Reading is Good Habit for Students and Children

 500+ words essay on reading is good habit.

Reading is a very good habit that one needs to develop in life. Good books can inform you, enlighten you and lead you in the right direction. There is no better companion than a good book. Reading is important because it is good for your overall well-being. Once you start reading, you experience a whole new world. When you start loving the habit of reading you eventually get addicted to it. Reading develops language skills and vocabulary. Reading books is also a way to relax and reduce stress. It is important to read a good book at least for a few minutes each day to stretch the brain muscles for healthy functioning.

reading is good habit

Benefits of Reading

Books really are your best friends as you can rely on them when you are bored, upset, depressed, lonely or annoyed. They will accompany you anytime you want them and enhance your mood. They share with you information and knowledge any time you need. Good books always guide you to the correct path in life. Following are the benefits of reading –

Self Improvement: Reading helps you develop positive thinking. Reading is important because it develops your mind and gives you excessive knowledge and lessons of life. It helps you understand the world around you better. It keeps your mind active and enhances your creative ability.

Communication Skills: Reading improves your vocabulary and develops your communication skills. It helps you learn how to use your language creatively. Not only does it improve your communication but it also makes you a better writer. Good communication is important in every aspect of life.

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Increases Knowledge: Books enable you to have a glimpse into cultures, traditions, arts, history, geography, health, psychology and several other subjects and aspects of life. You get an amazing amount of knowledge and information from books.

Reduces Stress: Reading a good book takes you in a new world and helps you relieve your day to day stress. It has several positive effects on your mind, body, and soul. It stimulates your brain muscles and keeps your brain healthy and strong.

Great Pleasure: When I read a book, I read it for pleasure. I just indulge myself in reading and experience a whole new world. Once I start reading a book I get so captivated I never want to leave it until I finish. It always gives a lot of pleasure to read a good book and cherish it for a lifetime.

Boosts your Imagination and Creativity: Reading takes you to the world of imagination and enhances your creativity. Reading helps you explore life from different perspectives. While you read books you are building new and creative thoughts, images and opinions in your mind. It makes you think creatively, fantasize and use your imagination.

Develops your Analytical Skills: By active reading, you explore several aspects of life. It involves questioning what you read. It helps you develop your thoughts and express your opinions. New ideas and thoughts pop up in your mind by active reading. It stimulates and develops your brain and gives you a new perspective.

Reduces Boredom: Journeys for long hours or a long vacation from work can be pretty boring in spite of all the social sites. Books come in handy and release you from boredom.

Read Different Stages of Reading here.

The habit of reading is one of the best qualities that a person can possess. Books are known to be your best friend for a reason. So it is very important to develop a good reading habit. We must all read on a daily basis for at least 30 minutes to enjoy the sweet fruits of reading. It is a great pleasure to sit in a quiet place and enjoy reading. Reading a good book is the most enjoyable experience one can have.

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Importance of Reading Essay

500+ words essay on reading.

Reading is a key to learning. It’s a skill that everyone should develop in their life. The ability to read enables us to discover new facts and opens the door to a new world of ideas, stories and opportunities. We can gather ample information and use it in the right direction to perform various tasks in our life. The habit of reading also increases our knowledge and makes us more intellectual and sensible. With the help of this essay on the Importance of Reading, we will help you know the benefits of reading and its various advantages in our life. Students must go through this essay in detail, as it will help them to create their own essay based on this topic.

Importance of Reading

Reading is one of the best hobbies that one can have. It’s fun to read different types of books. By reading the books, we get to know the people of different areas around the world, different cultures, traditions and much more. There is so much to explore by reading different books. They are the abundance of knowledge and are best friends of human beings. We get to know about every field and area by reading books related to it. There are various types of books available in the market, such as science and technology books, fictitious books, cultural books, historical events and wars related books etc. Also, there are many magazines and novels which people can read anytime and anywhere while travelling to utilise their time effectively.

Benefits of Reading for Students

Reading plays an important role in academics and has an impactful influence on learning. Researchers have highlighted the value of developing reading skills and the benefits of reading to children at an early age. Children who cannot read well at the end of primary school are less likely to succeed in secondary school and, in adulthood, are likely to earn less than their peers. Therefore, the focus is given to encouraging students to develop reading habits.

Reading is an indispensable skill. It is fundamentally interrelated to the process of education and to students achieving educational success. Reading helps students to learn how to use language to make sense of words. It improves their vocabulary, information-processing skills and comprehension. Discussions generated by reading in the classroom can be used to encourage students to construct meanings and connect ideas and experiences across texts. They can use their knowledge to clear their doubts and understand the topic in a better way. The development of good reading habits and skills improves students’ ability to write.

In today’s world of the modern age and digital era, people can easily access resources online for reading. The online books and availability of ebooks in the form of pdf have made reading much easier. So, everyone should build this habit of reading and devote at least 30 minutes daily. If someone is a beginner, then they can start reading the books based on the area of their interest. By doing so, they will gradually build up a habit of reading and start enjoying it.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Importance of Reading Essay

What is the importance of reading.

1. Improves general knowledge 2. Expands attention span/vocabulary 3. Helps in focusing better 4. Enhances language proficiency

What is the power of reading?

1. Develop inference 2. Improves comprehension skills 3. Cohesive learning 4. Broadens knowledge of various topics

How can reading change a student’s life?

1. Empathy towards others 2. Acquisition of qualities like kindness, courtesy

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How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)   

essay introduction

The introduction of an essay plays a critical role in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. It sets the stage for the rest of the essay, establishes the tone and style, and motivates the reader to continue reading. 

Table of Contents

What is an essay introduction , what to include in an essay introduction, how to create an essay structure , step-by-step process for writing an essay introduction , how to write an introduction paragraph , how to write a hook for your essay , how to include background information , how to write a thesis statement .

  • Argumentative Essay Introduction Example: 
  • Expository Essay Introduction Example 

Literary Analysis Essay Introduction Example

Check and revise – checklist for essay introduction , key takeaways , frequently asked questions .

An introduction is the opening section of an essay, paper, or other written work. It introduces the topic and provides background information, context, and an overview of what the reader can expect from the rest of the work. 1 The key is to be concise and to the point, providing enough information to engage the reader without delving into excessive detail. 

The essay introduction is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire piece and provides the reader with a roadmap of what to expect. Here are key elements to include in your essay introduction: 

  • Hook : Start with an attention-grabbing statement or question to engage the reader. This could be a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a compelling anecdote. 
  • Background information : Provide context and background information to help the reader understand the topic. This can include historical information, definitions of key terms, or an overview of the current state of affairs related to your topic. 
  • Thesis statement : Clearly state your main argument or position on the topic. Your thesis should be concise and specific, providing a clear direction for your essay. 

Before we get into how to write an essay introduction, we need to know how it is structured. The structure of an essay is crucial for organizing your thoughts and presenting them clearly and logically. It is divided as follows: 2  

  • Introduction:  The introduction should grab the reader’s attention with a hook, provide context, and include a thesis statement that presents the main argument or purpose of the essay.  
  • Body:  The body should consist of focused paragraphs that support your thesis statement using evidence and analysis. Each paragraph should concentrate on a single central idea or argument and provide evidence, examples, or analysis to back it up.  
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion should summarize the main points and restate the thesis differently. End with a final statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Avoid new information or arguments. 

reading essay introduction

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an essay introduction: 

  • Start with a Hook : Begin your introduction paragraph with an attention-grabbing statement, question, quote, or anecdote related to your topic. The hook should pique the reader’s interest and encourage them to continue reading. 
  • Provide Background Information : This helps the reader understand the relevance and importance of the topic. 
  • State Your Thesis Statement : The last sentence is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be clear, concise, and directly address the topic of your essay. 
  • Preview the Main Points : This gives the reader an idea of what to expect and how you will support your thesis. 
  • Keep it Concise and Clear : Avoid going into too much detail or including information not directly relevant to your topic. 
  • Revise : Revise your introduction after you’ve written the rest of your essay to ensure it aligns with your final argument. 

Here’s an example of an essay introduction paragraph about the importance of education: 

Education is often viewed as a fundamental human right and a key social and economic development driver. As Nelson Mandela once famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It is the key to unlocking a wide range of opportunities and benefits for individuals, societies, and nations. In today’s constantly evolving world, education has become even more critical. It has expanded beyond traditional classroom learning to include digital and remote learning, making education more accessible and convenient. This essay will delve into the importance of education in empowering individuals to achieve their dreams, improving societies by promoting social justice and equality, and driving economic growth by developing a skilled workforce and promoting innovation. 

This introduction paragraph example includes a hook (the quote by Nelson Mandela), provides some background information on education, and states the thesis statement (the importance of education). 

This is one of the key steps in how to write an essay introduction. Crafting a compelling hook is vital because it sets the tone for your entire essay and determines whether your readers will stay interested. A good hook draws the reader in and sets the stage for the rest of your essay.  

  • Avoid Dry Fact : Instead of simply stating a bland fact, try to make it engaging and relevant to your topic. For example, if you’re writing about the benefits of exercise, you could start with a startling statistic like, “Did you know that regular exercise can increase your lifespan by up to seven years?” 
  • Avoid Using a Dictionary Definition : While definitions can be informative, they’re not always the most captivating way to start an essay. Instead, try to use a quote, anecdote, or provocative question to pique the reader’s interest. For instance, if you’re writing about freedom, you could begin with a quote from a famous freedom fighter or philosopher. 
  • Do Not Just State a Fact That the Reader Already Knows : This ties back to the first point—your hook should surprise or intrigue the reader. For Here’s an introduction paragraph example, if you’re writing about climate change, you could start with a thought-provoking statement like, “Despite overwhelming evidence, many people still refuse to believe in the reality of climate change.” 

Including background information in the introduction section of your essay is important to provide context and establish the relevance of your topic. When writing the background information, you can follow these steps: 

  • Start with a General Statement:  Begin with a general statement about the topic and gradually narrow it down to your specific focus. For example, when discussing the impact of social media, you can begin by making a broad statement about social media and its widespread use in today’s society, as follows: “Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of users worldwide.” 
  • Define Key Terms : Define any key terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to your readers but are essential for understanding your argument. 
  • Provide Relevant Statistics:  Use statistics or facts to highlight the significance of the issue you’re discussing. For instance, “According to a report by Statista, the number of social media users is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025.” 
  • Discuss the Evolution:  Mention previous research or studies that have been conducted on the topic, especially those that are relevant to your argument. Mention key milestones or developments that have shaped its current impact. You can also outline some of the major effects of social media. For example, you can briefly describe how social media has evolved, including positives such as increased connectivity and issues like cyberbullying and privacy concerns. 
  • Transition to Your Thesis:  Use the background information to lead into your thesis statement, which should clearly state the main argument or purpose of your essay. For example, “Given its pervasive influence, it is crucial to examine the impact of social media on mental health.” 

reading essay introduction

A thesis statement is a concise summary of the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, or other type of academic writing. It appears near the end of the introduction. Here’s how to write a thesis statement: 

  • Identify the topic:  Start by identifying the topic of your essay. For example, if your essay is about the importance of exercise for overall health, your topic is “exercise.” 
  • State your position:  Next, state your position or claim about the topic. This is the main argument or point you want to make. For example, if you believe that regular exercise is crucial for maintaining good health, your position could be: “Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good health.” 
  • Support your position:  Provide a brief overview of the reasons or evidence that support your position. These will be the main points of your essay. For example, if you’re writing an essay about the importance of exercise, you could mention the physical health benefits, mental health benefits, and the role of exercise in disease prevention. 
  • Make it specific:  Ensure your thesis statement clearly states what you will discuss in your essay. For example, instead of saying, “Exercise is good for you,” you could say, “Regular exercise, including cardiovascular and strength training, can improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.” 

Examples of essay introduction 

Here are examples of essay introductions for different types of essays: 

Argumentative Essay Introduction Example:  

Topic: Should the voting age be lowered to 16? 

“The question of whether the voting age should be lowered to 16 has sparked nationwide debate. While some argue that 16-year-olds lack the requisite maturity and knowledge to make informed decisions, others argue that doing so would imbue young people with agency and give them a voice in shaping their future.” 

Expository Essay Introduction Example  

Topic: The benefits of regular exercise 

“In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of regular exercise cannot be overstated. From improving physical health to boosting mental well-being, the benefits of exercise are numerous and far-reaching. This essay will examine the various advantages of regular exercise and provide tips on incorporating it into your daily routine.” 

Text: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee 

“Harper Lee’s novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ is a timeless classic that explores themes of racism, injustice, and morality in the American South. Through the eyes of young Scout Finch, the reader is taken on a journey that challenges societal norms and forces characters to confront their prejudices. This essay will analyze the novel’s use of symbolism, character development, and narrative structure to uncover its deeper meaning and relevance to contemporary society.” 

  • Engaging and Relevant First Sentence : The opening sentence captures the reader’s attention and relates directly to the topic. 
  • Background Information : Enough background information is introduced to provide context for the thesis statement. 
  • Definition of Important Terms : Key terms or concepts that might be unfamiliar to the audience or are central to the argument are defined. 
  • Clear Thesis Statement : The thesis statement presents the main point or argument of the essay. 
  • Relevance to Main Body : Everything in the introduction directly relates to and sets up the discussion in the main body of the essay. 

reading essay introduction

Writing a strong introduction is crucial for setting the tone and context of your essay. Here are the key takeaways for how to write essay introduction: 3  

  • Hook the Reader : Start with an engaging hook to grab the reader’s attention. This could be a compelling question, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or an anecdote. 
  • Provide Background : Give a brief overview of the topic, setting the context and stage for the discussion. 
  • Thesis Statement : State your thesis, which is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be concise, clear, and specific. 
  • Preview the Structure : Outline the main points or arguments to help the reader understand the organization of your essay. 
  • Keep it Concise : Avoid including unnecessary details or information not directly related to your thesis. 
  • Revise and Edit : Revise your introduction to ensure clarity, coherence, and relevance. Check for grammar and spelling errors. 
  • Seek Feedback : Get feedback from peers or instructors to improve your introduction further. 

The purpose of an essay introduction is to give an overview of the topic, context, and main ideas of the essay. It is meant to engage the reader, establish the tone for the rest of the essay, and introduce the thesis statement or central argument.  

An essay introduction typically ranges from 5-10% of the total word count. For example, in a 1,000-word essay, the introduction would be roughly 50-100 words. However, the length can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and the overall length of the essay.

An essay introduction is critical in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. To ensure its effectiveness, consider incorporating these key elements: a compelling hook, background information, a clear thesis statement, an outline of the essay’s scope, a smooth transition to the body, and optional signposting sentences.  

The process of writing an essay introduction is not necessarily straightforward, but there are several strategies that can be employed to achieve this end. When experiencing difficulty initiating the process, consider the following techniques: begin with an anecdote, a quotation, an image, a question, or a startling fact to pique the reader’s interest. It may also be helpful to consider the five W’s of journalism: who, what, when, where, why, and how.   For instance, an anecdotal opening could be structured as follows: “As I ascended the stage, momentarily blinded by the intense lights, I could sense the weight of a hundred eyes upon me, anticipating my next move. The topic of discussion was climate change, a subject I was passionate about, and it was my first public speaking event. Little did I know , that pivotal moment would not only alter my perspective but also chart my life’s course.” 

