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Writing Prompt Topics

Kindergarten  

Opinion/Argument:

  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose an opinion piece in which you tell the reader the topic or the name of a book and state your opinion or preference about the topic or book. 

Example topic - 

  • My favorite book is & what is it about & why is it better than other books? 
  • Which kind of pet is best, a cat or a dog?
  • What is your favorite snack? Why is it better than other snacks?

Informative/Explanatory:

  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose an informative/explanatory text (writing) in which you name what you are writing about and supply some information about the topic.  

Example topic - 

  • What can you do to save water?   
  • Tell about an interesting animal. Where does it live? What does it eat? What does it look like?
  • What is rain? What does it look like? Have you ever been in a rainstorm? How do people act in a rainstorm?

 Narrative:

  • Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.  

Example topics -

  • What makes me laugh? I laugh when...I laugh because...Laughing makes me feel...
  • Write about a helpful person, who is the person, how & when does the person help you. 
  • Kitty the cat is stuck on the roof. How will you get her down? With pictures & words tell what happens next.

Grade 1

Opinion/Argument:

  • Introduce a topic or name a book, state your opinion about it, supply a reason for your  opinion, and provide some sense of closure. 

Example topic- 

  • My Favorite book is & tell what it is about & why it is better than others
  • Which kind of pet is best, a cat or a dog? 
  • Would you rather be a bird or a fish? I would rather be...I choose this because...I also choose this because...

Informative/Explanatory:

  • Write about a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.  

Example topic- 

  • What can you do to save water?  
  • Tell about an interesting animal. Where does it live, what does it look like, what does it eat?
  • What is your favorite food? When do you eat it? Why do you like it?

Narrative:

  • Recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details about what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.  
Example topics -
  • Who is your best friend? What do you do together? 
  • A magic genie has come to your home. You may ask him three wishes. He will give you what you ask for, my first with is, my second wish is, my third wish is...
  • Pretend you found a treasure chest full of gold. What would you buy first, next, and with the rest of it?

Grade 2 

Opinion/Argument:

  • Introduce a topic or name a book, state your opinion about it, supply a reason for your opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect your opinion and reasons, and provide some sense of closure.  
Example topic- 
  • My Favorite book is & what is the book about, why is it better than other books.
  • Which kind of pet is best, a cat or a dog? 
  • Which is better, a big sister or a litter sister? Or, which is better, a big brother or a little brother? 

Informative/ Explanatory:

  • Write about a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section. 
Example topics- 
  • What can you do to save water?   
  • Think of something that is green. Where do we use it? What is it like? Is it used for something?
  • Tell about an interesting animal. Where does it live? What does it look like? What does it eat?

Narrative:

  • Recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure. You can write about real or imagined events.
Example topics -
  • You have received a very mysterious package from a friend. Inside is a very unusual egg. Write a story about what happens next. What does the egg look like? does it hatch? What is inside?  
  • This Thanksgiving I am thankful for...tell about 4 things you are thankful for...  
  • Willie the wolf pup went exploring and got lost. Now it is getting dark in the forest. How will Willie the pup wolf get back to his mother and the pack.  Write a story about what happens next. Is Willie's mother looking for him? Does he find his pack? 

Grade 3

Opinion/Argument:

  • Introduce your topic or text, state your opinion, & create an organizational structure and provide reasons that support your opinion. Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, thereafter, since, for example). Provide a concluding statement or section.  
Example topic- 
  • My favorite book is & what is the book about? Why is it better than other books? 
  • Which kind of pet is best, a cat or a dog?
  • What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon? Why is it your favorite? Why is it better than other activities?

Informative/Explanatory:

  • Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension, develop your topic with facts, definitions, and details, using linking words and phrases (e.g., also, another, and, more, but) to connect ideas within categories of information, and provide a concluding statement or section.  
Example topic - 
  • What can you do to save water?   
  • Write about your state. What are some interesting facts about it?
  • Write about your hometown. How big is it? What are some interesting facts about it? What is the weather like?  

Narrative:

  • Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally; use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations; use temporal words and phrases to signal event order; and provide a sense of closure.  

Example Topics -

  • Tell a story about a time you went to a restaurant. Who were you with? What did you eat? Why did you go to the restaurant? Was it good?
  • Tell about a special day you had. What did you do? Was anyone with you? Why was it special?
  • Mrs. Carrie Cow and her calf Caroline have gone to the grocery store. Caroline wants a can of goat cheese, but Mrs. Cow is in a hurry. Tell what happens next. Will Caroline get her cheese?
 

