Portland Public Schools
Portland, Oregon

da Vinci Logo imageda Vinci Arts Middle School

Creative minds for
challenging times.

2508 NE Everett Street | Portland, OR 97232
Phone: (503) 916-5356 | Fax: (503) 916-2721

Hooks & Leads in Persuasive Writing


In persuasive writing, a writer takes a position FOR or AGAINST an issue and writes to convince the reader (or audience with a speech) to believe or do something.

The introduction should have a HOOK that certain something that grabs or catches the reader’s attention. Here are a few examples:

  1. Open with an unusual detail or statistic, startling or striking fact from an authoritative source – Thirteen teachers, two students and one police officer killed in a Munich, Germany high school; thirteen students killed and dozens wounded in Littleton, Colorado at Columbine High School…
  2. Open with a strong statement – Cigarettes are the number one cause of lighter sales in Canada!
  3. Open with a quotation – Elbert Hubbard once said, “Truth is stronger than fiction.”
  4. Open with an anecdote (Anecdotes are stories, from your own experience or someone else's, told to make a point.) – When I studied education before becoming a teacher in the early 90s, my professors were dead set against lecturing, worksheets and memorizing facts for the test, but those were still the methods they employed, and the ones I saw in use during my practicum. We as teachers know that education must be engaging and relevant to be effective, and that the learner must be actively involved in the construction of knowledge for anything to stick. I know of no study that shows standardized testing to increase student learning. What I know is that there is no multiple-choice question that can measure the kind of learning that really changes people.
  5. Open with an engaging question – Have you ever considered how many books we’d read if it weren’t for television?
  6. Open with an exaggeration or outrageous statement - Hey! Do you hear a kind of groaning sound? Could it be ...? Yes, it's millions of kids marching off to take some standardized tests!