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Lesson Plan

Leading to Great Places in the Elementary Classroom

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Leading to Great Places in the Elementary Classroom

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sharon Roth

Sharon Roth

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • discuss their reactions to the leads from the various texts.

  • compare different leads from children's literature.

  • develop a lead for a shared, read aloud text.

  • present their new lead orally and share why they selected the type of lead they did.

  • revise the lead in a piece of their own writing.

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Session One

  1. Give each student a notecard, and ask them to number the notecards according to the number of leads you have selected to read aloud.

  2. Introduce the concepts of leads by sharing examples from Great Leads handout or texts that you have selected. The order of the leads shared should match the order in which they are printed on the student handout.

  3. After reading each lead, ask students to place a simple rating after each number according to how they liked the lead which was read aloud. Suggested rating might include +/- or one, two, or three stars.

  4. After you have read aloud all of the sample leads, distribute the Great Leads handout.

  5. Using pairs, small groups, or a whole class arrangement, invite students to discuss why they rated each lead as they did. If pairs or small groups are used, take some time to invite students to share with the whole class some of their impressions of the leads shared reminding them that readers experience the texts differently.

  6. Explain that during the next session, the class will look at leads from a text that the whole class knows so they should keep the handout in a place where it can be easily accessed again.

  7. Students may be interested in reading the books the samples were taken from, so allow time and/or access to those novels. Ideally, this lesson can be completed shortly before students are asked to select texts for independent reading or for an author study.

  8. Collect the notecards for assessment purposes.

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Session Two

  1. Invite students to join you with the handout of sample leads, their writing notebook, and a pen/pencil.

  2. Display the lead from the read-aloud book on an overhead, while reading it orally.

  3. In pairs, invite students to create two new leads for the text, using a strategy demonstrated from the Great Leads handout. For example, if the text uses a lead built around the setting, encourage the pairs to create a lead that uses another strategy, such as dialogue.

  4. Give students time in class to complete the task. Let them know they will be sharing the new leads they have crafted. Ideally, the teacher crafts a lead during this time as well.

  5. If the class requires more active monitoring, you can draft a lead as part of the preparation for this lesson.

  6. After sufficient time to draft, ask student volunteers to share their favorite new lead and explain why they chose the type of leads they did. You may need to share your sample to get the discussion going.

  7. If desired, display the book covers and newly written leads on the bulletin board with a before and after feature.

  8. Based upon the experience, ask students to revise the lead on one of their own pieces of writing. Depending upon the classroom, it could be a teacher or student selected piece.

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  • Within the classroom, post great leads along with the book jacket. Challenge students to find great leads. When they find leads they believe to be worthy of being posted they can share them with the class before posting them. This will reinforce the skill and continue to generate interest in books. As a further extension, students might use the Book Cover Creator to design new covers for the books that tie in with the new leads they have composed.

  • Use the Printing Press to publish the leads that you find in texts as well as the leads from students' own work. The flyer templates will work for individual leads. Students might use the booklet template to create a collection of leads.

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  • As students work, observe who participates in the activity. Review the notecards at the end of the first session for evidence of student engagement.

  • Collect samples of student work representing the lead before this lesson and after.


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