Grades 4-5

 

Narrative Prompts

1.    You and a group of students from school are on a school bus.  Your teacher tells you that you can take the bus and the students anywhere you want to go. Where would you choose to go? Write a story for your teacher about where you go and the journey that you take.  Describe what you see, where you stop, and what part of the trip the students enjoy the most.

 

2.    When we learn about life long ago, it seems very different, but some things were just the same.  Just like us today, people had to live somewhere, find food, work, and play.  Pretend you are sailing with Christopher Columbus, living with the Pilgrims, or living in an indigenous village.  Write a short story about a day in your life.  Be sure to talk about the work, clothes, games, and festivals in your life.

 

3.    Imagine that a major storm is in your area, and all school and work is canceled for the day. You and your family now have a chance to spend the day together at home. What are some fun activities you would do to make this day special?

In a well-developed essay, describe the activities that you would do with your family on a day that you have off from school and work because of a major storm.  Include examples and details to support your description.

 

4.    Everyone has done something to help another person.  Think about a time when you did something that helped someone else.  Now write a story about a time when you did something that helped someone else.

 

5.    While out exploring the woods one day, you hear the clouds start to rumble and small drops of rain begin to fall. As you turn to return home, you hear a twig snap in the woods behind you. When you turn around, you see nothing, but you get the feeling that you are being followed. Write a story in which you describe what happens as you return home. You might consider adding people, creatures, or a surprise ending to help make your story more interesting. Be sure to use details to help readers imagine what is happening in your story.

 

Informative/Explanatory Prompts

1.    Everyone has made a clumsy mistake in the past such as falling down at the worst possible time or spilling something on a favorite shirt. Have you ever made a clumsy mistake? How did everyone around you react? Were people involved embarrassed, or did everyone have a good laugh? In a detailed essay, write about a time when you did something clumsy.

 

2.    Think of a person whom you look up to and admire.  What do you admire about this person?  How has this person had an influence on you? Explain why you chose this person, what qualities you admire in this person, and explain how this person has influenced you.

 

3.    Create a new animal that could live in one of the regions of your state. Your animal must have physical and behavioral characteristics that will allow it to survive in the region's environment. In a multi-paragraph essay, describe a new animal and the characteristics that allow it to survive in one of your state's regions. Include details that will enable the reader to picture and understand your animal.  

 

4.    Almost everyone has had to deal with a situation involving a bully.  School districts, teachers, and parents have become more aware of the amount of bullying that occurs and the effect it has on students.  What are different ways that a bullying situation can be handled?  When do parents and teachers need to get involved? In a well-developed essay, discuss different ways that bullying situations at school can be handled.  Include facts, details, and examples to support your discussion.

 

5.    Imagine that you are hosting a large Halloween party and have invited all of your friends to the party. What costume would you choose to wear, and what would you like to see your friends and family dressed as? In a detailed essay, discuss the Halloween costumes at your party.

 

Persuasive/Argumentative Prompts

1.    Your pen pal writes to you and asks if you can suggest a good book to read for a report he or she has to give to the class. Before you begin to write, think about what you liked best about the book. Did it have exciting adventures? What was most memorable about the characters and the setting? Remember to write about the reasons your pen pal should choose this book to read.  Do not just retell the story.

 

2.    Imagine that a major toy company has just announced that they will take one school student's toy design and actually manufacture and sell it. The rules of the contest are that you must create a sketch of the toy and write a detailed essay stating why the company should use your idea. In a well-written letter, persuade a toy company to develop your toy idea.  Include reasons to support your argument.

 

3.    Both boys and girls play sports at school. Some students feel that boys and girls should play on the same team, while other students feel it is better for boys and girls to be on different teams. Do you think it is a good idea to have boys and girls on the same team or do you think that boys and girls should play on different teams? Write an essay that convinces your school principal that girls and boys should or should not play on the same team.

 

4.    Your local television network has just announced plans to take your favorite television show off the air.  Write a persuasive letter to the network and state why your show should be kept on the air. Be sure to discuss what makes your show special for you and everyone else.

 

5.    Some schools in South Korea are using robots as teachers. Would you want to have a robot for a teacher? What might be some advantages to having a robot for a teacher? What might be some disadvantages? In a detailed essay, defend your position on the use of robots as teachers. Include facts, details, and examples to support your position.

