Fishing for Readers: Identifying and Writing Effective Opening "Hooks"

This lesson introduces how to write a good "hook" or beginning for a story. The students examine a variety of fiction texts to begin understanding what a "hook" is and then learn to write their own. Writing a catchy introduction or "hook" often eludes even the most proficient writers. In this lesson, students work in pairs to read introductory passages from several fiction texts and rate them for effectiveness. Then, the teacher guides the class in categorizing their favorite "hooks" according to the author's strategy (e.g., question, exaggeration, exclamation, description). Strategies and examples serve as resources for studentsu2019 own writing, and students can then explore how the same story can be introduced in different ways. For the final part of this lesson, students write a variety of hooks for one story topic, using the interactive Flip Book to publish their work.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0401.6.2
Recognize the different text features of informational texts (e.g., separate text boxes, diagrams, captions, charts, graphs).
GLE 0501.3.3
Know and apply the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Student Objectives:

Students will

  • Identify effective hooks in literature and analyze what makes them effective
  • Categorize introductions from literature according to the specific strategies used by the author
  • Write several effective hooks of their own using the strategies they have identified

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 


Once students have completed their Flip Books, they may want to go back to their writing folder selection, add one of the new hooks they created in Session 3, and continue to edit/revise the story. When they are done, students could take turns sharing with the class the “before” and “after” versions of their story.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Techology:

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Overhead projector (optional)
  • Chart paper
  • Colored markers or highlighters
  • Student writing folders with previously written pieces
  • Great Hooks Bibliography
  • Fairy Tale Titles