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Rework the Prompt to Serve as an Introduction
February 22, 2022
An extended reading response merits a longer introductory paragraph. More than simply repeating key words from the question, it must identify the purpose, topic, and task – all packaged appropriately for the genre. This can be an overwhelming task for some.
Show students how to craft an introduction using the sentences from the original prompt. Target your explicit instruction in four areas:
1. Repurpose the background information.
Point to the first sentence(s). Explain that although this part of the prompt is background information for the student, it can be repurposed as the beginning of their own introductions. By repeating the text titles, a student provides context for the rest of his essay.
2. Generate the thesis statement.
Model how to tweak the task as it is stated in the prompt. Revise it to reveal an opinion (persuasive or argumentative prompt) or the main idea (informative prompt).
This statement is then followed with the specific ideas or reasons that reveal the organizational structure for the remaining body paragraphs.
3. Adjust grammar, as needed.
Throughout the process, show students how to tweak individual words to generate grammatically accurate sentences. This usually includes reviewing pronouns, verb tenses, and the use of singular versus plural. Clarify that the original prompt was written to them, the students. However, now the student is reworking it for a new audience—the Test Lady™.
4. Omit “Be sure to include” information.
In addition to revealing how to reuse much of the original prompt, also identify what needs to be cut. Strikethrough all directional language about citing evidence, referencing the texts, and utilizing correct grammar. None of this should be included in their introduction rewrite.
It’s fair to acknowledge that these four steps will not craft a WOW! introduction. However, this is a strong alternative for students who need help getting started.