority than their parents were and more inclined to rebel against conformity?
This is a good example because it gets the reader thinking deeper. There is no right or wrong to the question.
A Question
When writing a question, try to create a picture in the reader’s mind. Use the words who, what, when, where, why, is, how, or are at the beginning of the sentence.

This question should be a "think" question and not one that can be answered with a single word.
Examples of using a surprising fact as a hook:

Good example:
There are some 2 billion TV sets used in the US today.
This example is a surprising fact that not too many people know. It would also be a great way to lead into a topic about television today.
A Surprising Fact
This type of hook is used to draw the reader and to introduce a topic.

The fact should have something to do with what you will be discussing in the essay.
Examples of using an ancedote as a hook:
Good Example: Mike Cantlon remembers coming across his first auction ten years ago while cruising the back roads of Wisconsin. He parked his car and wandered into the crowd, toward the auctioneer's singsong chant and wafting smell of barbecued sandwiches. Hours later, Cantlon emerged lugging a $22 beam drill-for constructing post-and-beam barns—and a passion for auctions that has clung like a cocklebur on an old saddle blanket. "It's an addiction," says Cantlon, a financial planner and one of the growing number of auction fanatics for whom Saturdays will never be the same.
[This is an anecdote, a little story about one man and his first auction, that is the lead to an article about auctions. In this article the author explains what auctions are, how to spot bargains in auctions, what to protect yourself from at auctions, and other facts about auctions and the people who go to them.]
An anecdote is a little story. Begin a paper by relating a small story that leads into the topic of your paper.
Your story should be a small episode, not a full blown story with characters and plot and setting.
If you do it right, your story will capture the reader's interest so that he or she will continue to read your paper.
One caution: be sure that your story does not take over the paper. Remember, it is an introduction, not the paper.
An example of using a n original definition for a hook:

Good Example: The Webster dictionary defines bravery as having courage when facing an obstacle. I feel the Logan family shows the characteristic over and over again in the book Roll of Thunder,Hear My Cry.

[This would be a great hook sentence(s) to start of an essay that uses the theme of bravery throughout to prove or characterize the Logan family. ]
Original Definition
This technique tends to work the best if you are discussing a theme throughout your essay.
When using this technique, make sure to pick a word that fits in with the story/essay and you can refer back to.
Example of using a quote for a hook:"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school", stated Albert Einstein.

[ This essay would go on to discuss the issue of whether or not to have school all year long.]
Famous Quotation
You can use this technique when you are writing about that specific person who said the quote.
You can also use this technique to introduce an idea/topic that the essay will be covering.
The quote should have relevance to the topic of the essay.
Example of onomatopoeia as a hook: BANG! SCREECH! CRASH! These were the only sounds I could make out as my brother fell to the ground from his bike.

[ After this sentence you would reflect on the beginning of that day and start over in your story.]
This technique may be used most in narrative writing, however can be used in all types of writing as well.
It helps to catch the readers attention with words that represent an action in the story.
Example of dialogue as a hook:

"Don't worry," my mom said, "you'll get used to sixth grade after the first week." At the beginning of the day I thought she was right, sixth grade wasn't so bad, but then I met my language arts teacher.
This technique is used to get the readers attention.
Sometimes the dialogue starts in the middle of the story, however it could be dialogue from any part of your story.
Example of a Focus statement: Many schools are finding ways to provide healthy school lunch selections for students.
Step 3: Focus Statement
A focus statement is the topic or subject of your essay written as a complete sentence.
The focus statement should not be confused with a thesis statement.
The focus statement should be a board, general view of the topic, should be a commonly held belief or fact and it should not express opinion.
Using the given topics, come up with a focus statement about each one.

1. Enrolling children into team sports is good.

2. Smoking is bad for your health.

3. Elementary schools should reinstate music programs.
Topic: body piercing/tattoos for teens
Thesis Statement: Teens should not be allowed to get tattoos or body piercings before the age of 18.
Step 3: Stating your Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is one of the most important sentences in an essay.
To qualify as a thesis statement it must state what you believe and be a complete sentence.
If you do not give your opinion on the topic, then it is just a general statement NOT a thesis statement.
Look at the sentences below and identify them either as a focus statement or a thesis statement.

1. Some schools require students to wear uniforms.

2. Grades and homework should be eliminated from schools to allow students to focus on achieving goals.

3. Schools should make it mandatory for students to wear uniforms in efforts to build community.

4. Many families have pets to help give their children responsibility.
Revising time!
Now it is your turn to go back through your intro paragraph and make the corrections you think necessary to make it the best!

Use your notes to help you revise and edit some of the sentences.
Step 2: Bridge Statement
A Brige statement is a smooth transition between your hook and the rest of your introductory paragraph. This statement is where you tie in the purpose of the hook you chose and how it relates to the rest of the paragraph.
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt depicts what type of people participate in gossip.
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