Crafting a compelling thesis statement for your introduction paragraph is crucial to grab your reader’s attention. To achieve this, avoid using overused phrases such as “In this paper, I will write about” or “I will focus on” as they lack originality. Instead, strive to engage your reader by substantiating your stance or proposition with a “so what” clause. While writing your thesis statement, aim to be precise, succinct, and clear in conveying your main argument.  

To create an effective essay introduction, ensure it is clear, engaging, relevant, and contains a concise thesis statement. It should transition smoothly into the essay and be long enough to cover necessary points but not become overwhelming. Seek feedback from peers or instructors to assess its effectiveness. 


  • Cui, L. (2022). Unit 6 Essay Introduction.  Building Academic Writing Skills . 
  • West, H., Malcolm, G., Keywood, S., & Hill, J. (2019). Writing a successful essay.  Journal of Geography in Higher Education ,  43 (4), 609-617. 
  • Beavers, M. E., Thoune, D. L., & McBeth, M. (2023). Bibliographic Essay: Reading, Researching, Teaching, and Writing with Hooks: A Queer Literacy Sponsorship. College English, 85(3), 230-242. 

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


What this handout is about.

This handout will explain the functions of introductions, offer strategies for creating effective introductions, and provide some examples of less effective introductions to avoid.

The role of introductions

Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. And it’s fine to write them first! But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.

Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. (See our handout on conclusions .)

Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it. If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor.

Why bother writing a good introduction?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper.

Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper. Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.

Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper. Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation (remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines).

Strategies for writing an effective introduction

Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer. Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:

Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America. Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery? How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery? And what role did education play in the acquisition of freedom? Most importantly, consider the degree to which education was or was not a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass. Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it. (See our handout on understanding assignments for additional information on the hidden clues in assignments.)

Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. Imagine that you’re researching Chapel Hill. If what you want to find out is whether Chapel Hill is at roughly the same latitude as Rome, it might make sense to hit that little “minus” sign on the online map until it has zoomed all the way out and you can see the whole globe. If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Chapel Hill to Wrightsville Beach, it might make more sense to zoom in to the level where you can see most of North Carolina (but not the rest of the world, or even the rest of the United States). And if you are looking for the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive so that you can find the Writing Center’s main office, you may need to zoom all the way in. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. In the sample assignment above, the questions are probably at the “state” or “city” level of generality. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!

Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know precisely what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up all of your evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper.

Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.

Open with something that will draw readers in. Consider these options (remembering that they may not be suitable for all kinds of papers):

  • an intriguing example —for example, Douglass writes about a mistress who initially teaches him but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery.
  • a provocative quotation that is closely related to your argument —for example, Douglass writes that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other.” (Quotes from famous people, inspirational quotes, etc. may not work well for an academic paper; in this example, the quote is from the author himself.)
  • a puzzling scenario —for example, Frederick Douglass says of slaves that “[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!” Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.
  • a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote —for example, “Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn’t discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, ‘But when did they go to school?’ That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.”
  • a thought-provoking question —for example, given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?

Pay special attention to your first sentence. Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and polished way.

How to evaluate your introduction draft

Ask a friend to read your introduction and then tell you what they expect the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will be. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction.

Five kinds of less effective introductions

1. The placeholder introduction. When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder.

Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.

2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. The professor or teaching assistant wrote your question and will be reading many essays in response to it—they do not need to read a whole paragraph that simply restates the question.

Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

3. The Webster’s Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. Anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what Webster says. If you want to open with a discussion of an important term, it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment. You may also be able to use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused. Instructors may see a great many papers that begin in this way, greatly decreasing the dramatic impact that any one of those papers will have.

Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”

4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time, throughout the world, etc. It is usually very general (similar to the placeholder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. It may employ cliches—the phrases “the dawn of man” and “throughout human history” are examples, and it’s hard to imagine a time when starting with one of these would work. Instructors often find them extremely annoying.

Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.

5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book. You might resort to this sort of introduction when you are trying to fill space because it’s a familiar, comfortable format. It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader probably already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.

Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave , in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.

And now for the conclusion…

Writing an effective introduction can be tough. Try playing around with several different options and choose the one that ends up sounding best to you!

Just as your introduction helps readers make the transition to your topic, your conclusion needs to help them return to their daily lives–but with a lasting sense of how what they have just read is useful or meaningful. Check out our handout on  conclusions for tips on ending your paper as effectively as you began it!

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself . New York: Dover.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Write an Excellent Essay Introduction

How to Write an Excellent Essay Introduction

3-minute read

  • 27th September 2022

Love it or hate it, essay writing is a big part of student life. Writing a great essay might seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re staring at a blank document, but there are formulas you can follow to make sure your paper hits the mark.

When you plan your essays , don’t neglect your introduction! It might seem like a trivial part of the paper, but it can make it or break it. A badly written introduction can leave your reader feeling confused about the topic and what to expect from your essay.

To help your writing reach its full potential, we’ve put together a guide to writing an excellent essay introduction.

How to Write an Essay Introduction

An essay introduction has four main steps:

●  Hook your reader

●  Provide context

●  Present your thesis statement

●  Map your essay

Hook Your Reader

The first part of your introduction should be the hook. This is where you introduce the reader to the topic of the essay. A great hook should be clear, concise, and catchy. It doesn’t need to be long; a hook can be just one sentence.

Provide Context

In this section, introduce your reader to key definitions, ideas, and background information to help them understand your argument.

Present Your Thesis Statement

A thesis statement tells the reader the main point or argument of the essay. This can be just one sentence, or it can be a few sentences.

Map Your Essay

Before you wrap up your essay introduction, map it! This means signposting sections of your essay. The key here is to be concise. The purpose of this part of the introduction is to give your reader a sense of direction.

Here’s an example of an essay introduction:

Hook: Suspense is key for dramatic stories, and Shakespeare is well-known and celebrated for writing suspenseful plays.

Context: While there are many ways in which Shakespeare created suspension for his viewers, two techniques he used effectively were foreshadowing and dramatic irony. Foreshadowing is a literary device that hints at an event or situation that is yet to happen. Dramatic irony is a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions is clear to the audience or reader, although it is unknown to the character.

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Thesis statement: Foreshadowing and dramatic irony are two powerful techniques that Shakespeare used to create suspense in literature. These methods have been used to keep the reader intrigued, excited, or nervous about what is to come in many of his celebrated works.

Essay mapping: In this essay, I will be detailing how Shakespeare uses foreshadowing and dramatic irony to create suspense, with examples from Romeo and Juliet and Othello.

Pro tip: Essays take twists and turns. We recommend changing your introduction as necessary while you write the main text to make sure it fully aligns with your final draft.

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2a. Critical Reading

An introduction to reading in college.

While the best way to develop your skills as a writer is to actually practice by writing, practicing critical reading skills is crucial to becoming a better college writer. Careful and skilled readers develop a stronger understanding of topics, learn to better anticipate the needs of the audience, and pick up sophisticated writing “maneuvers” and strategies from professional writing. A good reading practice requires reading text and context, which you’ll learn more about in the next section. Writing a successful academic essay also begins with critical reading as you explore ideas and consider how to make use of sources to provide support for your writing.

Questions to ask as you read

If you consider yourself a particularly strong reader or want to improve your reading comprehension skills, writing out notes about a text—even if it’s in shorthand—helps you to commit the answers to memory more easily. Even if you don’t write out all these notes, answering these basic questions about any text or reading you encounter in college will help you get the most out of the time you put into your reading. It will also give you more confidence to understand and question the text while you read.

  • Is there  context  provided about the author and/or essay? If so, what stands out as important?

Context in this instance means things like dates of publication, where the piece was originally published, and any biographical information about the author. All of that information will be important for developing a critical reading of the piece, so track what’s available as you read.

  • If you had to guess, who is the author’s intended  audience ? Describe them in as much detail as possible.

Sometimes the author will state who the audience is, but sometimes you have to figure it out by context clues, such as those you tracked above. For instance, the audience for a writer on  Buzzfeed  is very different from the audience for a writer for the  Wall Street Journal —and both writers know that, which means they’re more effective at reaching their readers. Learning how to identify your audience is a crucial writing skill for all genres of writing.

  • In your own words, what is the  question  the author is trying to answer in this piece? What seems to have caused them to write in the first place?

In nonfiction writing of the kind we read in Writing 121, writers set out to answer a question. Their thesis/main argument is usually the answer to the question, so sometimes you can “reverse engineer” the question from that. Often, the question is asked in the title of the piece.

  • In your own words, what’s the author’s  main   idea or argument ? If you had to distill it down to one or two sentences, what does the author want you, the reader, to agree with?

If you’ve ever had to write a paper for a class, you’re probably familiar with a thesis or main argument. Published writers also have a thesis (or else they don’t get published!), but sometimes it can be tricky to find in a more sophisticated piece of writing. Trying to put the main argument into your own words can help.

  • How many  examples  and types of  evidence  did the author provide to support the main argument? Which examples/evidence stood out to you as persuasive?

It’s never enough to just make a claim and expect people to believe it—we have to support that claim with evidence. The types of evidence and examples that will be persuasive to readers depends on the audience, though, which is why it’s important to have some idea of your readers and their expectations.

  • Did the author raise any  points of skepticism  (also known as counterarguments)? Can you identify exactly what page or paragraph where the author does this?

As we’ll see later when the writing process, respectfully engaging with points of skepticism and counterarguments builds trust with the reader because it shows that the writer has thought about the issue from multiple perspectives before arriving at the main argument. Raising a counterargument is not enough, though. Pay careful attention to how the writer responds to that counterargument—is it an effective and persuasive response?  If not, perhaps the counterargument has more merit for you than the author’s main argument.

  • In your own words, how does the essay  conclude ? What does the author “want” from us, the readers?

A conclusion usually offers a brief summary of the main argument and some kind of “what’s next?” appeal from the writer to the audience. The “what’s next?” appeal can take many forms, but it’s usually a question for readers to ponder, actions the author thinks people should take, or areas related to the main topic that need more investigation or research. When you read the conclusion, ask yourself, “What does the author want from me now that I’ve read their essay?”

Reading Like Writers: Critical Reading

Reading as a creative act.

“The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him life; it went out from him truth. It came to him short-lived actions; it went out from him immortal thoughts. It came to him business; it went from him poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, and it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”

  • Consider the  discourse community  when you read and write in your college classes
  • Analyze any reading for  text and context
  • Read like a writer so you can write for your readers

illustration of a worm and an apple on top of a stack of two books.

By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to apply the concept of  discourse community  to honing your college-level critical reading skills.

Good writers are good readers, so let’s start there. When you can confidently identify the  audience, context, and purpose of a text —position it within its discourse community—you’ll be a stronger, savvier reader.

Strong, savvy readers are more effective writers because they consider their own audience, context, and purpose when they write and communicate, which makes their writing clearer and to the point.

So the goal of this lesson is to help you read like a writer!

The Savvy Reader

Good writers are good readers! And good readers. . .

man reading a book

  • get to know the author
  • get to know the author’s community + audience
  • accurately summarize the author’s argument
  • look up terms you don’t know
  • “listen” respectfully to the author’s point of view
  • have a sense of the larger conversation
  • think about other issues related to the conversation
  • put it in current context
  • analyze and assess the author’s reasoning, evidence, and assumptions

Why read critically?  While the best way to develop your skills as a writer is to actually practice by writing, practicing critical reading skills is crucial to becoming a better writer. Careful and skilled readers develop a stronger understanding of topics, learn to better anticipate the needs of the audience, and pick up writing “maneuvers” and strategies from professional writing.

Reading Like Writers

How do you read like a writer?  When you read like a writer, you are practicing deeper reading comprehension. In order to understand a text, you are reading not just what’s  in  it but what’s  around  it, too: text and context.

Practice: Reading Like Writers

In-class discussion : Advertisements are helpful for practicing reading like writers because advertisers make deliberate choices with text and images based on audience (target consumer), context (where they are reaching them), and purpose (buy this product).

  • But I’m not trying to sell a product! How can I use my newfound understanding of audience, context, and purpose to improve my writing?

It’s true! You aren’t selling a product. You aren’t (I hope) trying to manipulate your audience. You aren’t relying on discriminatory assumptions or stereotypes to appeal to your audience. But when you write, let’s say, an essay, you are asking readers to “buy into” your point of view. The goal doesn’t have to be for them to agree with you; it can be for your readers to respectfully consider, understand, or sympathize with your point of view or analysis of an issue.  The point is you’re thinking of your reader when you write, and that will make your writing process smoother and your writing clearer.

Writing for Your Readers

When you write for your readers, you. . .

  • Learn from your reading and communication experience:  What makes texts work? How are ideas conveyed clearly?
  • Analyze the writing situation:  What are the goals and purpose for a writing project? Who is your audience?
  • Explore and play as you draft:  What are different ways to respond? Can you use a better word or phrase?
  • Consider your audience:  What might a reader expect to see? What does your reader need to understand your point of view? What questions might a reader have?

poster on a wall that reads "ask more questions"

Writing as a process of inquiry

Just as you want your readers to take you seriously, you want to approach texts with an open and curious mind. Whatever the topic, it was important enough for this person to want to write on it. While we don’t have to agree with the point someone is making, we can respect their opinion and appreciate reading a different perspective.

Approach reading and writing in college in a learning zone.  Be open, be curious, ask questions, seek answers. Share, stretch, experiment.

Guides and Worksheets

  • Use this guide for any of your college reading!
  • Learn a basic study skill–annotating or taking notes on your readings

Critical Reading Guide: Text + Context

Title of the text:                                                                                  Author:

Reading the text: Comprehension

Main idea . In one sentence, summarize the main point or argument of the text.

Claim . Identify one claim in the text.

Key points . Paraphrase a key point, example, or passage that interested you.

Evidence . In your own words, describe 1-2 compelling examples or pieces of evidence that support the point/argument of the text.

Conclusion . What is the ultimate takeaway the text gives us on the topic/issue?

Personal experience . What is your experience of the topic? Have you had problems related to it?

Vocabulary . What is a word or phrase in the text you didn’t know? Look it up. What does it mean?

Inquiry . What is one thing you need more information about? Or, what is one question you have about the content of the text?

Reading for context: Rhetorical analysis

The author . Do an internet search on the author. What did you find out?

Ethos . Do you trust the author on the topic/issue? Why or why not?

Container . When and where was the text first published? Who will read/see it?

Audience . How does the author address or appeal to their readers? What tone does the author use in the text?

Bias . What knowledge, values, or beliefs does the author assume the reader shares?

Types of evidence . What types of evidence does the author use? Types of evidence include facts, examples, statistics, statements by authorities (references to or quotes from other sources), interviews, observations, logical reasoning, and personal experience

Structure . How does the author organize the text?

Purpose . What question does the author seek to answer in the text? In other words, why do you think they wrote this piece?

Mark-up Assignment: The Savvy Reader Practice

The object is to fill the empty space of the margins with your thoughts and questions to the text. By reading sympathetically (reading to understand what the writer is saying) and critically (reading to analyze and critique what the writer is saying), you are reading mindfully and creatively. You are finding those passages that you are drawn to, asking questions that you have, and beginning to develop your reaction, response, and ideas about a topic or issue. It’s a useful tool in the “getting started” phase of the writing process. Learning how to read effectively will be an invaluable skill in your college career and beyond because it means engaging in a task actively rather than passively.

Choose 1-2 paragraphs from READING X to fully annotate. This passage should be one that interests you, i.e. seems important, confusing, and/or prompted agreement, disagreement, or questions for you.

