Every writer is different. Some are compelled to write an essay from start to finish. Others are fine with writing the body paragraphs first and then going back to write an introduction and a conclusion. Either method is fine, of course.
But if your child struggles with starting an essay, even after doing quite a bit of quality prewriting, encourage her to skip the intro paragraph until after she has composed the body. After all, how can you introduce what doesn’t yet exist? In a sense, it is quite logical to first write the body and later write an introduction for it.
Whenever the introduction writing comes, here are some tips to make it a bit easier.
Bare Necessities of an Introduction Paragraph
An introduction paragraph at a bare minimum has to be three sentences. The first two sentences are there to grab the reader’s attention. And the last sentence is the thesis statement that tells what the entire essay will be covering.
Writing a thesis statement is not difficult, but those two sentences before it can be a challenge. Remind your children that all they need are two additional sentences. That’s not a lot!
Some people call those first two sentences a “hook.” The idea is that you start your essay with something catchy to grab the readers’ attention and keep them moving on through the essay.
These are classic, foolproof attention grabber techniques:
- ask a question
- tell a story
- share a startling fact
1. Asking a Question
2. Tell a Story
3. Share a Startling Fact
Printable Introduction Paragraph Planner
Here is a free printable page you can use with your students. It outlines the three foolproof attention grabbers mentioned in this post and reminds writers that they need only three sentences. Click the image to download it.
Be aware that some students will misunderstand the graphic organizer and write the thesis statement separate from the attention grabber. Remind them that the printable page represents a single paragraph — indented once, and all together.
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