The first few lines, paragraph, or even a first chapter of a novel should draw in the reader in and hook him or her into reading the book. Therefore, those sentences can be the hardest and most important sentences to write. The reader is looking for evidence that he or she is in the hands of a great author with a voice, a vision and a great story to tell that the reader will enjoy.
Depending on the time you have, you can start the lesson talking about opening lines/paragraphs. One fun example students are likely to be familiar with is the picture book Miss Nelson Has a Field Day by Harry Allard, which includes an example of a wonderful opening. The students will get the point with this example!
You can then play this PowerPoint game with the students and see how many they can guess correctly. (The PowerPoint slides will show the first line, then with a second click the title and author will appear). You could also print them out and put them on a bulletin board, or make it into a matching game (which lines go with which book).
Students can then go on a “First Line” Treasure Hunt in the library, searching for a book with great first line(s), and/or have them write their own first lines, which can be extended into a longer writing piece.