  • Circle any word you think is crucial for the passage, including ones you cannot easily define.
  • Underline phrases or images you think crucial for the meaning of the passage/essay.
  • Put a bracket around ideas or assertions you find puzzling or questionable.
  • Then write notes around the margins of the passage defining these terms, identifying the important ideas, or raising questions with the bracketed phrases. For each item you have circled, underlined, or bracketed, there should be a margin note. For this assignment, your margin notes should be substantive: they should meaty statements and full questions.

Photocopy or clear, legible photograph of paragraphs with your annotations or type up the paragraphs and annotate.

Writing as Inquiry Copyright © 2021 by Kara Clevinger and Stephen Rust is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write an Essay Introduction

Last Updated: January 15, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 4,232,818 times.

The introduction of your essay serves two important purposes. First, it gets your reader interested in the topic and encourages them to read what you have to say about it. Second, it gives your reader a roadmap of what you're going to say and the overarching point you're going to make – your thesis statement. A powerful introduction grabs your reader's attention and keeps them reading.

Sample Essay Hooks & Introductions

reading essay introduction

Hooking Your Reader

Step 1 Identify your audience.

  • If you're writing a paper for a class, don't automatically assume your instructor is your audience. If you write directly to your instructor, you'll end up glossing over some information that is necessary to show that you properly understand the subject of your essay.
  • It can be helpful to reverse-engineer your audience based on the subject matter of your essay. For example, if you're writing an essay about a women's health issue for a women's studies class, you might identify your audience as young women within the age range most affected by the issue.

Step 2 Use the element of surprise.

  • For this hook to be effective, your fact needs to be sufficiently surprising. If you're not sure, test it on a few friends. If they react by expressing shock or surprise, you know you've got something good.
  • Use a fact or statistic that sets up your essay, not something you'll be using as evidence to prove your thesis statement. Facts or statistics that demonstrate why your topic is important (or should be important) to your audience typically make good hooks.

Step 3 Tug at your reader's heart-strings.

  • For example, if you were writing an essay proposing a change to drunk driving laws, you might open with a story of how the life of a victim was changed forever after they were hit by a drunk driver.

Step 4 Offer a relevant example or anecdote.

  • For example, if you're writing an essay about a public figure, you might include an anecdote about an odd personal habit that cleverly relates back to your thesis statement.
  • Particularly with less formal papers or personal essays, humorous anecdotes can be particularly effective hooks.

Step 5 Ask a thought-provoking question.

  • For example: "What would you do if you could play God for a day? That's exactly what the leaders of the tiny island nation of Guam tried to answer."
  • If your essay prompt was a question, don't just repeat it in your paper. Make sure to come up with your own intriguing question.

Step 6 Avoid clichés and generalizations.

  • Broad, sweeping generalizations may ring false with some readers and alienate them from the start. For example, "everyone wants someone to love" would alienate someone who identified as aromantic or asexual.

Creating Your Context

Step 1 Relate your hook to a larger topic.

  • Use an appropriate transitional word or phrase, such as "however" or "similarly," to move from your specific anecdote back out to a broader scope.
  • For example, if you related a story about one individual, but your essay isn't about them, you can relate the hook back to the larger topic with a sentence like "Tommy wasn't alone, however. There were more than 200,000 dockworkers affected by that union strike."

Step 2 Provide necessary background information.

  • For example, if your thesis relates to how blackface was used as a means of enforcing racial segregation, your introduction would describe what blackface performances were, and where and when they occurred.
  • If you are writing an argumentative paper, make sure to explain both sides of the argument in a neutral or objective manner.

Step 3 Define key terms for the purposes of your essay.

  • Definitions would be particularly important if your essay is discussing a scientific topic, where some scientific terminology might not be understood by the average layperson.
  • Definitions also come in handy in legal or political essays, where a term may have different meanings depending on the context in which they are used.

Step 4 Move from the general to the specific.

  • If you're using 2 or 3 sentences to describe the context for your thesis, try to make each sentence a bit more specific than the one before it. Draw your reader in gradually.
  • For example, if you're writing an essay about drunk driving fatalities, you might start with an anecdote about a particular victim. Then you could provide national statistics, then narrow it down further to statistics for a particular gender or age group.

Presenting Your Thesis

Step 1 Make your point.

  • For example, a thesis for an essay on blackface performance might be "Because of its humiliating and demoralizing effect on African American slaves, blackface was used less as a comedy routine and more as a way of enforcing racial segregation."
  • Be assertive and confident in your writing. Avoid including fluff such as "In this essay, I will attempt to show...." Instead, dive right in and make your claim, bold and proud.
  • Your outline should be specific, unique, and provable. Through your essay, you'll make points that will show that your thesis statement is true – or at least persuade your readers that it's most likely true.

Step 2 Describe how you're going to prove your point.

  • If you've created an outline for your essay, this sentence is essentially the main subjects of each paragraph of the body of your essay.
  • For example, if you're writing an essay about the unification of Italy, you might list 3 obstacles to unification. In the body of your essay, you would discuss details about how each of those obstacles was addressed or overcome.
  • Instead of just listing all of your supporting points, sum them up by stating "how" or "why" your thesis is true. For example, instead of saying, "Phones should be banned from classrooms because they distract students, promote cheating, and make too much noise," you might say "Phones should be banned from classrooms because they act as an obstacle to learning."

Step 3 Transition smoothly into the body of your essay.

  • To figure out if you need a transition sentence, read the introduction and the first paragraph out loud. If you find yourself pausing or stumbling between the paragraphs, work in a transition to make the move smoother.
  • You can also have friends or family members read your easy. If they feel it's choppy or jumps from the introduction into the essay, see what you can do to smooth it out.

Bringing It All Together

Step 1 Read essays by other writers in your discipline.

  • If you're writing your essay for a class assignment, ask your instructor for examples of well-written essays that you can look at. Take note of conventions that are commonly used by writers in that discipline.
  • Make a brief outline of the essay based on the information presented in the introduction. Then look at that outline as you read the essay to see how the essay follows it to prove the writer's thesis statement.

Step 2 Keep your introduction short and simple.

  • For shorter essays under 1,000 words, keep your introduction to 1 paragraph, between 100 and 200 words.
  • Always follow your instructor's guidelines for length. These rules can vary at times based on genre or form of writing.

Step 3 Write your introduction after you write your essay.

  • As you write your essay, you may want to jot down things you want to include in your introduction. For example, you may realize that you're using a particular term that you need to define in your introduction.

Step 4 Revise your introduction to fit your essay.

  • Delete any filler or unnecessary language. Given the shortness of the introduction, every sentence should be essential to your reader's understanding of your essay.

Step 5 Structure your introduction effectively.

  • The first sentence or two should be your hook, designed to grab your reader's attention and get them interested in reading your essay.
  • The next couple of sentences create a bridge between your hook and the overall topic of the rest of your essay.
  • End your introduction with your thesis statement and a list of the points you will make in your essay to support or prove your thesis statement.

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

  • If you are answering or responding to an assigned question, make sure you've interpreted the question correctly. The quality of your writing is irrelevant if your essay doesn't answer the question. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 1
  • Have friends or family members read your essay and provide you with feedback. If you're writing for a class, you might want to exchange essays with another classmate and give each other feedback on your work. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 1

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About This Article

Jake Adams

Start your introduction with a relevant story, fact, or quote that will engage readers. Then, add 2-3 sentences of background information to give your essay context, and include important dates, locations, or historical moments where applicable. Finally, include your thesis statement, which is a specific, arguable, and provable statement that answers a question about your essay topic. For example, your thesis might read: "In the modern age, online dating apps like Tinder provide a wider variety of romantic options than young people have ever had before." For more tips and examples on how to craft your thesis and put your introduction together, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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reading essay introduction

Awesome Guide on How to Write an Essay Introduction

reading essay introduction

'I'd like to recall the day I nearly burned myself in flames in my automobile while going 250 mph and escaping the police'. – Thankfully, we don't have a story like that to relate to, but we bet we piqued your interest.

That's what we refer to as an efficient hook. Fundamentally, it's an attention-grabbing first sentence that piques an audience's interest and encourages them to keep reading. While writing an essay, a strong hook in essay introductions is essential.

Delve into the article if you're wondering how to start an essay with a strong introduction. This is the ultimate guide for writing the parts of a introduction paragraph from our custom dissertation writing service to engage your readers.

Introduction Definition

The introduction paragraph, to put it simply, is the first section of an essay. Thus, when reading your essay, the reader will notice it right away. What is the goal of an opening paragraph? There are two things that an excellent introduction achieves. It initially informs the reader on the subject of your work; in other words, it should describe the essay's topic and provide some background information for its main point. It must also spark readers' interest and persuade them to read the remainder of your article.

To provide you with essay writing services , we only need your paper requirements to create a plagiarism-free paper on time.

How Long Should an Introduction Be

Typically, there are no strict restrictions on how long an opening paragraph should be. Professional essay writers often shape the size of it with the paper's total length in mind. For instance, if you wonder how to make introduction in essay with five paragraphs, keep your introductory sentence brief and fit it inside a single section. But, if you're writing a longer paper, let's say one that's 40 pages, your introduction could need many paragraphs or even be pages long.

Although there are no specific requirements, seasoned writers advise that your introduction paragraph should account for 8% to 9% of your essay's overall word length.

And, if you place an order on our coursework writing services , we will certainly comply with your introduction length requirements.

What Makes a Good Introduction

All of the following criteria should be fulfilled by a strong opening sentence:

  • Start your introduction on an essay with a catchy sentence that draws the reader in.
  • It needs to include baseline information about your subject.
  • This should give readers a sense of the main argument(s) that your essay will address.
  • It must include all necessary information on the setting, locations, and chronological events.
  • By the end of your introduction, make a precise remark that serves as your essay's thesis.

What Are the 3 Parts of an Introduction Paragraph

So, what should be in a introduction paragraph? The introduction format essay has three sections: a hook, connections, and a thesis statement. Let's examine each component in more depth.

What Are the 3 Parts of an Introduction Paragraph

Part 1: Essay Hook

A hook is among the most effective parts of a introduction paragraph to start an essay. A strong hook will always engage the reader in only one sentence. In other words, it is a selling point.

Let's now address the query, 'how to make an essay introduction hook interesting?'. Well, to create a powerful hook, you can employ a variety of techniques:

  • A shocking fact
  • An anecdote 
  • A short summary

And here is what to avoid when using a hook:

  • Dictionary definitions
  • Generalizations
  • Sweeping statements that include words like 'everywhere,' 'always,' etc.

Once you've established a strong hook, you should give a general outline of your major point and some background information on the subject of your paper. If you're unsure how to write an introduction opening, the ideal approach is to describe your issue briefly before directing readers to particular areas. Simply put, you need to give some context before gradually getting more specific with your opinions.

The 5 Types of Hooks for Writing

Apart from the strategies mentioned above, there are even more types of hooks that can be used:

  • A Common Misconception — a good trick, to begin with, to claim that something your readers believe in is false.

Example: 'Although many falsely believe that people working from home are less productive – employees who get such work-life benefits generally work harder.'

  • Statistics — Statistical facts may provide a great hook for argumentative essays and serious subjects focusing on statistics.

Example: 'A recent study showed that people who are satisfied with their work-life balance work 21% harder and are 33% more likely to stay at the same company.'

  • Personal Story — sometimes, personal stories can be an appropriate hook, but only if they fit into a few brief sentences (for example, in narrative essays).

Example: 'When I had my first work-from-home experience, I suddenly realized the importance of having a good work-life balance; I saw plenty of the benefits it can provide.'

  • Scenes — this type of hook requires making the readers imagine the things you are writing about. It is most suitable when used in descriptive and narrative essays.

Example: 'Imagine you could have as much free time as you wish by working or studying from home—and spend more time with your loved ones.'

  • Thesis Statement — when unsure how to do an essay introduction, some writers start directly with their thesis statement. The main trick here is that there is no trick.

Example: 'I strongly believe there is a direct correlation between a healthy work-life balance and productivity in school or at work.'

Part 2: Connections

Give readers a clearer sense of what you will discuss throughout your article once you have given a hook and relevant background information about your essay topic. Briefly mentioning your main points in the same sequence in which you will address them in your body paragraphs can help your readers progressively arrive at your thesis statement.

In this section of your introduction, you should primarily address the following questions:

You may make sure that you are giving your readers all the information they need to understand the subject of your essay by responding to each of these questions in two to three lines. Be careful to make these statements brief and to the point, though.

Your main goal is gradually moving from general to specific facts about your subject or thesis statement. Visualize your introduction as an upside-down triangle to simplify the essay writing process. The attention-grabbing element is at the top of this triangle, followed by a more detailed description of the subject and concluding with a highly precise claim. Here is some quick advice on how to use the 'upside-down triangle' structure to compose an essay introduction:

  • Ensure that each subsequent line in your introduction is more focused and precise. This simple method will help you progressively introduce the main material of your piece to your audience.
  • Consider that you are writing a paper on the value of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In this situation, you may start with a query like, 'Have you ever considered how a healthy work-life balance can affect other areas of your life?' or a similar hook. Next, you could proceed by giving broad factual information. Finally, you could focus your topic on fitting your thesis statement.

Part 3: The Thesis Statement

If you're unsure of the ideal method to create an introduction, you should be particularly attentive to how you phrase your thesis statement.

The thesis of your work is, without a doubt, the most crucial section. Given that the thesis statement of your piece serves as the foundation for the entire essay, it must be presented in the introduction. A thesis statement provides readers with a brief summary of the article's key point. Your main assertion is what you'll be defending or disputing in the body of your essay. An effective thesis statement is often one sentence long, accurate, exact, unambiguous, and focused. Your thesis should often be provided at the end of your introduction.

Here is an example thesis statement for an essay about the value of a proper work-life balance to help you gain a better understanding of what a good thesis should be:

Thesis Statement Example: 'Creating flexible and pleasant work schedules for employees can help them have a better work-life balance while also increasing overall performance.'

Catchy Introductions for Different Essay Types

Although opening paragraphs typically have a fixed form, their language may vary. In terms of academic essays, students are often expected to produce four primary intro to essay examples. They include articles that are analytical, argumentative, personal, and narrative. It is assumed that different information should appear in these beginning paragraphs since the goals of each sort of essay change. A thorough overview of the various paper kinds is provided below, along with some good essay introduction samples from our argumentative essay writers:

Narrative Introduction

  • The writer of a narrative essay must convey a story in this style of writing. Such essays communicate a story, which distinguishes them from other essay types in a big way.
  • Such a paper's hook will often be an enticing glimpse into a specific scene that only loosely links to the thesis statement. Additionally, when writing such an essay, a writer should ensure that every claim included in the introduction relates to some important moments that have significantly impacted the story's outcome.
  • The thesis in narrative writing is usually the theme or main lesson learned from the story.
Narrative introduction example: 'My phone rang, and my mother told me that Dad had suffered a heart attack. I suddenly experienced a sense of being lifted out from under me by this immaculately carpeted flooring. After making it through, Dad left me with a sizable collection of lessons. Here are three principles that I know dad would have wanted me to uphold...'

Still Can't Think of a Perfect Intro?

When assigned to write an essay, students end up with a ton of questions, including 'How to structure an essay?', 'How to choose a good topic?'. Here at EssayPro, we employ only the best essay writers who are committed to students’ success.

