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Ten Prompts
For Student Writing

Subjects: Arts & Humanities: Language Arts
Grades: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12


Brief Description

Motivate students' writing with ten writing prompts.





Students practice writing skills as they respond to a writing prompt.




writing, prompt, journal, imagination, essay, test, story starter


Materials Needed




More Writing
Lesson Ideas

Have you seen Education World's Writing Bug printable series? This series includes more than 100 work sheets. Each printable page includes a story starter for motivating student writing and questions to get students' writing juices flowing. Click here to find the Writing Bug story-starter printables.

Lesson Plan

Teachers are always 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.

  1. Sometimes people do things over and over again before they are successful. Dr. Seuss, for example, sent his first book to 27 publishers before it was accepted. Write about how you -- or someone you know -- succeeded because you or that person kept trying.
  2. If you were asked to select an item to place in a time capsule, what would it be? Choose an item that exemplifies the culture of the early part of the 21st century. Explain the item's use and significance, and justify why your item should be included in the time capsule.
  3. You have awakened as an inanimate object. Write a letter telling a human friend what your new life is like.
  4. Are you an only child? the youngest child in your family? the oldest child? the third child of five? Explain the advantages and disadvantages of your position in the family.
  5. You are about to drive across the country. You can take one other person with you. Who would you take? Why would you take that person?
  6. Diarist Anais Nin once said, "To write is to taste life twice." What do you think she meant by that?
  7. Your little brother or sister is lost -- or you are so frustrated that you want to sell him or her! Write an ad to place in the paper that will help you locate -- or sell -- your sibling.
  8. You have just been chosen to be king or queen of a new country. Are you looking forward to your new role? What will be the best thing about being in that position? the worst thing?
  9. Everyone has a favorite color. Think about things that are your favorite color, and describe how they make you feel. For example, if you like the color blue, you might write: "Blue always makes me feel calm. It reminds me of the ocean. I could watch the ocean for hours. When I do, I always feel peaceful. I can almost hear the soothing sounds of the waves upon the beach when I look at the color blue." Now write a brief essay explaining what your favorite color is and telling why it is your favorite color. Remember to use specific details to support and explain your reasons. Use interesting adjectives and descriptions to make your essay interesting to read.
  10. Today is your birthday, and everybody in your family has forgotten about it. How do you feel? How can you hint to them that this is your important day without coming right out and telling them?




Students share their stories with their classmates and add their stories to their writing portfolios.


Lesson Plan Source


Education World (Some of the ideas above have been drawn from writing prompts on statewide tests; those prompts were published on state or local school district Web sites.)


Submitted By


Gary Hopkins


National Standards



Click here to return to the Writing lesson plan page.


Originally published 01/11/2002
Last updated 05/27/2008