Lesson Plan: How to Write an Introduction for an Essay

By Trent Lorcher

If you mess up the first paragraph, chances are you're going to mess up the essay. So, let's take a look at a simple yet effective lesson plan on writing the perfect introduction.

Essay Introduction Basics

The essay introduction must accomplish two things:

  1. It must capture the readers' attention.
  2. It must clearly introduce the topic.

Teaching students how to write an introduction for an essay must incorporate these two aspects.

Capture the Reader's Attention

Writing an Introduction There are several methods to capturing the reader's attention depending on the audience:

  • Quotation: One that sums up the essay would be nice.
  • Definition: Use sparingly. Too many amateur writers use this method.
  • Question: Ask a question in the introduction...and answer it in the body.
  • Problem: Pose a problem in the introduction...and solve it in the body.
  • Statistics: Make sure they're actual statistics and not something you made up on the way to the library.
  • Comparison: Take something the reader is unfamiliar with and relate it to something they are familiar with.
  • Metaphor/Simile: An even more effective comparison for making the complex seem simple.
  • Shocker: Everybody likes surprises. Unfortunately, it's getting harder to shock people.
  • Summary: A brief summary piques reader interest.
  • Anecdote: A short humorous story relevant to the topic eases the reader into the material.
  • Expert opinion: An expert gives you instant credibility with the reader. Make sure the expert is an actual expert and not your Uncle Fred from Topeka

Essay Introduction Lesson Plan Procedures

  1. Write a topic on the board.
  2. Instruct students to write a hook for the topic using each of the above methods.
  3. Read and discuss.

The Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the most important part of the essay introduction.

  • It introduces the topic in a structured manner.
  • It appears as the last sentence of the introduction.
  • It contains a subject and an opinion.
  • In a persuasive essay it must take a stand.

Essay Introduction Lesson Plan Procedures

Copy the following sentences on the board and instruct students to identify them as thesis statements or non thesis statements.

  • Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare. (no)
  • Shakespeare uses irony effectively in Romeo and Juliet. (yes)
  • The death penalty should be abolished. (yes)
  • The death penalty is legal in 49 states (no)
  • English is my favorite subject (yes)
  • Science is boring (yes)