Saturday, March 16, 2013

ARGH Matey! "Hooking" Our Readers!

During our narrative writing unit, I began noticing that the kiddos were struggling with hooks for their stories. Too many of them were beginning with these painful leads we as teachers shrink from know so well:
Once upon a time ... 
One day ...
Hi, my name is ...
I am going to tell you a story about ... (this one actually makes me cringe inside!) 
So, we did a mini-unit on hooks - with the theme being Captain Hook from the classic Peter Pan.
 First, we identified different kinds of appropriate and engaging narrative hooks.
Anchor chart inspired by Sarah at Write On, Fourth Grade 
Then, we identified interesting vs. not so interesting hooks that I had written to start a story about camping. The kiddos worked in pairs to choose whether they thought the hook deserved a 1,2,3
Next, we practiced 3 different hooks together as a class - created their own example and wrote one of mine so they could have multiple examples. 
 Another great find from Write On, Fourth Grade - freebie 
She also has a great HW sheet for practice that is only $1.50  
Then, I had them go back to their own writings and create 3 hooks to introduce their story. For each hook they created and got checked by me they earned a pirate coin. Once they earned three coins, they were able to participate in our pirate treasure hunt!
 On the last day of our Hook mini-unit, I created a "hook" treasure hunt around the school. 
Each pair was given a list of the hooks we had learned. Then they traveled together through the hallways reading and identifying what clues hook was and where the hook was leading them too.
If you are interested, please feel free to edit these clues to make them fit your school and class. 
Eventually, the clues led them back to the classroom carpet area where the "prize" was a bag of swedish fish, tying in nicely with our "hook" theme :)
 The kids really enjoyed this activity and have seemed to pick up the idea of "hooking" their reader a lot better! Teacher SCORE!
Do you do anything unique to help kids practice "Hooking" their readers? 
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