Openings and endings

The hook

There are many ways for writers to hook their reader. They might create:

  • an interesting dialogue;
  • an unusual situation;
  • interest in a specific object or location;
  • surprise with something unexpected;
  • a lyrical description of a place or a person;
  • a striking statement that challenges the reader;
  • a cliff-hanger situation; or
  • a retrospective view of the action that is about to unfold.

Hooking the Reader


Find an effective opening paragraph. Give your pupils a copy and ask them to rewrite the paragraph by paring it down to the bare facts.

Then encourage them to introduce the details they have removed. Ask them to identify how that detail contributes to making the opening effective.

Ask your pupils to select a particularly effective sentence. Use it to model another sentence, describing a different setting or character.

Further resources

Story openings bingo

Use this bingo resource to further explore story openings:

Story openings bingo 133 KB - uploaded 08-11-2014

Treasure hunt

Ask pupils to find examples of all of these techniques used effectively in the opening paragraphs of novels or stories in your classroom:

[Treasure hunt Download]

Exploring openings

Encourage pupils to practise writing different openings:

[Exploring Openings Download]

The additional openings teacher resource includes all openings used in the Bingo resource. You might find these useful for customising your lesson.

[Additional openings Download]

AFL opportunity