 

Grades 6-8

 

Narrative Prompts

1.    Imagine you have been studying for weeks for a very important science test.  On the day of the exam, your best friend comes to you and tells you that he or she did not have time to study for the test.  To your surprise, your friend asks you if he or she can copy your answers during the test. How would you respond to your friend's request?  How might this affect your friendship?  Write a story about how you would respond to your friend's request and what happens the day of the big test.

 

2.    Responding with kindness rather than punishment when someone tries to hurt you can bring about good results. Think about how an act of kindness can bring about good results and write a narrative about a time when you responded to someone who hurt your feelings with an act of kindness rather than punishment. If no such situation has ever happened to you, create a similar situation in which someone responded to a hurtful situation with an act of kindness rather than punishment.

 

3.    Most people find animals interesting. Imagine you could be your favorite animal for a day. Write a story about what you would do if you were that animal for a day.

 

4.    You wake up one morning, and you discover that you have a new and incredible talent. Write a story about the day you discover that you have a new and incredible talent.

 

5.    Imagine you have found a time machine that can magically transport you to any place in time. Write a story about your adventures in the time machine.

 

Informatory/Explanatory Prompts

1.    Most of us have had to be courageous at some point in our lives to accomplish a goal or overcome an obstacle.  Write a multi-paragraph essay about a time that you showed courage. Use details and examples to explain what problem you had to overcome or what obstacle you faced and how you showed courage in dealing with the situation.

 

2.    We often learn valuable lessons from wise and trusted individuals in our lives. These individuals are considered to be mentors, because they support or influence us in a special way. Think of someone you have had, or whom you may like to have, as a mentor in your life. Explain the qualities this person has, or lessons he/she could share, that would influence your life in a positive way.

 

3.    Throughout our history, there have been many admirable women who have had an important impact on our lives.  Whether they were great leaders, writers, or individuals who broke new ground and gender barriers, the roles of many women throughout history are to be admired.  What woman in history do you admire most?  What did she contribute to the world or accomplish in her life that earned your admiration? In a detailed essay, write about a famous woman in history that you admire.  Include facts and details about her life to support your choice.  

 

4.    Artists often help to criticize, analyze, and inspire our society and our lives.  They help us better understand the realities of the world.  Select an artist (musician, painter, dancer, etc.) that you admire and think about the messages communicated through her/his work.  What are his/her best accomplishments?  How does he/she inspire you to be creative? Write a multi-paragraph essay discussing an artist and the reasons you admire his/her work.  Include facts and details to support your discussion.

 

5.    Our solar system is home to a diverse collection of planets, including Jupiter the gas giant, dusty red Mars, and our life-abundant planet Earth.  Many factors, such as atmosphere, gravity, and the surrounding moons, make every planet in our galaxy unique in its own way.  If you had an opportunity to discover a planet of your own, what are some of the characteristics you would like to find on this new planet? In a detailed essay, describe the combination of characteristics of those commonly found in our solar system that would make your planet unique.  

 

Persuasive/Argumentative Prompts

1.    Many professional athletes and entertainers earn large sums of money. Do you agree or disagree with these individuals making high salaries? Use specific details and examples to convince others to support your position.

 

2.    How were the American patriots able to claim victory over England in the Revolutionary War? Write a multi-paragraph essay in which you analyze the war and defend your reasons for the colonists' victory. Be sure to cite reliable sources to support your argument.  

 

3.    Over the past decade, access to technology has flourished. As a result, popular personal electronic tablet devices are now seen as useful educational tools. In a multi-paragraph argumentative essay, construct a response that states and supports your position on schools purchasing an electronic tablet device for each student to use in the classroom and at home.

 

4.    Many citizens believe that America's animal cruelty laws are not tough enough and that people who participate in illegal animal fighting or other forms of animal abuse should be treated in the same manner as those who abuse humans.  Do you believe that the consequences for severe animal abuse should be the same as for human abuse? In a well-developed essay, articulate your position on this issue. Be sure to provide specific reasons and examples to support your argument.

 

5.    Every year, many schools close for winter break.  With the changing of the seasons comes the need for a change of pace.  During this period of time, many families choose to get away for a little rest and relaxation before the onset of school-related activities. Write a letter to your parents persuading them of the many ways a winter getaway would be beneficial to your family. Be sure to describe the ideal location for this getaway and what kinds of activities you could participate in during the break.  Be sure to use specific details to support your ideas.

 

Grades 9-12

 

Narrative Prompts

1.    When you want to listen to music, you turn on the radio or your MP3 player, or take out one of your favorite CDs.  Many times, listening to a particular song can bring back memories of a particular time, event, or person in your life.  When you hear your favorite songs, what do you think of? Write a story about the memories which one or more favorite songs bring to mind.  

