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Lesson Plan: How to Write an Introduction for an Essay

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 1/17/2012

If you mess up the first paragraph, chances are you're going to mess up the essay. So, let's take a look at a simple yet effective lesson plan on writing the perfect introduction.

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    Essay Introduction Basics

    The essay introduction must accomplish two things:

    1. It must capture the readers' attention.
    2. It must clearly introduce the topic.

    Teaching students how to write an introduction for an essay must incorporate these two aspects.

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    Capture the Reader's Attention

    Writing an Introduction There are several methods to capturing the reader's attention depending on the audience:

    • Quotation: One that sums up the essay would be nice.
    • Definition: Use sparingly. Too many amateur writers use this method.
    • Question: Ask a question in the introduction...and answer it in the body.
    • Problem: Pose a problem in the introduction...and solve it in the body.
    • Statistics: Make sure they're actual statistics and not something you made up on the way to the library.
    • Comparison: Take something the reader is unfamiliar with and relate it to something they are familiar with.
    • Metaphor/Simile: An even more effective comparison for making the complex seem simple.
    • Shocker: Everybody likes surprises. Unfortunately, it's getting harder to shock people.
    • Summary: A brief summary piques reader interest.
    • Anecdote: A short humorous story relevant to the topic eases the reader into the material.
    • Expert opinion: An expert gives you instant credibility with the reader. Make sure the expert is an actual expert and not your Uncle Fred from Topeka

    Essay Introduction Lesson Plan Procedures

    1. Write a topic on the board.
    2. Instruct students to write a hook for the topic using each of the above methods.
    3. Read and discuss.

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    The Thesis Statement

    The thesis statement is the most important part of the essay introduction.

    • It introduces the topic in a structured manner.
    • It appears as the last sentence of the introduction.
    • It contains a subject and an opinion.
    • In a persuasive essay it must take a stand.

    Essay Introduction Lesson Plan Procedures

    Copy the following sentences on the board and instruct students to identify them as thesis statements or non thesis statements.

    • Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare. (no)
    • Shakespeare uses irony effectively in Romeo and Juliet. (yes)
    • The death penalty should be abolished. (yes)
    • The death penalty is legal in 49 states (no)
    • English is my favorite subject (yes)
    • Science is boring (yes)

Using Evidence to Improve Writing

After teaching students how to do research, teach them how to use the information they've collected.
  1. Lesson Plan: Using Evidence and Supporting Details in Writing
  2. Rules of Evidence: How to Use Supporting Details Lesson Plan
  3. Lesson Plan: How to Write an Introduction for an Essay