Analytical Introduction

  • Analytical essay introduction format is another popular type. In contrast to a narrative paper, an analytical paper seeks to explore an idea and educate the reader about a topic.
  • Three important facts that support the analytical premise should be included in the middle section of the introduction.
  • A well-researched and well-thought-out claim will form a wonderful thesis because the main goal of this paper is to study the topic and educate readers. It's crucial to remember that this assertion shouldn't initially have any real weight. Although it will still be theoretical, it has to be articulated practically.
Analytical introduction example: “... Hence even though presidents, CEOs, and generals still have their daily schedules full of economic crises and military conflicts, on the cosmic scale of history humankind can lift its eyes up and start looking towards new horizons. If we bring famine, plague, and war under control, what will replace them at the top of the human agenda? Like firefighters in a world without fire, so humankind in the twenty-first century needs to ask itself an unprecedented question: what are we going to do with ourselves? What will demand our attention and ingenuity in a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious world? In a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious world, what will demand our attention and ingenuity? This question becomes doubly urgent given the immense new powers that biotechnology and information technology are providing us with. What will we do with all that power? ...” Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Yuval Noah Harari

Persuasive Introduction

  • To persuade readers of anything is the sole goal of persuasive essay writing. This may be accomplished using persuasive strategies like ethos, pathos, and logos.
  • A hook statement for this paper may be anything from a fascinating fact to even comedy. You can use whatever technique you choose. The most crucial advice is to ensure your hook is in line with your thesis and that it can bolster further justifications.
  • Generally speaking, a persuasive essay must include three supporting facts. Hence, to gradually lead readers to the major topic of your paper, add a quick summary of your three arguments in your introduction.
  • Last, the thesis statement should be the main claim you will be disputing in this paper. It should be a brief, carefully thought-out, and confident statement of your essay's major argument.
Persuasive introduction example: 'Recycling waste helps to protect the climate. Besides cleaning the environment, it uses waste materials to create valuable items. Recycling initiatives must be running all around the world. ...'

Personal Introduction

  • The final sort of academic writing that students frequently encounter is a personal essay. In principle, this essay style is creative nonfiction and requires the author to reflect on personal experiences. The goals of such a paper may be to convey a story, discuss the lessons that certain incidents have taught you, etc. This type of writing is unique since it is the most personal.
  • Whatever topic you choose can serve as the hook for such an essay. A pertinent remark, query, joke, or fact about the primary plot or anything else will be acceptable. The backdrop of your narrative should then be briefly explained after that. Lastly, a thesis statement can describe the impact of particular experiences on you and what you learned.
Personal introduction example: 'My parents always pushed me to excel in school and pursue new interests like playing the saxophone and other instruments. I felt obligated to lead my life in a way that met their standards. Success was always expected on the route they had set out for me. Yet eight years after my parents' separation, this course was diverted when my dad relocated to California...'

Tips for Writing a Winning Introduction Paragraph

You now understand how to do introduction and have specific intro example for essays to help you get going. Let's quickly examine what you should and shouldn't do during the writing process.

  • Keep the assignment's purpose in mind when you write your introduction, and ensure it complies with your instructor's requirements.
  • Use a compelling and relevant hook to grab the reader's attention immediately.
  • Make sure your readers understand your perspective to make it apparent.
  • If necessary, establish key terms related to your subject.
  • Show off your expertise on the subject.
  • Provide a symbolic road map to help readers understand what you discuss throughout the post.
  • Be brief; it's recommended that your introduction make up no more than 8 to 9 percent of the entire text (for example, 200 words for a 2500 words essay).
  • Construct a strong thesis statement.
  • Create some intrigue.
  • Make sure there is a clear and smooth transition from your introduction to the body of your piece.
  • If you're looking for a custom writer , request assistance from the EssayPro team. We know how to write a term paper along with many other types of essays.


  • Provide too much background information.
  • Use sentences that are off-topic or unnecessary.
  • Make your opening paragraph excessively long.
  • Keep some information a secret and reveal it later in conclusion.
  • Employ overused phrases or generalizations.
  • Using quotation marks excessively

Now that you know what is in the introduction of an essay, we recommend reading the information on how to critique an article to gain more academic insight.

If you are still struggling with that, keep in mind that you can always send us your request to get professional assistance from our law essay writing service .

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Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

reading essay introduction

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

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1.1 Reading and Writing in College

Learning objectives.

  • Understand the expectations for reading and writing assignments in college courses.
  • Understand and apply general strategies to complete college-level reading assignments efficiently and effectively.
  • Recognize specific types of writing assignments frequently included in college courses.
  • Understand and apply general strategies for managing college-level writing assignments.
  • Determine specific reading and writing strategies that work best for you individually.

As you begin this chapter, you may be wondering why you need an introduction. After all, you have been writing and reading since elementary school. You completed numerous assessments of your reading and writing skills in high school and as part of your application process for college. You may write on the job, too. Why is a college writing course even necessary?

When you are eager to get started on the coursework in your major that will prepare you for your career, getting excited about an introductory college writing course can be difficult. However, regardless of your field of study, honing your writing skills—and your reading and critical-thinking skills—gives you a more solid academic foundation.

In college, academic expectations change from what you may have experienced in high school. The quantity of work you are expected to do is increased. When instructors expect you to read pages upon pages or study hours and hours for one particular course, managing your work load can be challenging. This chapter includes strategies for studying efficiently and managing your time.

The quality of the work you do also changes. It is not enough to understand course material and summarize it on an exam. You will also be expected to seriously engage with new ideas by reflecting on them, analyzing them, critiquing them, making connections, drawing conclusions, or finding new ways of thinking about a given subject. Educationally, you are moving into deeper waters. A good introductory writing course will help you swim.

Table 1.1 “High School versus College Assignments” summarizes some of the other major differences between high school and college assignments.

Table 1.1 High School versus College Assignments

This chapter covers the types of reading and writing assignments you will encounter as a college student. You will also learn a variety of strategies for mastering these new challenges—and becoming a more confident student and writer.

Throughout this chapter, you will follow a first-year student named Crystal. After several years of working as a saleswoman in a department store, Crystal has decided to pursue a degree in elementary education and become a teacher. She is continuing to work part-time, and occasionally she finds it challenging to balance the demands of work, school, and caring for her four-year-old son. As you read about Crystal, think about how you can use her experience to get the most out of your own college experience.

Review Table 1.1 “High School versus College Assignments” and think about how you have found your college experience to be different from high school so far. Respond to the following questions:

  • In what ways do you think college will be more rewarding for you as a learner?
  • What aspects of college do you expect to find most challenging?
  • What changes do you think you might have to make in your life to ensure your success in college?

Reading Strategies

Your college courses will sharpen both your reading and your writing skills. Most of your writing assignments—from brief response papers to in-depth research projects—will depend on your understanding of course reading assignments or related readings you do on your own. And it is difficult, if not impossible, to write effectively about a text that you have not understood. Even when you do understand the reading, it can be hard to write about it if you do not feel personally engaged with the ideas discussed.

This section discusses strategies you can use to get the most out of your college reading assignments. These strategies fall into three broad categories:

  • Planning strategies. To help you manage your reading assignments.
  • Comprehension strategies. To help you understand the material.
  • Active reading strategies. To take your understanding to a higher and deeper level.

Planning Your Reading

Have you ever stayed up all night cramming just before an exam? Or found yourself skimming a detailed memo from your boss five minutes before a crucial meeting? The first step in handling college reading successfully is planning. This involves both managing your time and setting a clear purpose for your reading.

Managing Your Reading Time

You will learn more detailed strategies for time management in Section 1.2 “Developing Study Skills” , but for now, focus on setting aside enough time for reading and breaking your assignments into manageable chunks. If you are assigned a seventy-page chapter to read for next week’s class, try not to wait until the night before to get started. Give yourself at least a few days and tackle one section at a time.

Your method for breaking up the assignment will depend on the type of reading. If the text is very dense and packed with unfamiliar terms and concepts, you may need to read no more than five or ten pages in one sitting so that you can truly understand and process the information. With more user-friendly texts, you will be able to handle longer sections—twenty to forty pages, for instance. And if you have a highly engaging reading assignment, such as a novel you cannot put down, you may be able to read lengthy passages in one sitting.

As the semester progresses, you will develop a better sense of how much time you need to allow for the reading assignments in different subjects. It also makes sense to preview each assignment well in advance to assess its difficulty level and to determine how much reading time to set aside.

College instructors often set aside reserve readings for a particular course. These consist of articles, book chapters, or other texts that are not part of the primary course textbook. Copies of reserve readings are available through the university library; in print; or, more often, online. When you are assigned a reserve reading, download it ahead of time (and let your instructor know if you have trouble accessing it). Skim through it to get a rough idea of how much time you will need to read the assignment in full.

Setting a Purpose

The other key component of planning is setting a purpose. Knowing what you want to get out of a reading assignment helps you determine how to approach it and how much time to spend on it. It also helps you stay focused during those occasional moments when it is late, you are tired, and relaxing in front of the television sounds far more appealing than curling up with a stack of journal articles.

Sometimes your purpose is simple. You might just need to understand the reading material well enough to discuss it intelligently in class the next day. However, your purpose will often go beyond that. For instance, you might also read to compare two texts, to formulate a personal response to a text, or to gather ideas for future research. Here are some questions to ask to help determine your purpose:

How did my instructor frame the assignment? Often your instructors will tell you what they expect you to get out of the reading:

  • Read Chapter 2 and come to class prepared to discuss current teaching practices in elementary math.
  • Read these two articles and compare Smith’s and Jones’s perspectives on the 2010 health care reform bill.
  • Read Chapter 5 and think about how you could apply these guidelines to running your own business.
  • How deeply do I need to understand the reading? If you are majoring in computer science and you are assigned to read Chapter 1, “Introduction to Computer Science,” it is safe to assume the chapter presents fundamental concepts that you will be expected to master. However, for some reading assignments, you may be expected to form a general understanding but not necessarily master the content. Again, pay attention to how your instructor presents the assignment.
  • How does this assignment relate to other course readings or to concepts discussed in class? Your instructor may make some of these connections explicitly, but if not, try to draw connections on your own. (Needless to say, it helps to take detailed notes both when in class and when you read.)
  • How might I use this text again in the future? If you are assigned to read about a topic that has always interested you, your reading assignment might help you develop ideas for a future research paper. Some reading assignments provide valuable tips or summaries worth bookmarking for future reference. Think about what you can take from the reading that will stay with you.

Improving Your Comprehension

You have blocked out time for your reading assignments and set a purpose for reading. Now comes the challenge: making sure you actually understand all the information you are expected to process. Some of your reading assignments will be fairly straightforward. Others, however, will be longer or more complex, so you will need a plan for how to handle them.

For any expository writing —that is, nonfiction, informational writing—your first comprehension goal is to identify the main points and relate any details to those main points. Because college-level texts can be challenging, you will also need to monitor your reading comprehension. That is, you will need to stop periodically and assess how well you understand what you are reading. Finally, you can improve comprehension by taking time to determine which strategies work best for you and putting those strategies into practice.

Identifying the Main Points

In college, you will read a wide variety of materials, including the following:

  • Textbooks. These usually include summaries, glossaries, comprehension questions, and other study aids.
  • Nonfiction trade books. These are less likely to include the study features found in textbooks.
  • Popular magazine, newspaper, or web articles. These are usually written for a general audience.
  • Scholarly books and journal articles. These are written for an audience of specialists in a given field.

Regardless of what type of expository text you are assigned to read, your primary comprehension goal is to identify the main point : the most important idea that the writer wants to communicate and often states early on. Finding the main point gives you a framework to organize the details presented in the reading and relate the reading to concepts you learned in class or through other reading assignments. After identifying the main point, you will find the supporting points , the details, facts, and explanations that develop and clarify the main point.

Some texts make that task relatively easy. Textbooks, for instance, include the aforementioned features as well as headings and subheadings intended to make it easier for students to identify core concepts. Graphic features, such as sidebars, diagrams, and charts, help students understand complex information and distinguish between essential and inessential points. When you are assigned to read from a textbook, be sure to use available comprehension aids to help you identify the main points.

Trade books and popular articles may not be written specifically for an educational purpose; nevertheless, they also include features that can help you identify the main ideas. These features include the following:

  • Trade books. Many trade books include an introduction that presents the writer’s main ideas and purpose for writing. Reading chapter titles (and any subtitles within the chapter) will help you get a broad sense of what is covered. It also helps to read the beginning and ending paragraphs of a chapter closely. These paragraphs often sum up the main ideas presented.
  • Popular articles. Reading the headings and introductory paragraphs carefully is crucial. In magazine articles, these features (along with the closing paragraphs) present the main concepts. Hard news articles in newspapers present the gist of the news story in the lead paragraph, while subsequent paragraphs present increasingly general details.

At the far end of the reading difficulty scale are scholarly books and journal articles. Because these texts are written for a specialized, highly educated audience, the authors presume their readers are already familiar with the topic. The language and writing style is sophisticated and sometimes dense.

When you read scholarly books and journal articles, try to apply the same strategies discussed earlier. The introduction usually presents the writer’s thesis , the idea or hypothesis the writer is trying to prove. Headings and subheadings can help you understand how the writer has organized support for his or her thesis. Additionally, academic journal articles often include a summary at the beginning, called an abstract, and electronic databases include summaries of articles, too.

For more information about reading different types of texts, see Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” .

Monitoring Your Comprehension

Finding the main idea and paying attention to text features as you read helps you figure out what you should know. Just as important, however, is being able to figure out what you do not know and developing a strategy to deal with it.

Textbooks often include comprehension questions in the margins or at the end of a section or chapter. As you read, stop occasionally to answer these questions on paper or in your head. Use them to identify sections you may need to reread, read more carefully, or ask your instructor about later.

Even when a text does not have built-in comprehension features, you can actively monitor your own comprehension. Try these strategies, adapting them as needed to suit different kinds of texts:

  • Summarize. At the end of each section, pause to summarize the main points in a few sentences. If you have trouble doing so, revisit that section.
  • Ask and answer questions. When you begin reading a section, try to identify two to three questions you should be able to answer after you finish it. Write down your questions and use them to test yourself on the reading. If you cannot answer a question, try to determine why. Is the answer buried in that section of reading but just not coming across to you? Or do you expect to find the answer in another part of the reading?
  • Do not read in a vacuum. Look for opportunities to discuss the reading with your classmates. Many instructors set up online discussion forums or blogs specifically for that purpose. Participating in these discussions can help you determine whether your understanding of the main points is the same as your peers’.

These discussions can also serve as a reality check. If everyone in the class struggled with the reading, it may be exceptionally challenging. If it was a breeze for everyone but you, you may need to see your instructor for help.

As a working mother, Crystal found that the best time to get her reading done was in the evening, after she had put her four-year-old to bed. However, she occasionally had trouble concentrating at the end of a long day. She found that by actively working to summarize the reading and asking and answering questions, she focused better and retained more of what she read. She also found that evenings were a good time to check the class discussion forums that a few of her instructors had created.

Choose any text that that you have been assigned to read for one of your college courses. In your notes, complete the following tasks:

  • Summarize the main points of the text in two to three sentences.
  • Write down two to three questions about the text that you can bring up during class discussion.

Students are often reluctant to seek help. They feel like doing so marks them as slow, weak, or demanding. The truth is, every learner occasionally struggles. If you are sincerely trying to keep up with the course reading but feel like you are in over your head, seek out help. Speak up in class, schedule a meeting with your instructor, or visit your university learning center for assistance.

