Leading to Great Places in the Elementary Classroom

A story’s lead begins the reader’s adventure; yet it can just as likely end that odyssey if those opening words do not immediately entrance the reader. This lesson examines examples of leads in children's literature, focusing on strategies such as setting, action, character, reflection, event, and dialogue in a shared reading experience. Students rank several leads from novels as they are read aloud and discuss their rankings. They then generate different leads for a read aloud book in the classroom, using different strategies for each. Finally, they write or revise a lead in one of their pieces of writing.  This lesson plan leads students to assess leads of novels and then write strong leads of their own.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0301.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes to different audiences.
GLE 0401.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to a variety of audiences.
GLE 0501.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to different audiences.
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: 

Students will:

  • discuss their reactions to the leads from the various texts. 
  • compare different leads from children's literature. 
  • develop a lead for a shared, read aloud text. 
  • present their new lead orally and share why they selected the type of lead they did. 
  • revise the lead in a piece of their own writing.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Within the classroom, post great leads along with the book jacket. Challenge students to find great leads. When they find leads they believe to be worthy of being posted they can share them with the class before posting them. This will reinforce the skill and continue to generate interest in books. As a further extension, students might use the Book Cover Creator to design new covers for the books that tie in with the new leads they have composed. 
  • Use the Printing Press to publish the leads that you find in texts as well as the leads from students' own work. The flyer templates will work for individual leads. Students might use the booklet template to create a collection of leads.

Helpful Hints


  • Notecards
  • One copy of each selected text from student handout
  • Overhead of lead from a shared text
  • Writer's notebook