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Friday, April 18, 2008

How Do You Write an Attention Getter?

Your teacher just informed you that you must write an essay by Friday, and he has provided you with a topic and basic guidelines for the assignment. You are to write a five paragraph essay using a variety of sentences, appropriate vocabulary and standard American English grammar. Excitedly you sit with paper and pen and begin to brainstorm various ideas. After the brainstorm, you organize your main idea and supporting points in an outline. Now you are ready to begin writing your first rough draft but wait. Where do you start?

I observe two types of students in my class when they write timed essays. One type of student quickly begins writing usually within 2 or 3 minutes. The other type of student spends 8-10 minutes just staring at the paper, the wall or his watch. Do you know what he is doing? He is doing one of two things. One, he finds himself "thinking in the air." Well, that's what I call it and because he fails to write anything down on paper while the clock ticks, many of his great ideas "float away" unfortunately. Or two, he spends these precious minutes fighting against an opponent who refuses to let him win. Who is this opponent you ask? The fight takes place in his head, and you guessed it...no one really wins during the match. The constant going back and forth, debating, questioning, second guessing and criticizing defeats the writer even before the writer has an opportunity to begin. So how do you battle against this opponent? Quite easily. Develop a plan of attack for your writing projects before you begin. To avoid that internal battle, you must have a technique or a style prepared that comforts and empowers you. Knowing how you will organize, initiate, develop and transition reflects on your preparation as much as on your capabilities. You need more than just an idea. You need a plan.

The introductory paragraph provides your reader with the first impression; the introduction sets the stage for the rest of your writing. Therefore, a successful introduction requires an effective attention getter which impresses your reader, leads him in and captures his imagination. As a writer you do not wish to lose the reader's interest at any point much less early on in the essay. Therefore, I suggest your "writing plan" first include an impressive attention getter.

There are various practical and effective ways to capture the reader's interest. Here are a few:
  1. Questions Ask a series of questions that lead to your thesis statement. This method allows the reader to passively participate in your essay. Because of the inclusive nature of this method, the reader quickly finds himself hooked which is exactly your purpose.

  2. Contrast Write sentences related to a topic opposite to your main idea. It may seem misleading at first but adds an interesting twist to your introduction and catches the reader by surprise. As long as you lead into the main idea gradually with the appropriate transition, this method proves quite effective.

  3. Broad Statement Entice the reader with a variety of general statements related to the main idea. The statements must be general but relevant to the overall topic of the assignment.
See SAMPLE INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPHS

In the next few weeks, I will post a few examples of attention getters.

34 comments:

  1. Titling your last post "Let It Snow" certainly got my attention!!!

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  2. Nice advice. Your students are lucky to have you!

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  3. Good advice. I look forward to the examples of the attention getters.

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  4. Why didn't I have any teachers like you in school? : ) You are good with them and for them. I did have a couple of teachers that really cared and reached out and loved what they did. In their classes I got A+

    A good teacher makes all the difference and one, like you, who loves what they do can inspire students to learn. Your enthusiasm comes across and is felt by the students. Thank you for giving this. It is truly a gift.

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  5. Your students are blessed to have you. Great information. I'm looking forward to your next post. Thanks for sharing. Lyn

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  6. Thanks for visiting my blog through blogcatalog. I am going to send this link to my son.

    Oh loved the snow pics too. Can't wait for the examples.

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  7. I'm very lucky to have you as my teacher because you remind me How Do You Write an Attention Getter? You really care about your students. So I
    have to use a quote that adds some credibility to what I'm writing.Also,
    a little humor to get my audience to smile. Tell a short story or an example, something that my audience can relate to.

    From:Evodie

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  8. Hahahahahahahaha You so nailed this post well fearless! (thinking in the air) ha ha. seriously, you give excellent pointers here I know I myself am taking to heart and writing out. Thank you!

    I echo robins sentiments, wow I wish I would have had a teacher like you in school too, actually you and robin would have suited me just fine!!!

    metta
    sky

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  9. I think this is great ...really nice writing!But I think you need to inculde way more attention getters for those that needs more help! Thanks!

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  10. Thanks for all the feedback.

    New Posts added with sample attention getters

    http://thefearlessblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/sample-introductory-paragraphs.html

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  11. ok i will follow each recomendation in this page and also i show my page of cook, the only problem is the page is in spanish

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  12. thank u help me alot with my homework u are a good teacher

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  13. I got a paper due tomorrow, thanks!

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  14. this is relly good

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  15. i would be very lucky to have you as a teacher! What school do you teach??

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  16. didnt help me at all

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  17. Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

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  18. hey thanks for the advise it is great! i wish you were my teacher

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  19. I didnt really suggest the attention getters i was looking for. i meant like rhetorical question, antecedants, etc... thats what i meant, but thanks for trying anyway :)

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  20. I think you should put exact examples like I have and Odyssey essay coming up and I needed an attention getter.

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  21. my name is Ryan M. i like english! :)

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  22. As an eighth grade student i can tell you that these methods really help because i do stare into space so now i can just think of my intro paragraph before i start dozing off.

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  23. Thank you so much for this post. I'm currently trying to write an essay due today, and couldn't figure out how to do the introduction, and this helped so much!

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  24. this did nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  25. >< Where art thou wonderous examples :(? I'm stuck on the attention getter. My paper is about animal shelters, mostly those that house dogs, the care of them, and adoption process/standards.

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  26. what would be a good attention getter for an evaluation paper for the FBI

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  27. OK!! unless you would like to FAIL a college level paper or any paper that doesn't sound like you're 5 years old do NOT do 1 or 2! to be honest those are some of the stupidest ideas i have ever heard. 3 could work but be careful about what you say.

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  28. BORING dint helpme at all

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  29. Thank you for your advice. It helped me :)

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  30. this was very helpful in a way.

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  31. This helped me alot and i just found this sight and hope to use it in the future thanks (:

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