Starting a student essay with a question can be a good idea, but some questions are better than others

What kinds of questions should you NOT use to start an essay?

• Questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no” are usually bad questions. Do you have any reason to continue reading when you read these questions?
–Have you ever played basketball?
–Do you really want a dog?
–Would you like to hear about my trip to the beach?

• Questions which ask about information that only a few people might be interested in are bad questions.
–How often do hockey players need to sharpen their skates?
–Have you ever wondered about all those African sculptures in the Atlanta airport?
–Have you eaten on top of the Eifel Tower?

• Questions about a student’s family or people most readers don’t know are not interesting. –How can Samanyu always beat me at Monopoly?
–Is your sister annoying, like mine is?
–So Mom and Dad, did you remember that my birthday is coming up?

• Questions about things everybody knows about are boring questions.
–Do you want to know about our teacher, Mrs. Storm?
–Do you know why we have fire drills?
–How do you get an A on a math test?

What kinds of questions should you use to start an essay?

• Funny questions make readers want to keep reading.
–Do you really want a bad-breath, farting, slobbering, snoring pet like a dog?
–What would you do if you were digging a sand castle at the beach, when a crab scooted right in the moat?

• Questions which promise adventure or mystery attract readers.
–Wouldn’t it be fun to drive cars on two wheels, spin them around and smash them into buildings like my uncle does?
–So there we were, lost in a maze, when my sister said, “Go left!” and my brother said, “Go right!” They were both right. Do you know why?

• Questions which make a person think can be good questions.
–If you could have superpowers, would you want to be invisible or to fly?
–What is the fastest running animal in the world? How about the fastest flying? And the fastest swimming?

• Questions which ask about a situation which many readers might have been in can make a reader want to continue. For example,
–What would you do if your neighborhood swim team lost every meet and the kids wanted to switch teams?
–Have you ever wanted to tattle on a bully on the school bus but you were afraid to?

In general, questions which make a reader think are good questions, while questions which can be answered with one word are bad questions.

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