- Is it inviting? Is there a voice? Is it lively? Will it engage a reader's


- Is it clear? Does the reader immediately understand what specific

issue or problem you're going to explore in the essay?

_Is it true? Are all your statements factual, accurate, and generally the

case, so the rest of your essay can be believable to a reader? .

- Is it focused? Does it point the direction in which the rest of the essay

is headed? .

_Is there an attitude? Does it sound like you, speaking with conviction

about your opinion on the issue? .

- Is there a clearly implied audience? Do you have a target audience in

mind? Who are you talking to and trying to convince?

- Is it long and developed enough? Is there enough meat here to

establish what the problem is and where the essay is going?

- Is it packed with information? Have you provided sufficient context,

background, evidence, concrete examples, quotes, statistics,

information of some kind, to make a reader want to continue reading?

- Is it honest and unexaggerated? Can the rest of your essay deliver on

what the lead is promising?

- Is the language clear and strong? Are the words you've chosen and the

sentences you've structured straightforward, easy, and inviting? Are

the verbs strong?


* Adapted from Write to Learn by Donald M. Murray (1999) Fort Worth, TX:

Holt, Rinehart, and Winston


@ 2002 by Nancy Atwell from

Lessons That Change Writers

(Portsmouth. NH Heinemann)