Deal with the problem as early in the semester as you can. Instructors respect students who are proactive about their own learning. Most instructors will work hard to help students who make the effort to help themselves.

Taking It to the Next Level: Active Reading

Now that you have acquainted (or reacquainted) yourself with useful planning and comprehension strategies, college reading assignments may feel more manageable. You know what you need to do to get your reading done and make sure you grasp the main points. However, the most successful students in college are not only competent readers but active, engaged readers.

Using the SQ3R Strategy

One strategy you can use to become a more active, engaged reader is the SQ3R strategy , a step-by-step process to follow before, during, and after reading. You may already use some variation of it. In essence, the process works like this:

  • Survey the text in advance.
  • Form questions before you start reading.
  • Read the text.
  • Recite and/or record important points during and after reading.
  • Review and reflect on the text after you read.

Before you read, you survey, or preview, the text. As noted earlier, reading introductory paragraphs and headings can help you begin to figure out the author’s main point and identify what important topics will be covered. However, surveying does not stop there. Look over sidebars, photographs, and any other text or graphic features that catch your eye. Skim a few paragraphs. Preview any boldfaced or italicized vocabulary terms. This will help you form a first impression of the material.

Next, start brainstorming questions about the text. What do you expect to learn from the reading? You may find that some questions come to mind immediately based on your initial survey or based on previous readings and class discussions. If not, try using headings and subheadings in the text to formulate questions. For instance, if one heading in your textbook reads “Medicare and Medicaid,” you might ask yourself these questions:

  • When was Medicare and Medicaid legislation enacted? Why?
  • What are the major differences between these two programs?

Although some of your questions may be simple factual questions, try to come up with a few that are more open-ended. Asking in-depth questions will help you stay more engaged as you read.

The next step is simple: read. As you read, notice whether your first impressions of the text were correct. Are the author’s main points and overall approach about the same as what you predicted—or does the text contain a few surprises? Also, look for answers to your earlier questions and begin forming new questions. Continue to revise your impressions and questions as you read.

While you are reading, pause occasionally to recite or record important points. It is best to do this at the end of each section or when there is an obvious shift in the writer’s train of thought. Put the book aside for a moment and recite aloud the main points of the section or any important answers you found there. You might also record ideas by jotting down a few brief notes in addition to, or instead of, reciting aloud. Either way, the physical act of articulating information makes you more likely to remember it.

After you have completed the reading, take some time to review the material more thoroughly. If the textbook includes review questions or your instructor has provided a study guide, use these tools to guide your review. You will want to record information in a more detailed format than you used during reading, such as in an outline or a list.

As you review the material, reflect on what you learned. Did anything surprise you, upset you, or make you think? Did you find yourself strongly agreeing or disagreeing with any points in the text? What topics would you like to explore further? Jot down your reflections in your notes. (Instructors sometimes require students to write brief response papers or maintain a reading journal. Use these assignments to help you reflect on what you read.)

Choose another text that that you have been assigned to read for a class. Use the SQ3R process to complete the reading. (Keep in mind that you may need to spread the reading over more than one session, especially if the text is long.)

Be sure to complete all the steps involved. Then, reflect on how helpful you found this process. On a scale of one to ten, how useful did you find it? How does it compare with other study techniques you have used?

Using Other Active Reading Strategies

The SQ3R process encompasses a number of valuable active reading strategies: previewing a text, making predictions, asking and answering questions, and summarizing. You can use the following additional strategies to further deepen your understanding of what you read.

  • Connect what you read to what you already know. Look for ways the reading supports, extends, or challenges concepts you have learned elsewhere.
  • Relate the reading to your own life. What statements, people, or situations relate to your personal experiences?
  • Visualize. For both fiction and nonfiction texts, try to picture what is described. Visualizing is especially helpful when you are reading a narrative text, such as a novel or a historical account, or when you read expository text that describes a process, such as how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Pay attention to graphics as well as text. Photographs, diagrams, flow charts, tables, and other graphics can help make abstract ideas more concrete and understandable.
  • Understand the text in context. Understanding context means thinking about who wrote the text, when and where it was written, the author’s purpose for writing it, and what assumptions or agendas influenced the author’s ideas. For instance, two writers might both address the subject of health care reform, but if one article is an opinion piece and one is a news story, the context is different.
  • Plan to talk or write about what you read. Jot down a few questions or comments in your notebook so you can bring them up in class. (This also gives you a source of topic ideas for papers and presentations later in the semester.) Discuss the reading on a class discussion board or blog about it.

As Crystal began her first semester of elementary education courses, she occasionally felt lost in a sea of new terms and theories about teaching and child development. She found that it helped to relate the reading to her personal observations of her son and other kids she knew.

Writing at Work

Many college courses require students to participate in interactive online components, such as a discussion forum, a page on a social networking site, or a class blog. These tools are a great way to reinforce learning. Do not be afraid to be the student who starts the discussion.

Remember that when you interact with other students and teachers online, you need to project a mature, professional image. You may be able to use an informal, conversational tone, but complaining about the work load, using off-color language, or “flaming” other participants is inappropriate.

Active reading can benefit you in ways that go beyond just earning good grades. By practicing these strategies, you will find yourself more interested in your courses and better able to relate your academic work to the rest of your life. Being an interested, engaged student also helps you form lasting connections with your instructors and with other students that can be personally and professionally valuable. In short, it helps you get the most out of your education.

Common Writing Assignments

College writing assignments serve a different purpose than the typical writing assignments you completed in high school. In high school, teachers generally focus on teaching you to write in a variety of modes and formats, including personal writing, expository writing, research papers, creative writing, and writing short answers and essays for exams. Over time, these assignments help you build a foundation of writing skills.

In college, many instructors will expect you to already have that foundation.

Your college composition courses will focus on writing for its own sake, helping you make the transition to college-level writing assignments. However, in most other college courses, writing assignments serve a different purpose. In those courses, you may use writing as one tool among many for learning how to think about a particular academic discipline.

Additionally, certain assignments teach you how to meet the expectations for professional writing in a given field. Depending on the class, you might be asked to write a lab report, a case study, a literary analysis, a business plan, or an account of a personal interview. You will need to learn and follow the standard conventions for those types of written products.

Finally, personal and creative writing assignments are less common in college than in high school. College courses emphasize expository writing, writing that explains or informs. Often expository writing assignments will incorporate outside research, too. Some classes will also require persuasive writing assignments in which you state and support your position on an issue. College instructors will hold you to a higher standard when it comes to supporting your ideas with reasons and evidence.

Table 1.2 “Common Types of College Writing Assignments” lists some of the most common types of college writing assignments. It includes minor, less formal assignments as well as major ones. Which specific assignments you encounter will depend on the courses you take and the learning objectives developed by your instructors.

Table 1.2 Common Types of College Writing Assignments

Part of managing your education is communicating well with others at your university. For instance, you might need to e-mail your instructor to request an office appointment or explain why you will need to miss a class. You might need to contact administrators with questions about your tuition or financial aid. Later, you might ask instructors to write recommendations on your behalf.

Treat these documents as professional communications. Address the recipient politely; state your question, problem, or request clearly; and use a formal, respectful tone. Doing so helps you make a positive impression and get a quicker response.

Key Takeaways

  • College-level reading and writing assignments differ from high school assignments not only in quantity but also in quality.
  • Managing college reading assignments successfully requires you to plan and manage your time, set a purpose for reading, practice effective comprehension strategies, and use active reading strategies to deepen your understanding of the text.
  • College writing assignments place greater emphasis on learning to think critically about a particular discipline and less emphasis on personal and creative writing.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.


Essay writing

  • Planning and structuring your essay
  • Introduction

Introductions and conclusions

Writing the main body sections, getting started and keeping going.

  • Developing your essay writing

Useful links for writing essays

  • Study Advice Helping students to achieve study success with guides, video tutorials, seminars and one-to-one advice sessions.
  • Academic writing LibGuide Expert guidance on punctuation, grammar, writing style and proof-reading.
  • Guide to citing references Includes guidance on why, when and how to use references correctly in your academic writing.
  • Reading and notemaking LibGuide Expert guidance on managing your reading and making effective notes.
  • Academic Phrasebank Use this site for examples of linking phrases and ways to refer to sources.
  • Ten stages of assignment success (Prezi) Based upon Burns and Sinfield, Essential Study Skills.
  • Critical Thinking A short video on Critical Thinking that the BBC have prepared in partnership with The Open University

When you are writing your essay, you will need to think about the particular role each section has in the overall essay. This will help you to see what information needs to be included and how you should be organising it. This page will help you to understand how each section of an essay functions.

reading essay introduction

  • What do they need to know at the start so they become interested in reading your essay and can follow the rest of your argument?
  • What do you want to leave them with as the main message of your essay at the end?

The best introductions and conclusions tell the reader exactly what they need to know to understand the main body of the essay.

Writing your introduction

An introduction gives your reader a way in to your essay. It is like consulting the map before starting on a journey; it situates the journey in the surrounding landscape, and it identifies the main route.

You can think of an introduction as covering three things: what, why and how.

  • What the question is about – explain your interpretation of the question and what it is asking you to do.
  • Why the question is important – put the question into context and identify the main issues that are raised by the question.
  • How you are going to answer it – let the reader know what you are going to cover in your essay in order to answer the question.

If you want to narrow down a very open-ended question, tell your reader that you are doing this in your introduction. Explain briefly that you are aware of the many issues raised by the question, but that you are only going to focus on one or two in detail…and why you have chosen these particular aspects.

Here's an example:

Writing your conclusion

Reading a conclusion should be like looking at a photograph after coming back from the journey; it should capture the essence of the journey and allow people to reflect on where they have been.

You will need to summarise the main points of your argument, relate these points back to the question, and show the answer you have reached. Think about what your reader knows now that they didn't know at the beginning.

If your essay question asks you to come to a judgement, for example "To what extent…" or "How far do you agree…", this is the place to clearly outline your reasoned judgement. It doesn't have to be a straight agreement or disagreement, but it is better to have a well reasoned side to your argument, instead of trying to combine every viewpoint into a muddled whole.

It is good practice not to introduce any new information in a conclusion, as the main task here is to close the framework of your discussion by referring back to the questions opened up in your introduction. However it is sometimes appropriate to look forwards and speculate about future developments or trends. In many disciplines the speculative paragraph comes just before the conclusion.

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a clear picture of your main argument, and also leave them feeling positive about your ideas.

Don't end your conclusion with:

- an apology, or a sentence that dwells on the incompleteness of your argument. For example, avoid finishing with, "If I had more time, I would also have covered…". You may wish to raise some limitations in the conclusion, but do this in the middle of the concluding paragraph, and then end on a strong, positive sentence, such as "It has clearly been shown that…"

- a rhetorical question. You may believe that it leaves the reader thinking deeply about your argument. However, it actually leaves the reader unsatisfied, as they expect you to come up with an answer to the question that you have raised.

reading essay introduction

It's better to discuss fewer things in more depth. Organise your writing in three or four groups of related arguments to keep your overall argument coherent and under control. Look for themes rather than putting all the arguments for, then all the arguments against. Your discussion will be more sophisticated and critical if you can integrate the fors and againsts in each paragraph.

Write in paragraphs and think of each one as a mini-essay:

  • introductory sentence (what this paragraph is about)
  • main body (statements, evidence and critical analysis)
  • concluding sentence (what was said in this paragraph)

Make sure you've provided a reference for every idea you got from your reading. You will need to include a citation at the point where you mention the text, and also full details in your bibliography, organised in alphabetical order of author.

Stay focused as you're writing. Keep your essay question in front of you and keep in mind your end point - the main message that your essay is working towards. Make it clear how your arguments and evidence relate to the essay title and be ruthless in discarding anything that isn't relevant. Irrelevant information can actively lose you marks!

  • Structuring your essay (video) Watch this brief video tutorial for more on the topic.
  • Structuring your essay (transcript) Read the transcript
  • PEIL Guide A guide to using PEIL paragraph structure.

If you are unable to view this video on YouTube it is also available on YuJa - view the PEIL paragraphs video on YuJa (University username and password required)

reading essay introduction

You might either:

1. Start with your introduction. This can help you to get your ideas sorted, and give you a reason to stick with your plan.

2. Leave your introduction until you've written the whole essay, then go back and add it later. Instead start with the paragraph or section you feel most confident about and build up from there.

A good way to get started is to write down the questions rather than the answers. So for your introduction, you might write, "What is this essay going to be about? Why is it interesting? How am I going to organise my discussion?" Then try answering each of the questions in turn.

If you get stuck when writing your essay, it is sometimes because you are not clear what your main ideas are yet. Take a step back and write yourself one or two sentences, explaining in simple terms what you are trying to get across. In particular, think about the message you want to convey overall in answer to the essay question.

It often helps to explain your ideas to a friend, as putting things into words starts untangling your thoughts. Your friend can tell you the parts of your argument that they don't understand, and these are the points you need to clarify. (You can always do the same for them when they come to write their essay.)

If you know you take ages crafting each sentence, allow yourself to write a rough draft just to get all the ideas down. In this draft, type quickly without editing as you go along. Don't worry about the exact choice of words at this stage; it is much easier to work out the phrasing when you have all the points on paper.

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How to Write a Close Reading Essay: Full Guide with Examples

How to Write a Close Reading Essay: Full Guide with Examples

writing Close Reading Essay

writing Close Reading Essay

There is no doubt that close-reading essays are on the rise these days. And for a good reason — it is a powerful technique that can help you make your mark as a student and showcase your understanding of the text.

In this type of writing, readers will read the literary text carefully and interpret it from various points of view. Read on.

reading essay introduction

Also Read: Does Turnitin Check Other Students’ Papers to Check Similarity

What is a Close Reading Essay?

essay writing

A close-reading essay is an in-depth analysis of a literary work. It can be used to support a thesis statement or as a research paper.

A close-reading essay focuses on the tiny themes inherent in a literary passage, story, or poem.

The focus of this type of essay is on critical thinking and analysis. The author will look at the small details that make up the overall meaning of a text.

The author will also consider how these tiny themes relate to each other and how they are presented within the text.

The key areas where a close reading essay focuses include:

  • Motivation and setting – This includes why the author wrote the piece and their purpose when they chose to write it. You can explore this through character analysis as well as themes that are common across multiple works.
  • Characters:  While characters may or may not have any significance in an overall plot, they can make up many of the elements discussed in this essay. For example, if you were analyzing Hamlet, then you would want to look at how Hamlet’s character affects his motivation for suicide (which is directly related to his madness) and how it relates to his relationship with Ophelia.

Also Read: How to Answer “to what Extent” Question in Research & Examples

How to Write a Close Reading Essay -Step-By-Step Guide

1. read the selected text at least three additional times.

Analyze the text using your critical thinking skills. What are the author’s main points and purposes? How does the author develop these points? What evidence does he or she use to support these points? How do other writers in the field of the study compare with this author’s views?

compare and contrast

Compare and contrast this author’s point of view with other writers in your field of study. What is their purpose in writing? What evidence do they use to support their positions?

How do they compare with this writer’s views?

2. Underline Portions of the Text that you Find Significant or Odd

The purpose of this section is to give the reader a sense of the author’s tone and approach to the subject.

A close-reading essay should be read at least twice, preferably three times. Underline or highlight any portions of the text that you find odd or significant.

Ask yourself: What does this mean? How does this affect my view of the work? What questions do I have now that I didn’t have before?

