Writing the Introductory Paragraph

Contributor: Melissa LaRusso. Lesson ID: 11041

First impressions count; you form an impression when you meet someone. This is true with your writing! Readers decide if they want to read more based on your opening paragraph. Read on to learn more!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Watch this How to write introductory paragraphs video to see how popular movies grab the viewer's attention:

The movie clips in the video grabbed the viewer's attention and left him or her wanting to see what happened next.

There are many ways to gain the reader's attention in your writing.

In this lesson, you will develop an engaging introductory paragraph by following a few quick steps.

Throughout this Writing Essays series, you will develop a five-paragraph essay. Be sure to save each draft to be used in the following Related Lessons found in the right-hand sidebar.

You might find that the introduction paragraph is one of the hardest paragraphs to write. Maybe it's because you know it's your one chance to grab the reader's attention, set the tone, and state your thesis and main points to support your thesis all in one paragraph. No pressure, right?

Well, let's move one step at a time. You might be thinking, "How do I get the reader's attention?"

Let's explore five fun ways to do just that:

  1. Present a snapshot This is an overview of the topic. Don't give too much information, just enough to leave the reader wanting to know what is next.
  2. Describe the scene This is creating a visual image with words for the reader to envision the setting.
  3. Shocking fact Often including a surprising or unknown fact will catch the reader's attention.
  4. Imagine Asking readers to imagine a scenario will help them feel connected to the text.
  5. Use a quote A simple quote can be enough to catch the reader's attention.

What else should be included in the introductory paragraph?

An introduction should include some background knowledge.

Most importantly, the paragraph should include a thesis statement.

Watch this How to write a thesis for beginners video for help with writing a thesis statement. As you watch the video, write down what is included in the thesis statement:


Now you are ready to start writing your own introductory paragraph!

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