Search form

Writer's Block

Build literacy skills with this fun role play activity! Students read a play script and answer key questions with followup activities


Grade Level: 3-6

Story Preview: When his teacher assigns what seems like a simple writing exercise, John discovers hes out of ideas. Characters from his imagination -- a cowboy, a wicked queen, a longed-for pet, and others -- help him overcome "writer's block." In the end, readers realize that the script they've just read is John's play.

MaterialsPrintable Script Handout 

Writing Prompts

One effective way to encourage students to write, especially if they are unsure or suffering from "writer's block," is the writing prompt. Writing prompts are creative starters that get kids thinking and writing in a hurry. See the Education World introduction to Writing Prompts to learn more about them.

Roles: Narrator, John, Cowboy, Astronaut, Samson, Wicked Queen, and Mom

Setting: present day

Theme: creative writing


  • conflict: disagreement
  • frustration: disappointment or aggravation
  • buckaroo: cowboy
  • cowpoke: cowboy
  • destination: place one is going to
  • persuade: win over
  • betrayal: to mislead
  • hideous: ugly or horrible
  • villains: characters who act against the hero
  • fantasy: something imagined
  • banter: joking or clever chat

Props: none required

Follow-Up Questions:

  • What was Mr. Lern's assignment to the class?
  • What nursery rhyme is John talking about when he says one of his ideas has "been done"?
  • What characters speak to John?
  • Who is Samson? Why does John consider writing about him?
  • Who suggests that John write about real events?
  • What does John write about? Is it real or fantasy?

Follow-Up Activity:
Help students avoid the frustration of writer's block by having them generate a personal writing list. Ask them to write down at least ten topics they would like to explore through writing. They might consider family members, friends, vacations and trips, other memories, books or stories they've read, famous people they would like to meet, and so on. Encourage students to keep their lists in a journal or other safe place for future reference.

Additional Notes:
A few additional tips that can assist youngsters in overcoming writer's block are

  • Break down the assignment.
  • Discuss ideas with parents, teachers, and peers.
  • Write the assignment as a letter to a friend.
  • Jot down ideas on a personal writing list.
  • Respond to something read.
  • Use a writing prompt.

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
Copyright © 2007 Education World