Would an essay, which examines the reading habits and preferences of boys, intrigue you as a reader with these opening paragraphs?
Bauerlein and Stotsky introduce the following essay regarding the literary preferences among boys with these opening paragraphs,
"When the National Endowment for the Arts last summer  released 'Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America,' journalists and commentators were quick to seize on the findings as a troubling index of the state of literary culture. The survey showed a serious decline in both literary reading and book reading in general by adults of all ages, races, incomes, education levels and regions.
But in all the discussion, one of the more worrisome trends went largely unnoticed. From 1992 to 2002, the gender gap in reading by young adults widened considerably. In overall book reading, young women slipped from 63 percent to 59 percent, while young men plummeted from 55 percent to 43 percent."
Yes, these opening paragraphs would intrigue me, but I suspect that that is because of my interest in this sort of topic and not because the writing is particularly exciting or intriguing.
The writing is certainly more than competent. The first paragraph does a good job of building a sense of excitement using very active words ("quick to seize") and words that showed the importance of the topic ("troubling," "serious"). It also sets up a nice sense of anticipation as we wonder what the next paragraph will be about. The second paragraph picks up nicely with more words showing importance ("worrisome") and active words ("plummeted").
For me, however, the thing that is more intriguing is the substance of the essay. I would be very interested, as a teacher of social sciences, in differences in reading and other measures of education across sexes in our society. This sort of issue has been one of the reasons why some people (as in the article below) are interested in single sex education. I am always interested in this sort of topic.
Yes! The opening paragraph really did capture my attention. I always find things that challenges society's ideology. I also like these essays and studies for the fact that they bring awareness to a subject that is usually look over and perhaps might bring up solutions on how to help society become better.