Once They're Hooked, Reel Them In: Writing Good Endings

The focus of this lesson is how to write a good ending to a story. Students explore literary techniques used to end stories and practice the techniques. Student writers may start out with a catchy beginning, only to get bogged down and just stop at the end. By exploring endings from childrenu2019s literature, students learn that a good ending leaves the reader with something to think about and that it often refers back to the beginning through repetition of words or ideas. This lesson encourages students to recognize literary techniques and use them in their own writing to create a conclusion that will keep readers hooked until the end of the story. This lesson is a logical follow-up to the lesson "Fishing for Readers: Identifying and Writing Effective Opening "'Hooks,'" in which students are taught how to write effective openers.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0401.8.3
Know and understand the basic characteristics of the genres studied.
GLE 0501.3.2
Write in various modes and genres, including narration, literary response, personal expression, description, and imaginative.
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 good endings in literature and analyze what makes them effective
  • Match ending lines selected from literature to the corresponding first lines by observing how the author has purposefully tied them together
  • Plan a logical and effective beginning, middle, and end for their writing

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 


  • Have students rewrite one of the stories from the BAB Books: On-Line Stories & Resources for Kids site, revising the beginning and ending lines.
  • On the BAB Books site, have students open the Adlib – Create Your Own Silly Story! section. After creating a story, students can try adding a more effective beginning and ending.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon (Blue Sky Press, 1998)
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, 1991)
  • Computers with Internet access, including one with projection capability
  • Overhead projector and transparencies