Sentence Openers Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students how to grab their readers from the beginning with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson that explains this technique and participate in guided practice before applying to their independent writing.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define and explain the purpose of sentence openers
  • describe types of strong sentence openers
  • write strong sentence openers


1 hour


  • Copies of the lesson Strong Sentence Openers: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Text that has strong and weak sentence openers
  • Index cards
  • Articles from magazines on your students' reading level
  • Highlighters
  • Chart paper and markers

Key Vocabulary

  • Sentence opener
  • Complex

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3.a

Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

Warm Up and Preparation

  • Tell students that you'll be reading a few sentence openers from different stories of text.
  • Read each sentence, asking after each:
    • Does this sentence make you want to keep hearing the story? Is it interesting?
  • Make a yes/no chart and, after students give feedback for each starter sentence, write reasons. For example, when reading the opener 'Once upon a time' students may say no because it's boring.
  • Review the chart, noticing what makes sentence openers effective.

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