How to write an introduction for a persuasive essay
Instructors in all content areas are now assigning persuasive essays. From physical education and physics to social studies and art, instructors are looking for ways to incorporate writing assignments. Since many standardized tests require students to write persuasive essays, instructors have been developing curriculum that gets students comfortable with these assignments. Unfortunately, since students are writing more essays in classes other than language arts, they are practicing the skill, but not learning more about it. This limits students’ abilities because while they do not learn to practice the skills, but they learn to write about content.
Common Problems for Students
“How do I begin this essay?” is one of the most commonly heard questions. Language arts instructors know how to answer the question, but content-specific instructors do not usually have the tools to help. They might give students a sentence or a phrase to start with, but they do not share the skills needed to write a successful introduction.
Write the Hook
The first part of every introduction needs to be the hook. This is the only opportunity to introduce the reader to your topic and your personality as a writer. There are several techniques that build strong hooks. Many students will begin with quotes about the subject. Others choose to start with startling statements or a series of open-ended questions. Some students like to begin with short anecdotes. The hook can be a single sentence or several sentences in length.
Craft the Thesis
The last part of the introduction is the thesis statement. This is the statement that shows the reader what you are going to prove. This section should only be one sentence in length and the thesis should very clearly state the point of your essay. You should never say things like, “In my essay, I will show you.”
Bridge the Gap
It might seem strange to write about middle part of the introduction after the last part, but you cannot write the middle until you know how you are going to end the introduction. The middle of the introduction is where you do two things: connect the hook to the thesis and provide some background information. You might explain the anecdote and why it relates to the subject. You might answer some of the questions to lead into the thesis. You might explain the quote and how it connects to the thesis.