Improve Student Writing with Bold Beginnings, Mighty Middles and Excellent Endings

Are your students having trouble adding interest to their writing? Does their writing all sound the same? Is it missing a hook? Missing an organized middle? Do they write, "THE END" to let the reader know they're finished? Keep reading to find out how to help your students take their writing from drab to FAB! 

I have used this strategy for years with my young writers and every time I have the same results! Improved writing. You may have heard of the concept of “Bold beginnings, mighty middles and excellent endings”. These are terms that are often used when teaching students how to improve these areas. In this post we will just be discussing how to help students improve their beginnings by adding interest to their writing. The great thing about this strategy is that it works for most grade levels! I’ve personally used it in first grade through to fifth grade.
Young writers often just want to get their ideas down on the paper (or document) and as soon as they do that, "I'm finished Mrs. S!" and it most often ends up being a series of, "Then this happened, then this, then that, next this, THE END". 

They need to specifically be taught how to add interest to their writing, how to write a hook, how to add details and how to end off the story in a memorable way. 

This is your solution!


Students love using the interactive writing notebook format to record their ideas. It really forces them to think about how to hook the reader. 

As a class we explore various mentor texts to evaluate the beginnings in each. We talk about how the author draws you in and keeps you wanting more! As a class we create an anchor chart with various types of beginnings so students have some exemplars to try out. It is by no means an exhaustive list and this should be pointed out to students so they know that they can have freedom with how they add interest to their beginning.

Once we have the list, we create our own samples of each type of bold beginning to use as a model.
Students then work on creating their own sample bold beginnings using the interactive notebook to help them organize their samples.

Before students complete their own interactive notebook activity, it helps to model how to use it for the class if they have never used an activity like this before. For younger students, this interactive notebook activity works well when blown up to 11 x 17 to provide a larger space for writing. You can also use a blown up version to model on chart paper OR you can use your document camera (that’s what I do). Then model how to write  their own examples underneath the flaps.

When you feel that students are ready to go and try on their own you can either assign them a topic, or you can let them pick their own topic. We usually do this activity twice and the first time I assign a topic. When they’re finished we share all the beginnings and it’s great to see how everyone came up with such unique ideas. The next day we do it again but with students picking their own topic.
After we do these samples I send students on a scavenger hunt through our classroom library. Their goal is to find as many different types of beginnings as they can. This helps reinforce the concept that good writers try to hook their readers.

Teachers from 1st grade through 6th have used my Bold Beginnings, Mighty Middles and Excellent Endings interactive resource and had excellent results! The format really lays it all out for students in an easy to understand and easy to implement way. They get practice trying the strategies and then go off and use the strategy in their own writing.

Here is some feedback from teachers that have used this resource:

"The packet really opened the eyes of my students on how to construct a strong beginning sentence, middle and end." -Debra R.

"Excellent package to start the unit! The lessons were clear and engaging. My students loved the activities! I love that there were lessons provided for modeling and then student practice as well." -Theresa V 

"A fantastic resource for teaching writing! The activities are engaging, meaningful and practice the skills of writing before putting pen to paper in independent work. Thank you!" - Marianne H.

"Thank you for an extraordinary resource! I used this resource to help enhance my 3rd graders' writing. I would recommend to anyone looking to improve their students' writings. -Cinderella S.

Prefer Digital Teaching Resources?:

And for my digital and paperless friends out there....I've got a Google Drive Resource!

You will notice almost immediate improvement in their writing. They'll be so proud of how their writing changes once they implement these strategies. 

If you've used this resource, or my Google Drive version, comment below to let me know how your students benefitted! I would love to hear from you.

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