Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seven Ways to Begin an Expository Writing Piece

Ever notice the different ways that writers begin their writing pieces? I just used a question, which—along with onomatopoeia and an exclamation—is one of three hooks that young writers should have under their writing belts as they enter second grade.

By the time young writers are in third to fifth grade, they should have been introduced to many more hooks. Four good ones for expository writing are a startling fact, an anecdote, a definition, and a quotation.

Introduce these one at a time with a literature or teacher model, and ask students to try it out for a social studies or science writing assignment. As always, choose positive student examples to share during response time. What you've done works double duty: they have practiced a writing skill that is easily integrated into content-area studies and which can be applied to other genres as well. Here's a list of hooks with examples from The Complete K-5 Writing Workshop. I'd love to hear how this works for your classroom.

Yours in creative writing education,
Susan Koehler

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