Search form

Writing Prompts


Writing prompts are descriptions of situations designed to interest students in a topic and encourage them to write about it in a thoughtful and creative way. Imagine that you have been asked to create 10 writing prompts to use in your own classroom. What 10 prompts would be most likely to spark your students' imagination and creativity?

Are you looking for effective writing prompts like the one above? Do you want to create your own? Here's what you need to know:

Effective writing prompts include two basic components; a situation and directions. The situation presents the general topic students are to write about. The situation should be interesting to students and consistent with their experience and/or realm of imagination. The directions describe a specific task students must complete as they respond to the situation. Directions should be stated in a way that encourages students to share their knowledge and experience and inspires their thought and creativity.

Writing prompts can be narrative, expository, or persuasive. Narrative prompts describe a real or imaginary event and invite students to tell a story about it. Expository prompts ask students to provide information about a topic. Persuasive prompts present an opinion or viewpoint and require students to take a position and convince the reader to agree with it. Before writing your prompt, be sure to determine the purpose of the assignment, the goals of the writing, and the criteria you will use to assess the achievement of those goals, and then decide which type of prompt will achieve those goals best.

That's all there is to it! Simply:

  • Determine the purpose of the assignment, the goals of the writing, and the assessment criteria you will use.
  • Decide which type of prompt will meet those goals best.
  • Create a situation that interests students and is consistent with their experience and/or imagination.
  • Write directions that encourage students to share their knowledge and experience, and spark their creativity.

Or choose a prompt from one of the Education World articles below!

Learn More About Writing Prompts

Ten Prompts for Student Writing
Teachers always are on the lookout for story starters or writing prompts to use as student writing motivators. Following are ten such prompts. You can use a single prompt for each of ten classroom writing periods or give students all ten prompts at once and allow them to choose the one they want to respond to.

Journal Writing Every Day
One of the best things about daily journal writing is that it can take so many forms. Some teachers provide prompts to help students begin their writing. Education World talked with teachers who use daily journal writing in their classrooms. Included: Writing motivators that work from teachers who use them.

Writing Bugs
More than 50 printable work sheets offer writing prompts, tips for young writers, more. Topics designed to motivate student writing include "I Wish I Had a Million," "Lost in the Middle of Nowhere," "The Worst Invention Ever," "If I Could Be Any Person in History," "Postcard From Another Planet," more .

Language Arts Work Sheet Library
The language arts lessons in this section have been selected from the resources of Teacher Created Materials. Click a work sheet headline below for a complete teaching resource. The skill listed in parentheses next to the lesson headline indicates the primary skill addressed within that work sheet. Answer keys also are provided when necessary.

A Quotation a Day: Just What the Language Doctor Ordered!
Many teachers have discovered the power of famous quotations. Such quotations can be used to develop students' writing and critical thinking skills, including paraphrasing and using synonyms, supporting opinions in persuasive essays, and more. Included: "Why use quotations?" plus a quotation a day for 180 days of school.


Didn't find what you were looking for? Explore the Web sites below for more writing prompts.