Leads for Descriptive Writing

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Language Arts, Reading, Writing, Writing Process, Traits of Writing

Grade 5- 8


The students will write a lead that develops the reader's interest and introduces the descriptive writing topic.



  1. Write a definition of a lead on the chalkboard or overhead: A lead is the way the author starts the text. Leads must grab the reader and entice him/her to read on.
  2. Read aloud the Example of a Description of Action (included with lesson plans). Discuss with the students the following questions: Does this lead grab your attention? Why or why not? What words or phrases help develop your interest? What is the topic of this descriptive piece of writing?
  3. Display the activity page entitled, Kinds of Leads for Descriptive Writing.
  4. Have the students brainstorm a topic. Instruct them to write two different leads for this topic and use the reproducible to guide their drafting.
  5. Divide the students into pairs and have them read each of their leads aloud to their partners. Have partners choose the lead that is the most engaging.
Portfolio Piece
Have students write leads to be included in their portfolios. Ask students to also write a reflection explaining how the kind of lead they chose will grab their reader's interest and make him/her want to read further.
Create an interactive bulletin board with student samples of each kind of lead posted on the board. Make a folder of sentence strips identifying each kind of lead. Students can match the kind of lead with the student example.
Technology Connection
Have students use a word-processing program to write their leads. Encourage students to use spell check and grammar check.
Home-School Connection
Have students read a descriptive piece of writing in a magazine, highlight the lead, and discuss the method used to write the lead with a family member.
Use the rubric for descriptive writing (included with activity pages) to score the students' leads.


  • copy of Example of a Description of Action for teacher
  • copies of other activity pages for students

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