Take notes on what you think might be important. You may want to write down your questions and observations as they occur to you while reading your essay. Make sure they are hierarchical so they can easily guide your next step in writing about them.

3. State the Conclusions for the Paper

A close-reading essay analyzes a text and the author’s meaning. The key to this type of essay is the ability to conclude a text. It requires the student to think critically about what he/she has read and how it relates to other texts.

The most important aspect of writing a close-reading essay is being able to conclude after reading through a piece of work and analyzing it. The reader should always be able to answer questions like:

  • What does this author mean?
  • How can I apply this message to my life?
  • Is this message relevant in today’s society?

4. Write your Introduction

The purpose of your paper is usually stated in the introduction somewhere (it might be buried in an abstract).

introduction writing

In other words, it’s not enough just to tell readers what they need to know; they also need some motivation to read further if they don’t know why they should read.

5. Write your Body Paragraphs.

A body paragraph is the bulk of your essay. It’s the place where you flesh out your ideas and connect them to the overall topic.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the details when writing a close-reading essay, so it’s important to stay focused on the big picture of what you’re trying to say. Here are some tips for developing your body paragraphs:

  • Start with a thesis statement: Make sure that each paragraph starts with an idea or question that relates to the main point of your thesis statement. For example, suppose you’re writing about how human beings have been impacted by technology in society; then, in your first paragraph. In that case, you might want to talk about how computers are changing our lives and what this means for us as individuals and as a culture.
  • Link ideas together:  Be sure that each paragraph is directly related to the previous one (or else your readers will lose track). Use transition words like “however,” “however,” “in contrast,” and “on the other hand,” or even simply add supporting details from different sources throughout each paragraph.

6. Write your Conclusion

When writing conclusion to your close reading essay, you’ll make a few points about why you think the book is worth reading. You should focus on whether or not the author has succeeded in his or her main objective and whether or not it’s an interesting book.

essay conclusion

You should also consider how the author has achieved these goals. Did they succeed because of their writing style? Or did they use an effective structure? Did they make some unique observations that you hadn’t thought of before?

Do you have any specific questions about what was done well in the book? If so, ask them now so that you don’t forget to ask them when it’s time for your argumentative essay!

Also Read: How to Write an Enduring Issues Essay: Guide with Topics and examples

7. Close Reading Essay Examples

Below are three close-reading essay examples on the topic of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The first example is from a student named Brandon:

The main character, Jay Gatsby, is one of the most interesting characters in literature that I have ever read about.

He was a millionaire who married into a family of lower-class people and became friends with their daughter Daisy Buchanan, who had recently graduated from college and moved to New York City, where she met his son Nick Carraway.

Jay Gatsby was so fascinating to me because he had a lot of passion for life; he never gave up on what he wanted, even though he had nothing to back it up.

The Great Gatsby

When I read this book, I learned that some people don’t care about what happens to them or what other people think about them; they just do their own thing and don’t let anything stand in their way of achieving their goals in life (Gatsby).

When I read this book, I also learned about love and hate because there were many different sides to each character’s personality throughout the book (Gatsby).

In conclusion, “The Great Gatsby” is an interesting book.

Example Two

The main character in the novel, Adam Bede, is a strong-willed country boy who looks down upon city folk. He has no interest in being educated and feels that he would rather work on a farm than attend school.

He does not seem to have any particular talent or skill that would make him stand out. However, it is not until he meets the wealthy Miss Lavendar that he can express his talents through writing poetry and music.

The first time Adam meets Miss Lavendar, she sits at a piano playing a piece by Mozart. Adam has never heard music like this before. It is so beautiful that he immediately falls in love with her. The two become friends and eventually marry each other.

However, when Adam becomes famous for his poems about Miss Lavendar, she begins to feel threatened by her new husband’s success. She leaves him for another man named Mr. Thornton. He has money and power but no talent for writing poetry or music like Adam.

 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

The play tells the story of a family during the Great Depression in Mississippi. Brick Pollitt has just returned home from World War I where he has been injured in battle and subsequently discharged with a disability pension.

His wife Maggie is expecting their first child, while his son Paul lives in New Orleans where he works as a pianist for a white man named Big Daddy Pollitt who owns a brothel in which Paul performs sexually explicit acts for the patrons at Big Daddy’s establishment called “The Brick House.”

reading essay introduction

With over 10 years in academia and academic assistance, Alicia Smart is the epitome of excellence in the writing industry. She is our chief editor and in charge of the writing department at Grade Bees.

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National Academies Press: OpenBook

Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (1998)

Chapter: 1. introduction, 1 introduction.

Reading is essential to success in our society. The ability to read is highly valued and important for social and economic advancement. Of course, most children learn to read fairly well. In fact, a small number learn it on their own, with no formal instruction, before school entry (Anbar, 1986; Backman, 1983; Bissex, 1980; Jackson, 1991; Jackson et al., 1988). A larger percentage learn it easily, quickly, and efficiently once exposed to formal instruction.


Parents, educators, community leaders, and researchers identify clear and specific worries concerning how well children are learning to read in this country. The issues they raise are the focus of this report:

1. Large numbers of school-age children, including children from all social classes, have significant difficulties in learning to read.

2. Failure to learn to read adequately for continued school success is much more likely among poor children, among nonwhite

children, and among nonnative speakers of English. Achieving educational equality requires an understanding of why these disparities exist and efforts to redress them.

3. An increasing proportion of children in American schools, particularly in certain school systems, are learning disabled, with most of the children identified as such because of difficulties in learning to read.

4. Even as federal and state governments and local communities invest at higher levels in early childhood education for children with special needs and for those from families living in poverty, these investments are often made without specific planning to address early literacy needs and sustain the investment.

5. A significant federal investment in providing bilingual education programs for nonnative speakers of English has not been matched by attention to the best methods for teaching reading in English to nonnative speakers or to native speakers of nonstandard dialects.

6. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides accommodations to children and to workers who have reading disabilities. In order to provide full access for the individuals involved, these accommodations should reflect scientific knowledge about the acquisition of reading and the effects of having a reading difficulty.

7. The debate about reading development and reading instruction has been persistent and heated, often obscuring the very real gains in knowledge of the reading process that have occurred.

In this report, we are most concerned with the children in this country whose educational careers are imperiled because they do not read well enough to ensure understanding and to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive economy. Current difficulties in reading largely originate from rising demands for literacy, not from declining absolute levels of literacy (Stedman and Kaestle, 1987). In a technological society, the demands for higher literacy are constantly increasing, creating ever more grievous consequences for those who fall short and contributing to the widening economic disparities in our society (Bronfenbrenner et al., 1996). These economic dispari-

ties often translate into disparities in educational resources, which then have the self-reinforcing effect of further exacerbating economic disparities. Although the gap in reading performance between educational haves and have-nots has shrunk over the last 50 years, it is still unacceptably large, and in recent years it has not shrunk further (National Academy of Education, 1996). These rich-get-richer and poor-get-poorer economic effects compound the difficulties facing educational policy makers, and they must be addressed if we are to confront the full scope of inadequate literacy attainment (see Bronfenbrenner et al., 1996).

Despite the many ways in which American schools have progressed and improved over the last half century (see, for example, Berliner and Biddle, 1995), there is little reason for complacency. Clear and worrisome problems have to do specifically with children's success in learning to read and our ability to teach reading to them. There are many reasons for these educational problems—none of which is simple. These issues and problems led to the initiation of this study and are the focus of this report.

The many children who succeed in reading are in classrooms that display a wide range of possible approaches to instruction. In making recommendations about instruction, one of the challenges facing the committee is the difficult-to-deal-with fact that many children will learn to read in almost any classroom, with almost any instructional emphasis. Nonetheless, some children, in particular children from poor, minority, or non-English-speaking families and children who have innate predispositions for reading difficulties, need the support of high-quality preschool and school environments and of excellent primary instruction to be sure of reading success. We attempt to identify the characteristics of the preschool and school environments that will be effective for such children.

The Challenge of a Technological Society

Although children have been taught to read for many centuries, only in this century—and until recently only in some countries—has there been widespread expectation that literacy skills should be universal. Under current conditions, in many ''literate" societies, 40 to

60 percent of the population have achieved literacy; today in the United States, we expect 100 percent of the population to be literate. Furthermore, the definition of full-fledged literacy has shifted over the last century with increased distribution of technology, with the development of communication across distances, and with the proliferation of large-scale economic enterprises (Kaestle, 1991; Miller, 1988; Weber, 1993). To be employable in the modern economy, high school graduates need to be more than merely literate. They must be able to read challenging material, to perform sophisticated calculations, and to solve problems independently (Murnane and Levy, 1993). The demands are far greater than those placed on the vast majority of schooled literate individuals a quarter-century ago.

Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study and High School and Beyond, the two most comprehensive longitudinal assessments of U.S. students' attitudes and achievements, indicate that, from 1972 through 1994 (the earliest and most recently available data), high school students most often identified two life values as "very important" (see National Center for Educational Statistics, 1995:403). "Finding steady work" was consistently highly valued by over 80 percent of male and female seniors over the 20 years of measurement and was seen as "very important'' by nearly 90 percent of the 1992 seniors—the highest scores on this measure in its 20-year history. "Being successful in work" was also consistently valued as very important by over 80 percent of seniors over the 20-year period and approached 90 percent in 1992.

The pragmatic goals stated by students amount to "get and hold a good job." Who is able to do that? In 1993, the percentage of U.S. citizens age 25 and older who were college graduates and unemployed was 2.6 percent (U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, quoted in National Center for Education Statistics, 1995:401). By contrast, the unemployment rate for high school graduates with no college was twice as high, 5.4 percent, and for persons with less than a high school education the unemployment rate was 9.8 percent, over three times higher. An October 1994 survey of 1993-1994 high school graduates and dropouts found that fewer than 50 percent of the dropouts were holding

jobs (U.S. Department of Labor, 1995 ; quoted in National Center for Education Statistics, 1995:401).

One researcher found that, controlling for inflation, the mean income of U.S. male high school dropouts ages 25 to 34 has decreased by over 50 percent between 1973 and 1995 (Stringfield, 1995 , 1997). By contrast, the mean incomes of young male high school graduates dropped by about one-third, and those of college graduates by 20 percent in the 1970s and then stabilized. Among the six major demographic groups (males and females who are black, white, or Hispanic), the lowest average income among college graduates was higher than the highest group of high school graduates.

Academic success, as defined by high school graduation, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing someone's reading skill at the end of grade 3 (for reviews, see Slavin et al., 1994). A person who is not at least a modestly skilled reader by the end of third grade is quite unlikely to graduate from high school. Only a generation ago, this did not matter so much, because the long-term economic effects of not becoming a good reader and not graduating from high school were less severe. Perhaps not surprisingly, when teachers are asked about the most important goal for education, over half of elementary school teachers chose "building basic literacy skills" (National Center for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey, 1990-1991, quoted in National Center for Education Statistics, 1995:31) .

The Special Challenge of Learning to Read English

Learning to read poses real challenges, even to children who will eventually become good readers. Furthermore, although every writing system has its own complexities, English presents a relatively large challenge, even among alphabetic languages. Learning the principles of a syllabic system, like the Japanese katakana, is quite straightforward, since the units represented—syllables—are pronounceable and psychologically real, even to young children. Such systems are, however, feasible only in languages with few possible syllable types; the hiragana syllabary represents spoken Japanese with 46 characters, supplemented with a set of diacritics (Daniels

and Bright, 1996). Spoken English has approximately 5,000 different possible syllables; instead of representing each one with a symbol in the writing system, written English relies on an alphabetic system that represents the parts that make up a spoken syllable, rather than representing the syllable as a unit.

An alphabetic system poses a challenge to the beginning reader, because the units represented graphically by letters of the alphabet are referentially meaningless and phonologically abstract. For example, there are three sounds represented by three letters in the word "but," but each sound alone does not refer to anything, and only the middle sound can really be pronounced in isolation; when we try to say the first or last consonant of the word all by itself, we have to add a vowel to make it a pronounceable entity (see Box 1-1).

Once the learner of written English gets the basic idea that letters represent the small sound units within spoken and heard words, called phonemes, the system has many advantages: a much more limited set of graphemic symbols is needed than in either syllabic (like Japanese) or morphosyllabic (like Chinese) systems; strategies

for sounding out unfamiliar strings and spelling novel words are available; and subsequences, such as prefixes and suffixes, are encountered with enough frequency for the reader to recognize them automatically.

Alphabetic systems of writing vary in the degree to which they are designed to represent the surface sounds of words. Some languages, such as Spanish, spell all words as they sound, even though this can cause two closely related words to be spelled very differently. Writing systems that compromise phonological representations in order to reflect morphological information are referred to as deep orthographies. In English, rather than preserving one-letter-to-one-sound correspondences, we preserve the spelling, even if that means a particular letter spells several different sounds. For example, the last letter pronounced "k" in the written word "electric" represents quite different sounds in the words "electricity" and ''electrician," indicating the morphological relation among the words but making the sound-symbol relationships more difficult to fathom.

The deep orthography of English is further complicated by the retention of many historical spellings, despite changes in pronunciation that render the spellings opaque. The "gh" in "night" and "neighborhood" represents a consonant that has long since disappeared from spoken English. The "ph" in "morphology" and "philosophy" is useful in signaling the Greek etymology of those words but represents a complication of the pattern of sound-symbol correspondences that has been abandoned in Spanish, German, and many other languages that also retain Greek-origin vocabulary items. English can present a challenge for a learner who expects to find each letter always linked to just one sound.


Reading problems are found among every group and in every primary classroom, although some children with certain demographic characteristics are at greater risk of reading difficulties than others. Precisely how and why this happens has not been fully understood. In some cases, the sources of these reading difficulties

are relatively clear, such as biological deficits that make the processing of sound-symbol relationships difficult; in other cases, the source is experiential such as poor reading instruction.

Biological Deficits

Neuroscience research on reading has expanded understanding of the reading process (Shaywitz, 1996). For example, researchers have now been able to establish a tentative architecture for the component processes of reading (Shaywitz et al., 1998; Shaywitz, 1996). All reading difficulties, whatever their primary etiology, must express themselves through alterations of the brain systems responsible for word identification and comprehension. Even in disadvantaged or other high-risk populations, many children do learn to read, some easily and others with great difficulty. This suggests that, in all populations, reading ability occurs along a continuum, and biological factors are influenced by, and interact with, a reader's experiences. The findings of an anomalous brain system say little about the possibility for change, for remediation, or for response to treatment. It is well known that, particularly in children, neural systems are plastic and responsive to changed input.

Cognitive studies of reading have identified phonological processing as crucial to skillful reading, and so it seems logical to suspect that poor readers may have phonological processing problems. One line of research has looked at phonological processing problems that can be attributed to the underdevelopment or disruption of specific brain systems.

Genetic factors have also been implicated in some reading disabilities, in studies both of family occurrence (Pennington, 1989; Scarborough, 1989) and of twins (Olson et al., 1994). Differences in brain function and behavior associated with reading difficulty may arise from environmental and/or genetic factors. The relative contributions of these two factors to a deficit in reading (children below the local 10th percentile) have been assessed in readers with normal-range intelligence (above 90 on verbal or performance IQ) and apparent educational opportunity (their first language was English and they had regularly attended schools that were at or above national

norms in reading). This research has provided evidence for strong genetic influences on many of these children's deficits in reading (DeFries and Alarcon, 1996) and in related phonological processes (Olson et al., 1989). Recent DNA studies have found evidence for a link between some cases of reading disability and inheritance of a gene or genes on the short arm of chromosome 6 (Cardon et al., 1994; Grigorenko et al., 1997).

