K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

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  • Identifying RAFT elements in writing prompts and assignments: Student will read writing prompts and practice identifying RAFT elements: role of writer, audience, writing format, and topic. This is the first lesson in a series of three based upon LEARN NC's 9th grade writing exemplars.
  • Using RAFT to determine how to write an informational essay: Students will use RAFT as a tool to determine how to write an informational essay. They will also design a graphic organizer for the assignment as well as compose a rough draft. This is the second lesson in a series of three based on the LEARN NC 9th grade writing exemplars.

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Learning outcomes

Students will demonstrate techniques for writing an introduction for personal and imaginative narratives.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 Minutes


  • Books with good introductions
  • Examples of student writing (level 4) with good introductions
  • Several writing prompts
  • Overhead with transparencies of writing samples and prompts
  • Techniques That Will Hook your Readers worksheet


Discuss the purpose of an introduction. Have a student introduce himself to the class. What kinds of things would an introduction include?


  1. Read an exciting opening paragraph from a novel or short story. What about this paragraph makes you want to continue to read?
  2. Introduce the term “hook” and its purpose of hooking the reader’s interest so that they want to read more.
  3. Review the term “key words” in a prompt.
  4. Give several techniques by using the Techniques That Will Hook your Readers worksheet:
    • dialogue
    • a question
    • a vivid description
    • an interesting fact
    • sound effect
  5. Use the overhead to show examples of children’s level 4 writing. Have the students try to locate the hook and identify the technique that was used.
  6. Display a narrative prompt. Have the students identify key words in the prompt.
  7. Students should choose a technique for hooking their readers and write only the introduction for a narrative based on the given prompt. Have them underline the hook and circle any key words used in the introduction using the Techniques worksheet.
  8. In small groups have the students read their introductions aloud. Have the group members try to identify the hook and the technique that was used (there may be more than one technique used in the paragraph).
  9. Use more than one prompt and have students vary the techniques used for writing their hook.
  10. Introductions are kept in the the writing folder as works in progress to be completed as further steps in the writing process are taught.


In future narrative writing, students will be able to write an interesting introduction using key words one technique for writing a hook.

Supplemental information

Build a file of level 4 student writing for use as illustrations as the writing process is taught.


Most students are able to become very successful at writing an introduction. This taste of success with the writing process is a helpful step in building a positive attitude toward writing.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Writing

        • Grade 2
          • 2.W.3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
        • Grade 3
          • 3.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. 3.W.3.1 Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds...
        • Grade 4
          • 4.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. 4.W.3.1 Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize...
          • 4.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.06: Plan and make judgments about what to include in written products (e.g., narratives of personal experiences, creative stories, skits based on familiar stories and/or experiences).

Grade 3

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.04: Use planning strategies (with assistance) to generate topics and to organize ideas (e.g., drawing, mapping, discussing, listing).

Grade 4

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.05: Use planning strategies to generate topics and organize ideas (e.g., brainstorming, mapping, webbing, reading, discussion).