Teaching Students to Write a Narrative ~ The Hook

 Activities for Teaching Students How to Write a Story HookWhile there are many great ways for students to begin a narrative, many students need to be taught patterns they can follow. With upper elementary students, I like to cover five methods for writing a hook.
At the bottom of this post, you will find a link to all materials needed to complete this lesson.

Writing a Narrative Hook 

   Activity #1

As a reference, have students create cards that describe the five methods for writing story hooks. Printables for this activity are included in the pdf file.

Story Hooks

 Activity #2
Strategies for Writing a Story Beginning


Here are five story hooks for the same story. They illustrate five different methods for beginning the story. Read each one and discuss. Here are some questions you might ask:

  • Which story beginning did you like best? the least? Why?
  • If you were to draw a picture of the first scene of the story, which beginning would you select to draw? Why?
  • Which beginning makes you want to read the rest of the story the most?
  • If you were asked to write a story beginning using one of these types of hooks, which would you select? Why?


“Hurry or you’ll be late!” called my mother from the bottom of the stairs. “Today of all days you want to be on time.” If I had only know what that day would bring, I would have stayed in bed.

A Question 

Have you ever had a day when you wished you had stayed in bed? As I rushed to catch the bus on what seemed to be a perfectly normal day, I had no idea what was ahead of me.

A Vivid Description

The sun was warm on my back as I raced toward the waiting yellow school bus. As I nestled into the worn leather seat, I was greeted by the friendly voices of other excited kids. The look on my face was one of confidence and contentment. With a jerk the bus rumbled down the road, and I was on my way to one of the worst days of my life.

An Interesting Fact 

Shock has been known to kill ten year olds. It can cause their brains to explode and their heart to stop dead still. These facts raced through my mind as I stood dumbfounded in front of my fifth grade classmates. I wish I had stayed in bed!

A Sound Effect

“Buzzzzzz!” The sound of my alarm clock droned in my ears as I struggled to come awake. With a start, I sat straight up in my bed. This was my big day, and I had to be on time.

Activity #3

20 Cards Featuring Great First Lines from Children's Literature

In the free download, you will find cards containing 20 first lines from well-known children’s literature.

Print the cards on card stock and laminated for repeated use.

Try these activities using the cards:

  • Students sort the cards by the type of hook the author used.
  • Each student selects one story beginning and rewrites it using a different method.
  • Each student selects his/her favorite beginning. With a partner, in a small group, or individually by writing paragraphs, have students explain why this story beginning was their favorite.

Activity #4

Take a piece of literature you have used in class. Have students rewrite the beginning using the different methods. Sound effects are always the easiest for students, so I usually begin with this.

This pdf file contains the following:

  • The Five Story Beginnings from Activity 1
  • Cards with Famous First Lines from Children’s Literature
  • A Graphic Organizer

You can get the file here.


Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: https://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=2665


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  1. Dear Gay:

    Excellent resources and methodology. I will definitely use aspects of this lesson plan with my students.

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    • Chere Tone on August 26, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    We are focusing on writing Hooks right now at the beginning of school. These will work perfectly.

    • Reyna on September 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you so much! This is perfect!

    • Chet on March 22, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Perfect! Ta

    • Chloe on January 15, 2018 at 5:17 am

    I am so thrilled to find this webpage! WHAT a wonderful resource this is! Fisrt I am grateful to share the teaching ideas. It will really help me teach my kids. I like to teach English using the storybooks and newspapers. Thank you very much!Already I become a fan of you!:)

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