It is important to emphasize that evidence for genetic influence on reading difficulty in the selected population described above does not imply genetic influences on reading differences between groups for which there are confounding environmental differences. Such group differences may include socioeconomic status, English as a second language, and other cultural factors. It is also important to emphasize that evidence for genetic influence and anomalous brain development does not mean that a child is condemned to failure in reading. Brain and behavioral development are always based on the interaction between genetic and environmental influences. The genetic and neurobiological evidence does suggest why learning to read may be particularly difficult for some children and why they may require extraordinary instructional support in reading and related phonological processes.

Instructional Influences

A large number of students who should be capable of reading ably given adequate instruction are not doing so, suggesting that the instruction available to them is not appropriate. As Carroll (1963) noted more than three decades ago, if the instruction provided by a school is ineffective or insufficient, many children will have difficulty learning to read (unless additional instruction is provided in the home or elsewhere).

Reading difficulties that arise when the design of regular classroom curriculum, or its delivery, is flawed are sometimes termed "curriculum casualties" (Gickling and Thompson, 1985; Simmons and Kame'enui, in press). Consider an example from a first-grade classroom in the early part of the school year. Worksheets were being used to practice segmentation and blending of words to facili-

tate word recognition. Each worksheet had a key word, with one part of it designated the "chunk" that was alleged to have the same spelling-sound pattern in other words; these other words were listed on the sheet. One worksheet had the word "love" and the chunk "ove.'' Among the other words listed on the sheet, some did indicate the pattern ("glove," "above," "dove"), but others simply do not work as the sheet suggests they should ("Rover," "stove," and "woven"). In lesson plans and instructional activities, such mistakes occur in the accuracy and clarity of the information being taught.

When this occurs consistently, a substantial proportion of students in the classroom are likely to exhibit low achievement (although some students are likely to progress adequately in spite of the impoverished learning situation). If low-quality instruction is confined to one particular teacher, children's progress may be impeded for the year spent in that classroom, but they may overcome this setback when exposed to more adequate teaching in subsequent years. There is evidence, however, that poor instruction in first grade may have long-term effects. Children who have poor instruction in the first year are more seriously harmed by the bad early learning experience and tend to do poorly in schooling across the years (Pianta, 1990).

In some schools, however, the problem is more pervasive, such that low student achievement is schoolwide and persistent. Sometimes the instructional deficiency can be traced to lack of an appropriate curriculum. More often, a host of conditions occur together to contribute to the risk imposed by poor schooling: low expectations for success on the part of the faculty and administration of the school, which may translate into a slow-paced, undemanding curriculum; teachers who are poorly trained in effective methods for teaching beginning readers; the unavailability of books and other materials; noisy and crowded classrooms; and so forth.

It is regrettable that schools with these detrimental characteristics continue to exist anywhere in the United States; since these schools often exist in low-income areas, where resources for children's out-of-school learning are limited, the effects can be very detrimental to students' probabilities of becoming skilled readers (Kozol, 1991; Puma et al., 1997; Natriello et al., 1990). Attending a

school in which low achievement is pervasive and chronic, in and of itself, clearly places a child at risk for reading difficulty. Even within a school that serves most of its students well, an instructional basis for poor reading achievement is possible. This is almost never considered, however, when a child is referred for evaluation of a suspected reading difficulty. Evidence from case study evaluations of children referred for special education indicate that instructional histories of the children are not seriously considered (Klenk and Palincsar, 1996). Rather, when teachers refer students for special services, the "search for pathology" begins and assessment focused on the child continues until some explanatory factor is unearthed that could account for the observed difficulty in reading (Sarason and Doris, 1979).

In sum, a variety of detrimental school practices may place children at risk for poorer achievement in reading than they might otherwise attain. Interventions geared at improving beginning reading instruction, rehabilitating substandard schools, and ensuring adequate teacher preparation are discussed in subsequent chapters.


A major source of urgency in addressing reading difficulties derives from their distribution in our society. Children from poor families, children of African American and Hispanic descent, and children attending urban schools are at much greater risk of poor reading outcomes than are middle-class, European-American, and suburban children. Studying these demographic disparities can help us identify groups that should be targeted for special prevention efforts. Furthermore, examining the literacy development of children in these higher-risk groups can help us understand something about the course of literacy development and the array of conditions that must be in place to ensure that it proceeds well.

One characteristic of minority populations that has been offered as an explanation for their higher risk of reading difficulties is the use of nonstandard varieties of English or limited proficiency in English. Speaking a nonstandard variety of English can impede the easy acquisition of English literacy by introducing greater deviations

in the representation of sounds, making it hard to develop sound-symbol links. Learning English spelling is challenging enough for speakers of standard mainstream English; these challenges are heightened for some children by a number of phonological and grammatical features of social dialects that make the relation of sound to spelling even more indirect (see Chapter 6).

The number of children who speak other languages and have limited proficiency in English in U.S. schools has risen dramatically over the past two decades and continues to grow. Although the size of the general school population has increased only slightly, the number of students acquiring English as a second language grew by 85 percent nationwide between 1985 and 1992, from fewer than 1.5 million to almost 2.7 million (Goldenberg, 1996). These students now make up approximately 5.5 percent of the population of public school students in the United States; over half (53 percent) of these students are concentrated in grades K-4. Eight percent of kindergarten children speak a native language other than English and are English-language learners (August and Hakuta, 1997).

Non-English-speaking students, like nonstandard dialect speakers, tend to come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and to attend schools with disproportionately high numbers of children in poverty, both of which are known risk factors (see Chapter 4). Hispanic students in the United States, who constitute the largest group of limited-English-proficient students by far, are particularly at risk for reading difficulties. Despite the group's progress in achievement over the past 15 to 20 years, they are about twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be reading below average for their age. Achievement gaps in all academic areas between whites and Hispanics, whether they are U.S. or foreign born, appear early and persist throughout their school careers (Kao and Tienda, 1995).

One obvious reason for these achievement differences is the language difference itself. Being taught and tested in English would, of course, put students with limited English proficiency at a disadvantage. These children might not have any reading difficulty at all if they were taught and tested in the language in which they are proficient. Indeed, there is evidence from research in bilingual education that learning to read in one's native language—thus offsetting the

obstacle presented by limited proficiency in English—can lead to superior achievement (Legarreta, 1979; Ramirez et al., 1991). This field is highly contentious and politicized, however, and there is a lack of clear consensus about the advantages and disadvantages of academic instruction in the primary language in contrast to early and intensive exposure to English (August and Hakuta, 1997; Rossell and Baker, 1996).

In any event, limited proficiency in English does not, in and of itself, appear to be entirely responsible for the low reading achievement of these students. Even when taught and tested in Spanish, as the theory and practice of bilingual education dictates, many Spanish-speaking Hispanic students in the United States still demonstrate low levels of reading attainment (Escamilla, 1994; Gersten and Woodward, 1995; Goldenberg and Gallimore, 1991; Slavin and Madden, 1995). This suggests that factors other than lack of English proficiency may also contribute to these children's reading difficulties.

One such factor is cultural differences, that is, the mismatch between the schools and the families in definitions of literacy, in teaching practices, and in defined roles for parents versus teachers (e.g., Jacob and Jordan, 1987; Tharp, 1989); these differences can create obstacles to children's learning to read in school. Others contend that primary cultural differences matter far less than do "secondary cultural discontinuities," such as low motivation and low educational aspirations that are the result of discrimination and limited social and economic opportunities for certain minority groups (Ogbu, 1974, 1982). Still others claim that high motivation and educational aspirations can and do coexist with low achievement (e.g., Labov et al., 1968, working in the African American community; Goldenberg and Gallimore, 1995, in the Hispanic community) and that other factors must therefore explain the differential achievement of culturally diverse groups.

Literacy is positively valued by adults in minority communities, and the positive views are often brought to school by young children (Nettles, 1997). Nonetheless, the ways that reading is used by adults and children varies across families from different cultural groups in ways that may influence children's participation in literacy activities

in school, as Heath (1983) found. And adults in some communities may see very few functional roles for literacy, so that they will be unlikely to provide conditions in the home that are conducive to children's acquisition of reading and writing skills (Purcell-Gates, 1991, 1996). The implications of these various views for prevention and intervention efforts are discussed in Part III of this volume.

It is difficult to distinguish the risk associated with minority status and not speaking English from the risk associated with lower socioeconomic status (SES). Studying the differential experiences of children in middle- and lower-class families can illuminate the factors that affect the development of literacy and thus contribute to the design of prevention and intervention efforts.

The most extensive studies of SES differences have been conducted in Britain. Stubbs (1980) found a much lower percentage of poor readers with higher (7.5 percent) than with lower SES (26.9 percent).  Some have suggested that SES differences in reading achievement are actually a result of differences in the quality of schooling; that is, lower-SES children tend to go to inferior schools, and therefore their achievement is lower because of inferior educational opportunities (Cook, 1991). However, a recent study by Alexander and Entwisle (1996) appears to demonstrate that it is during nonschool time—before they start and during the summer months—that low-SES children fall academically behind their higher-SES peers and get progressively further behind. During the school months (at least through elementary school) the rate of progress is virtually identical for high- and low-SES children.

Regardless of the specific explanation, differences in literacy achievement among children as a result of socioeconomic status are pronounced. Thirty years ago Coleman et al. (1966) and Moynihan (1965) reported that the educational deficit of children from low-income families was present at school entry and increased with each year they stayed in school. Evidence of SES differences in reading achievement has continued to accumulate (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 1981, 1995). Reading achievement of children in affluent suburban schools is significantly and consistently higher than that of children in "disadvantaged" urban schools (e.g.,

NAEP, 1994, 1995; White, 1982; Hart and Risley, 1995). An important conceptual distinction was made by White (1982) in a groundbreaking meta-analysis. White discovered that, at the individual level, SES is related to achievement only very modestly. However, at the aggregate level, that is, when measured as a school or community characteristic, the effects of SES are much more pronounced. A low-SES child in a generally moderate or higher-SES school or community is far less at risk than an entire school or community of low-SES children.

The existence of SES differences in reading outcomes offers by itself little information about the specific experiences or activities that influence literacy development at home. Indeed, a look at socioeconomic factors alone can do no more than nominate the elements that differ between middle-class and lower-class homes. Researchers have tried to identify the specific familial interactions that can account for social class differences, as well as describe those interactions around literacy that do occur in low-income homes. For example, Baker et al. (1995) compared opportunities for informal literacy learning among preschoolers in the homes of middle-income and low-income urban families. They found that children from middle-income homes had greater opportunities for informal literacy learning than children of low-income homes. Low-income parents, particularly African-American parents, reported more reading skills practice and homework (e.g., flash cards, letter practice) with their kindergarten-age children than did middle-income parents. Middle-income parents reported only slightly more joint book reading with their children than did low-income families. But these middle-income parents reported more play with print and more independent reading by children. Among the middle-class families in this study, 90 percent reported that their child visited the library at least once a month, whereas only 43 percent of the low-income families reported such visits. The findings of Baker et al. that low-income homes typically do offer opportunities for literacy practice, though perhaps of a different nature from middle-class homes, have been confirmed in ethnographic work by researchers such as Teale (1986), Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines (1988), Taylor and Strickland (1986), Gadsden (1993), Delgado-Gaitan (1990), and Goldenberg et al. (1992).


Charge to the committee.

The Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children has conducted a study of the effectiveness of interventions for young children who are at risk of having problems in learning to read. It was carried out at the request of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs and its Office of Educational Research and Improvement (Early Childhood Institute) and the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (Human Learning and Behavior Branch). The sponsors requested that the study address young children who are at -risk for reading difficulties, within the context of reading acquisition for all children. The scope included children from birth through grade 3, in special and regular education settings. The project had three goals: (1) to comprehend a rich research base; (2) to translate the research findings into advice and guidance for parents, educators, publishers, and others involved in the care and instruction of the young; and (3) to convey this advice to the targeted audiences through a variety of publications, conferences, and other outreach activities. In making its recommendations, the committee has highlighted key research findings that should be integrated into existing and future program interventions to enhance the reading abilities of young children, particularly instruction at the preschool and early elementary levels.

The Committee's Perspective

Our recommendations extend to all children. Of course, we are most worried about children at high risk of developing reading difficulties. However, there is little evidence that children experiencing difficulties learning to read, even those with identifiable learning disabilities, need radically different sorts of supports than children at low risk, although they may need much more intensive support. Childhood environments that support early literacy development and

excellent instruction are important for all children. Excellent instruction is the best intervention for children who demonstrate problems learning to read.

Knowledge about reading derives from work conducted in several disciplines, in laboratory settings as well as in homes, classrooms, and schools, and from a range of methodological perspectives. Reading is studied by ethnographers, sociologists, historians, child developmentalists, neurobiologists, and psycholinguists. Reading has been approached as a matter of cognition, culture, socialization, instruction, and language. The committee that wrote this report embraces all these perspectives—but we acknowledge the difficulty of integrating them into a coherent picture.

The committee agrees that reading is inextricably embedded in educational, social, historical, cultural, and biological realities. These realities determine the meaning of terms like literate as well as limits on access to literacy and its acquisition. Literacy is also essentially developmental, and appropriate forms of participation, instruction, and assessment in literacy for preschoolers differ from those for first graders and also from those for sophisticated critical readers.

Reading as a cognitive and psycholinguistic activity requires the use of form (the written code) to obtain meaning (the message to be understood), within the context of the reader's purpose (for learning, for enjoyment, for insight). In children, one can see a developmental oscillation between these foci: the preschool child who can pretend to read a story she has heard many times is demonstrating an understanding that reading is about content or meaning; the same child as a first grader, having been taught some grapheme-phoneme correspondences, may read the same storybook haltingly, disfluently, by sounding out the words she had earlier memorized, demonstrating an extreme focus on form. The mature, fluent, practiced reader shows more rapid oscillations between form-focused and meaning-focused reading: she can rely on automatic processing of form and focus on meaning until she encounters an unfamiliar pharmaceutical term or a Russian surname, whereupon the processing of meaning is disrupted while the form is decoded.

Groups define the nature as well as the value of literacy in culturally specific ways as well. A full picture of literacy from a cultural

and historical perspective would require an analysis of the distribution of literacy skills, values, and uses across classes and genders as well as religious and social groups; it would require a discussion of the connections between professional, religious, and leisure practices and literacy as defined by those practices. Such a discussion would go far beyond the scope of this report, which focuses on reading and reading difficulties as defined by mainstream opinions in the United States, in particular by U.S. educational institutions at the end of the twentieth century. In that context, employability, citizenship, and participation in the culture require high levels of literacy achievement.

Nature of the Evidence

Our review and summary of the literature are framed by some very basic principles of evidence evaluation. These principles derive from our commitment to the scientific method, which we view not as a strict set of rules but instead as a broad framework defined by some general guidelines. Some of the most important are that (1) science aims for knowledge that is publicly verifiable, (2) science seeks testable theories—not unquestioned edicts, (3) science employs methods of systematic empiricism (see Box 1-2). Science renders knowledge public by such procedures as peer review and such mechanisms as systematic replication (see Box 1-3). Testable theories are those that are potentially falsifiable—that is, defined in such a way that empirical evidence inconsistent with them can in principle be accumulated. It is the willingness to give up or alter a theory in the face of evidence that is one of the most central defining features of the scientific method. All of the conclusions reached in this report

are provisional in this important sense: they have empirical consequences that, if proven incorrect, should lead to their alteration.

