Writing is fun! But tell anyone to sit down and write without any further prompting and they’re sure to stare blankly at the page or screen. (And that’s no fun at all.) That’s why we created these imagination-driven writing prompts to help kids in kindergarten through 8th grade get some writing practice with just enough preamble to help them get an idea and run with it.
Kindergarten writing prompts
Kindergarten writing should be fun! The important thing is for kids to enjoy learning to express their thoughts and ideas in writing. At this age, drawing and dictating sentences to an adult count as writing. The more positive experiences kids have with writing now, the more eager they’ll be to build on those skills later. Keep writing practice sessions short (no more than 15 minutes) and low-pressure, and feel free to improvise with these prompts according to your child’s interests.
1st grade writing prompts
Kids have a big range of writing skills by the end of first grade. Sentences become more sophisticated as they learn to use conjunctions (such as but, so, and, or, because) to connect thoughts. How do you help kids become better writers? Help them enjoy it! Writing at this age should be fun. Keep sessions playful, low pressure, and no more than 15 minutes long. Don’t correct their spelling mistakes or grammar. Instead, ask questions and be enthusiastic. Writing should be a positive experience, not a chore or something they get “wrong.”
2nd grade writing prompts
Second graders are becoming more skilled at the three kinds of writing they’ve been learning about since kindergarten: opinion, informative, and narrative writing. By the end of the year, they should feel comfortable introducing a topic or opinion clearly, using facts and other information — such as definitions — to write a few clear, well thought-out points about the topic, and then writing one or more sentences in conclusion. If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry. At this age, it’s far more important to keep the experience positive than it is to police their sentences. Focus on getting your child excited about expressing their wonderful ideas, opinions, and knowledge on paper.
3rd grade writing prompts
Third graders can use more sophisticated vocabulary and grammar in their writing. They have also been learning to incorporate research from books and websites. When practicing writing, remember that above all, it should be a positive experience. Drilling or correcting kids at this age can turn them off writing. So keep things light and emphasize the fun, quirky, or imaginative aspects of writing that will appeal most to children.
4th grade writing prompts
Writing becomes more complex in fourth grade as kids incorporate more sophisticated grammar and descriptive vocabulary into their storytelling, informative writing, and opinion writing. Writing, especially the rough-draft stage, should be fun and focused on expressing ideas and thoughts. When kids revise and refine a formal assignment, you can be more exacting about getting the spelling and grammar just right. But writing practice should be fun. The more kids enjoy the process, the more they’ll want to keep writing — and that’s what will make them better writers!
5th grade writing prompts
Fifth graders have gotten used to thinking of writing as a process that requires research, feedback, and revision. Being able to summarize and paraphrase information is a key skill. So is being able to express an opinion logically, with reasons to support it. Keep writing practice fun by participating in creative brainstorming and encouraging your child to reflect before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
6th grade writing prompts
Sixth grade writing represents a bit of a jump from what’s expected from elementary schoolers. Sixth graders are expected to be able to draw on lots of different writing skills. This includes introducing arguments and supporting their claims with well-organized evidence drawn from credible sources. It also includes using strategies such as dialogue, pacing, description, compare/contrast, and cause/effect. On top of it all, they’re expected to write in a formal style and use visual skills, such as headings, graphics, and media to support the reader’s understanding. If all of this seems a little overwhelming, there’s one thing that changes to make it all possible: sixth graders are increasingly asked to work on their writing over time. Kids learn that planning, drafting, editing, and rewriting, even talking about their work are all important steps in writing. Help kids learn this by emphasizing that writing is a multi-step process – and that when you break it down into these different stages, it’s less overwhelming and more fun.
7th grade writing prompts
In seventh grade, writing references lots of other writing. Seventh graders have been practicing searching for evidence (facts or details from a text they’ve read that support an idea) and drawing conclusions about fiction and nonfiction they’ve read. They’re learning to compare different texts or different versions of the same story. They’re also learning to appreciate the differences between words with near-identical definitions, such as delicate, fragile, vulnerable, and flimsy. It all adds up to more complex writing. That said, writing practice should still be low-key and focus on the process rather than the product. The reason? Criticism can make adolescents reluctant to expose their ideas and reluctant to write — both of which are avoidable. Remember, more time spent writing now means more skill in the future.
8th grade writing prompts
Eighth graders have probably been exposed to persuasive or argument essay writing, in which they make a research-backed argument for a position they’ve chosen, argue against opposing claims, and end with a persuasive conclusion that summarizes their viewpoint. They’ve also practiced writing narratives or stories that describe events in their lives or imagined scenarios. But writing at this age is far more than school work. Writing is one way teens forge their identities, especially as they write opinion papers based on factual evidence or personal essays about their experiences. Be careful if you critique their writing. Criticism can make adolescents reluctant to expose their ideas and reluctant to write — both of which are far worse than a few errors. Keep the tone positive and curious and you’ll be amazed at what young minds can do!