Five Ways to Start a Story: A Lesson

The start of a story must grab the reader’s attention. Five ways to start a story are with a question, a setting description, a character description, a sound, or dialogue. This lesson teaches children different ways to start a story.

Lesson Objective
Students will learn different ways to begin a narrative. They will be able to start a story in an engaging manner.

Give every student a book. Ask them to turn to the first page. Tell students to read the first few sentences of the story. Next, invite volunteers to read the first few sentences. Through a show of hands, ask students if this is a book they would like to continue reading. Now explain that the start of a story is very important. If the first part of a story is boring, readers may not want to continue reading.
Next, ask a few more students to share the opening of their story. How does the author begin the story? Are people talking? Is there a description? Write responses on the board or a chart.

Five Ways to Start a Story
Give students examples of each type of story starter.
Question: Have you every wondered what it would be like to be a child superhero?
Setting Description: Lush trees encircled the park. It was twelve noon and kids were going down the slide, playing tag and blowing bubbles. The sky was the bluest I had ever seen it. It was then that I noticed a dirty, mangy dog running through the park.
Character Description: Max wasn’t your ordinary kid. He was super smart. He could add up 1,000,478,365 + 6,345,275, 001 without even using a calculator. With jet-black hair and sharp blue eyes, Max was in the sixth grade. In sixth grade was the Math Competition for the entire county. This year, Max’s team was going to win.
Sound: Boom, Boom, Boom! The sound of the neighbor’s drums echoed through the neighborhood.
Dialogue: “Don’t tell anyone Sarah!” Abby whispered.

Planning the Story
Before students write the beginning of their story, they need to have a plan about what their story will be about. Thus, students should complete a story map. On the story map, they need to write their setting, characters, conflict, main events, climax and resolution. Next, they need to decide how they will begin their story. For this part of the lesson, a graphic organizer is helpful for students to have.

Writing the Story
Finally, students will write their story starters. Then, they can switch with a partner. The partner should try to figure out which on of the five starters was used to catch the reader’s attention.
In summary, use this lesson plan on how to start a story to begin a unit on writing short stories. Then, move on to teach how to make a conflict, how to develop a plot and how to write a good ending.

Personal Experience