The methods of systematic empiricism employed in the study of reading difficulties are many and varied. They include case studies, correlational studies, experimental studies, narrative analyses, quasi-experimental studies, interviews and surveys, epidemiological studies, ethnographies, and many others. It is important to understand how the results from studies employing these methods have been used in synthesizing the conclusions of this report.

First, we have utilized the principle of converging evidence. Scientists and those who apply scientific knowledge must often make a judgment about where the preponderance of evidence points. When this is the case, the principle of converging evidence is an important tool, both for evaluating the state of the research evidence and also for deciding how future experiments should be designed. Most areas of science contain competing theories. The extent to which one particular theory can be viewed as uniquely supported by a particular study depends on the extent to which other competing explanations have been ruled out. A particular experimental result is never equally relevant to all competing theoretical explanations. A given experiment may be a very strong test of one or two alternative theories but a weak test of others. Thus, research is highly convergent when a series of experiments consistently support a given theory while collectively eliminating the most important competing explanations. Although no single experiment can rule out all alternative explanations, taken collectively, a series of partially diagnostic studies can

lead to a strong conclusion if the data converge. This aspect of the convergence principle implies that we should expect to see many different methods employed in all areas of educational research. A relative balance among the methodologies used to arrive at a given conclusion is desirable because the various classes of research techniques have different strengths and weaknesses.

Another important context for understanding the present synthesis of research is provided by the concept of synergism between descriptive and hypothesis-testing research methods. Research on a particular problem often proceeds from more exploratory methods (ones unlikely to yield a causal explanation) to methods that allow stronger causal inferences. For example, interest in a particular hypothesis may originally stem from a case study of an unusually successful teacher. Alternately, correlational studies may suggest hypotheses about the characteristics of teachers who are successful. Subsequently, researchers may attempt experiments in which variables identified in the case study or correlation are manipulated in order to isolate a causal relationship. These are common progressions in areas of research in which developing causal models of a phenomenon is the paramount goal. They reflect the basic principle of experimental design that the more a study controls extraneous variables the stronger is the causal inference. A true experiment in controlling all extraneous variables is thus the strongest inferential tool.

Qualitative methods, including case studies of individual learners or teachers, classroom ethnographies, collections of introspective interview data, and so on, are also valuable in producing complementary data when carrying out correlational or experimental studies. Teaching and learning are complex phenomena that can be enhanced or impeded by many factors. Experimental manipulation in the teaching/learning context typically is less ''complete" than in other contexts; in medical research, for example, treatments can be delivered through injections or pills, such that neither the patient nor the clinician knows who gets which treatment, and in ways that do not require that the clinician be specifically skilled in or committed to the success of a particular treatment.

Educational treatments are often delivered by teachers who may enhance or undermine the difference between treatments and controls; thus, having qualitative data on the authenticity of treatment and on the attitudes of the teachers involved is indispensable. Delivering effective instruction occurs in the context of many other factors—the student-teacher relationship, the teacher's capability at maintaining order, the expectations of the students and their parents—that can neither be ignored nor controlled. Accordingly, data about them must be made available. In addition, since even programs that are documented to be effective will be impossible to implement on a wider scale if teachers dislike them, data on teacher beliefs and attitudes will be useful after demonstration of treatment effects as well (see discussion below of external validity).

Furthermore, the notion of a comparison between a treatment group and an untreated control is often a myth when dealing with social treatments. Families who are assigned not to receive some intervention for their children (e.g., Head Start placement, one-on-one tutoring) often seek out alternatives for themselves that approximate or improve on the treatment features. Understanding the dynamic by which they do so, through collecting observational and interview data, can prevent misguided conclusions from studies designed as experiments. Thus, although experimental studies represent the most powerful design for drawing causal inferences, their limitations must be recognized.

Another important distinction in research on reading is that between retrospective and prospective studies. On one hand, retrospective studies start from observed cases of reading difficulties and attempt to generate explanations for the problem. Such studies may involve a comparison group of normal readers, but of course inference from the finding of differences between two groups, one of whom has already developed reading difficulties and one of whom has not, can never be very strong. Studies that involve matching children with reading problems to others at the same level of reading skill (rather than to age mates) address some of these problems but at the cost of introducing other sources of difficulty—comparing two groups of different ages, with different school histories, and different levels of perceived success in school.

Prospective studies, on the other hand, are quite expensive and time consuming, particularly if they include enough participants to ensure a sizable group of children with reading difficulties. They do, however, enable the researcher to trace developmental pathways for participants who are not systematically different from one another at recruitment and thus to draw stronger conclusions about the likely directionality of cause-effect relationships.

As part of the methodological context for this report, we wish to address explicitly a misconception that some readers may have derived from our emphasis on the logic of an experiment as the most powerful justification for a causal conclusion. By such an emphasis, we do not mean to imply that only studies employing true experimental logic are to be used in drawing conclusions. To the contrary, as mentioned previously in our discussion of converging evidence, the results from many different types of investigations are usually weighed to derive a general conclusion, and the basis for the conclusion rests on the convergence observed from the variety of methods used. This is particularly true in the domains of classroom and curriculum research.

For example, it is often (but not always) the case that experimental investigations are high in internal validity but limited in external validity, whereas correlational studies are often high in external validity but low in internal validity. Internal validity concerns whether we can infer a causal effect for a particular variable. The more a study approximates the logic of a true experiment (i.e., includes manipulation, control, and randomization), the more we can make a strong causal inference. The internal validity of qualitative research studies depends, of course, on their capacity to reflect reality adequately and accurately. Procedures for ensuring adequacy of qualitative data include triangulation (comparison of findings from different research perspectives), cross-case analyses, negative case analysis, and so forth. Just as for quantitative studies, our review of qualitative studies has been selective and our conclusions took into account the methodological rigor of each study within its own paradigm.

External validity concerns the generalizability of the conclusion to the population and setting of interest. Internal validity and exter-

nal validity are often traded off across different methodologies. Experimental laboratory investigations are high in internal validity but may not fully address concerns about external validity. Field classroom investigations are often quite high in external validity but, because of the logistical difficulties involved in carrying out such investigations, are often quite low in internal validity. Hence, there is a need to look for a convergence of results—not just consistency across studies conducted with one method. Convergence across different methods increases confidence that the conclusions have both internal and external validity.

A not uncommon misconception is that correlational (i.e., nonexperimental) studies cannot contribute to knowledge. This is false for a number of reasons. First, many scientific hypotheses are stated in terms of correlation or lack of correlation, so that such studies are directly relevant to these hypotheses. Second, although correlation does not imply causation, causation does imply correlation. That is, although a correlational study cannot definitively prove a causal hypothesis, it may rule one out. Third, correlational studies are more useful than they used to be because some of the recently developed complex correlational designs allow for limited causal inferences. The technique of partial correlation, widely used in studies cited in this report, provides a case in point. It makes possible a test of whether a particular third variable is accounting for a relationship.

Perhaps the most important argument for quasi-experimental studies, however, is that some variables (for instance, human malnutrition, physical disabilities) simply cannot be manipulated for ethical reasons. Other variables, such as birth order, sex, and age, are inherently correlational because they cannot be manipulated, and therefore the scientific knowledge concerning them must be based on correlational evidence. Finally, logistical difficulties in carrying out classroom and curriculum research often render impossible the logic of the true experiment. However, this circumstance is not unique to educational or psychological research. Astronomers obviously cannot manipulate the variables affecting the objects they study, yet they are able to arrive at scientifically founded conclusions.

Outline of the Report

In Chapter 2 we present a picture of typical skilled reading and the process by which it develops. We see this as crucial background information for understanding reading difficulties and their prevention.

Part II presents a fuller picture of the children we are addressing in this report. We survey the population of children with reading difficulties in Chapter 3. In Chapter 4 we discuss risk factors that may help identify children who will have problems learning to read.

Part III presents our analysis of preventions and interventions, including instruction. Chapter 5focuses on the preschool years. Chapter 6 discusses prevention and literacy instruction delivered in classrooms in kindergarten and the primary grades. Chapter 7 presents our analysis of organizational factors, at the classroom, school, or district level, that contribute to prevention and intervention for grades 1 through 3. Chapter 8 continues discussion of grades 1 through 3, presenting more targeted intervention efforts to help children who are having reading difficulties.

Part IV presents our discussion of how the information reviewed in the report should be used to change practice. Chapter 9 discusses a variety of domains in which action is needed and obstacles to change in those domains. Chapter 10 presents our recommendations for practice, policy, and research.

While most children learn to read fairly well, there remain many young Americans whose futures are imperiled because they do not read well enough to meet the demands of our competitive, technology-driven society. This book explores the problem within the context of social, historical, cultural, and biological factors.

Recommendations address the identification of groups of children at risk, effective instruction for the preschool and early grades, effective approaches to dialects and bilingualism, the importance of these findings for the professional development of teachers, and gaps that remain in our understanding of how children learn to read. Implications for parents, teachers, schools, communities, the media, and government at all levels are discussed.

The book examines the epidemiology of reading problems and introduces the concepts used by experts in the field. In a clear and readable narrative, word identification, comprehension, and other processes in normal reading development are discussed.

Against the background of normal progress, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children examines factors that put children at risk of poor reading. It explores in detail how literacy can be fostered from birth through kindergarten and the primary grades, including evaluation of philosophies, systems, and materials commonly used to teach reading.


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The Importance of Reading Essay in 100, 150, 200 & 500 Words

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By Vijay Gupta

Updated on: April 28, 2023

The importance of reading essay

Today, I’m going to write the importance of reading essay in 100, 150, 200 & 500 words. That means if you’re looking for an essay on the importance of reading, you have come to the right place.

Firstly, I’ll write the essay with headings so that you can write it comprehensively. After that, you will get to see the essay in 100, 150, and 200 words.

Hence without wasting your valuable time, let’s start writing the importance of reading essay.

See the short essay on my ambition of life .

Table of Contents

The Importance of Reading Essay with Headings in 500 Words

1. introduction.

Reading is the best practice whether it’s about reading a book or anything else. You get benefits in both situations.

Reading not only improves your thoughts but also develops your perspectives.

By reading, people’s mind moves towards positivity and serious thoughts. It actually changes the way you see the world. Reading keeps your mind more active than others. It also gives you knowledge about many things.

Reading anything is helpful. When you start taking interest in reading, your creative ability starts developing.

It prompts you to focus on the right path instead of choosing the wrong path. Overall, you can’t get such pleasure as you get in reading.

That’s why reading is very important in people’s life.

See also the essay on newspaper .

2. The Importance of reading

The importance of reading is as much as eating for living, that’s why its importance cannot be neglected.

When a child goes to school, he starts learning things related to his life. There, he tries to learn all the things that can enhance his understanding. At the same time, he tries to be creative. That is, the mind of the child starts developing by reading.

Overall, reading not only instills self-confidence in a person but also benefits him in many ways such as increasing knowledge, developing communication skills, reducing stress, etc.

Whenever a person gets into the habit of reading, he brings concentration to his studies. Reading more about a particular subject makes you more considerate and wiser than others. As a result, you’re able to explain right and wrong to anyone.

3. Changes after you start reading

When you start reading more, it starts changing your behavior, body language, perspectives, etc. You try to go deeper into what you read and start questioning. Overall, your perspective begins to change compared to others.

Reading makes you very strong not only creatively but also imaginatively. Also, it makes you mentally strong.

The more active you are in reading, the quicker you will be able to think things.

By reading more, you are able to do even the most difficult tasks very easily and patiently. It gives you such strength and confidence that you cannot get from anywhere else.

Reading initiates a vertical change in you that you cannot imagine.

4. Conclusion

If you have the habit of reading, surely you will have better knowledge than others, so if you don’t have the habit of reading, you should include it in your daily routine whether it is about reading books or anything else.

Reading for 30 and 35 minutes a day can take you to a higher level. So, I suggest you read whatever you love to read on a daily basis. It will always give you the advantage whether it is a matter of success or a bright future.

Reading books or other things will make you more relaxed than spending your free time.

Also, read the essay on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan .

The Importance of Reading Essay 200 Words

Reading is such a habit that can make anyone socially and mentally strong. It not only gives knowledge but also inspires us to uncover good thoughts.

Not all but there are still some people who like to read. When you get used to reading, your mind becomes sharper and more active than others.

Good reading always benefits you. Whatever you read gets set in your mind and when you remember it, you get many more new ideas.

Reading is also a kind of brain exercise that strengthens your mind.

While studying, you forget your past and future and always remain in the present. Also, it makes your memory better than others.

When someone gets inclined towards reading, he starts thinking in a new direction with a new beginning. At the same time, self-confidence starts growing inside and creativity starts improving.

Reading books or anything else is such an investment the benefit of which you get to see in the future. That’s why you all should include the habit of reading in you so that you can build a good society by spreading positive thoughts.

Read also, essay on social media addiction .

The Importance of Reading Essay 150 Words

Reading is so important in one’s life that without it one cannot gain knowledge. It increases stability, intelligence, and positivity in people’s minds.

Reading has been considered a good practice not from today but from the olden times. Today’s educated and employed people are good examples of this.

All of them have reached this point by reading books and proved how important reading is in our life. By reading books, people can easily utilize their time, avoid negative thoughts, achieve the goals set by them, etc.

Additionally, reading can easily raise the status of living. Actually, it brings changes in your language, style, attitude, vocabulary, etc. So, whenever you feel stressed or bored, you can read whatever you like.

As reading good books enhances knowledge, similarly reading newspapers and novels open your mind. Additionally, you get a vivid view of the surroundings.

By reading, your mind becomes calm and in one direction, due to which your concentration increases and you become smarter than others.

The Importance of Reading Short Essay 100 Words

A few people have the habit of reading. Those who have, understand its importance very well. The habit of reading is considered one of the good habits because by reading well you not only get knowledge but also get new vocabulary.

There can be many reasons for reading, but the main reason is to fill yourself with knowledge. You cannot get deep knowledge from anywhere except books.

It’s believed that the people who are fond of reading, their working style, intellectual ability, and creative ability are completely different from common people.

That’s why reading is very important. It’s really a very good way to de-stress yourself.

Final words

Eventually, I hope that the article must have proved to be very helpful for you. Now, you will have no problem writing the importance of reading essay.

If you really liked this article, please share it with those who need it.

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Vijay Gupta

Hello everyone, My name is Vijay Gupta and I belong to a very small town that is situated in district Hardoi, which is in Uttar Pradesh. 1. Education – I’ve completed my primary education from a private school that is situated in my hometown and upper primary, matric and higher secondary education have been completed from a government college. Well, I was an average student till class 5th, but I accelerated my preference towards studies from class six. Consequently, I passed out many classes with good positions. Even I passed out 12th with good marks ( 405/500 ) and topped my college. Due to getting good marks, I got a cheque of 500 rupees and was rewarded by the Principal of my college. After completing my 12th, I prepared twice for IIT ( Indian Institute of Technology ) from Aakash institute, but unfortunately, I failed to get selected into the best IIT colleges. But during the preparation, I was being graduated from CSJMU Kanpur. I completed my graduation in 2016 and now I’m pursuing an educational degree ( B.Ed. ). 2. Profession – Although I love teaching, but I also do blogging. Both are my favorite jobs.

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