 

2.    Most of us have strong memories of the first time we experienced an athletic challenge. Write about your first attempt participating in any athletic activity.  The activity may be one that looked easy but turned out to be a real challenge, or it might be one that came quite naturally to you.  As you write, try to picture the time, place, people involved, and how you felt.  Describe the experience in as much detail as possible. Be sure to tell why this experience was important to you and how it impacted your life.

 

3.    If you could spend one day with a historical person or a fictional character, who would it be?  What would you do during your day together? Where would you go? What would you talk about? Write a narrative essay describing where you and this person would go and what you and this person would do.  Be sure to use details and evidence supporting your ideas.

 

4.    Write an essay about someone who influenced you in a positive way.

 

5.    In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich. - Henry Ward Beecher   Some people think that sacrificing something important for the well-being of another is one of the strongest virtues a person can possess.  By sacrificing, we learn much about ourselves and those around us. Write a personal narrative in which you describe a time you had to sacrifice something important for someone else.  What did you sacrifice?  What made this action so special, and what lessons did you learn?  Be sure to include specific details to support your narrative.

 

Informative/Explanatory Prompts

1.    The State of the Union is an annual message that the President of the United States addresses to Congress, which is publicly viewed on television by millions of people.  It is emulated from the Speech from the Throne in the United Kingdom, which is given by the ruling monarch. According to the Constitution, the President "shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient" (Article II, Section 3).  It is used to discuss the accomplishments fulfilled in the previous year and to delineate the President's legislative plan for the upcoming year.  The speech frequently includes important matters such as economic health, national security, the housing industry, healthcare, and education. Writing a well-developed essay as the President of the United States, discuss how you would plan and implement legislation on one of the topics mentioned above to benefit our country in the coming year.

 

2.    We often fail to realize that the choices we make about our health can be unhealthy ones. Lifestyle choices affect our long-term health as well as our risk for disease. Imagine that you could change things about your lifestyle that would make you healthier.  Describe what these changes would be and how they would benefit you and make our society a healthier one.

 

3.    By the time students enter high school, they have learned about many moments in history that have influenced our world today. Think about a moment in history you studied and consider its importance. Write a composition in which you discuss a moment in history. Share its importance in today's world. Be sure to support the moment with details and examples.

 

4.    Imagine that your friend has come to you asking for your help in getting a job at your place of employment. While you know that your friend is not a hard worker and you don't want his/her poor performance on the job to reflect on you, you also don't want to let your friend down because you know he/she needs the money. In a multi-paragraph essay, describe how you would handle this dilemma. Would you recommend your friend for a job, even though you know he or she would not be a good employee?  Be sure to include specific details and examples to support your decision.

 

5.    Character traits in fictional or real people may have positive or negative effects on the people around them. Select a person, real or fictional, who possesses character traits that influence others in a positive or negative way.  Write an essay in which you describe this person's character traits and provide examples of how these traits affect other people.

 

Persuasive/Argumentative Prompts

1.    You are trying to decide whether to take an after-school job during the school year. The money would be helpful, but you would have to give up something else to find time to work. Write a letter to your parent(s) persuading them that you should or should not get a job during high school.

 

2.    Electricity is necessary for the operation of everyday electronic devices such as televisions, computers, microwaves and refrigerators.  Suppose there were a global force that stopped the flow of electrons.  Convince the public what energy sources you would set up and use in your home to help you survive and why.  Include your own ideas, insights, and understanding of the problem.

 

3.    Some people say that most teenagers are careless and do not think about the consequences of their actions. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Take a position on this question. Use reasons and specific examples to support your opinion.

 

4.    With advancements in technology, some students have chosen to complete their schoolwork through the Internet, rather than in traditional classrooms.  Those who support a traditional classroom approach to learning argue that it provides more of an opportunity for students to interact with the teacher and other students.  Those who feel that learning over the Internet is better argue that it allows students to learn anytime and anywhere they choose. Do you feel education is better provided in traditional classrooms or when offered over the Internet?  Write an essay to be read by a classroom teacher in which you persuade the reader that either traditional classroom education or Internet-based learning is better.

 

5.     "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world."  --Anne Frank   While society is currently undergoing many rapid changes, people disagree about their direction. Has the world, in fact, changed for the better or worse? Write a multi-paragraph essay supporting your position on this issue. Be sure to include specific details and examples from your own experiences or readings.