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Capturing Readers' Attention

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Capturing Readers' Attention

Photo of a gorilla
Ramon grosso dolarea/

Readers have become skimmers. You have to grab their attention to get them to read on. Try strategies like these:

Make a shocking statement.

The world contains 7,400,000,000 humans, but only 880 mountain gorillas.

Create a scenario.

Imagine leaving civilization to study gorillas in the dense rainforests of Rwanda. 

Provide a thought-provoking quotation.

"Despite their huge size and strength, gorillas are the pacifists of the great apes," says primatologist Carl Lindorf.

Ask an interesting question.

Why are mountain gorillas critically endangered?

Give a personal connection.

I've always loved visiting my friend Mugo the gorilla in the zoo, but my appreciation of him deepened when I discovered that he had been orphaned in the wild when poachers killed his mother.

Create a strong description.

The thick black fur across Mugo's massive shoulders is now mottled with gray, his mouth arches in a thoughtful frown, and his golden-brown eyes gaze out with infinite patience on the spectators.

Your Turn Try each of these opening strategies for a topic of your own choice. Review the attention-grabbing openers and consider using one to begin an essay about the topic.

Teacher Support:

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Answer Key:

Answers will vary.

Standards Correlations:

The State Standards provide a way to evaluate your students' performance.

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