Entries Tagged 'Writing & Journal Prompts' ↓

4 essay prompts high school students will love

Interest-grabbing essay prompts high school students will love {via In Our Write Minds}

DO your teens view writing as a dull, meaningless task? Are you always searching for essay prompts high school students will love? Then suggest one of the following interest-grabbing topics to help them brush up on composition skills!

1. The Artist’s Eye

Describe the artwork of your favorite painter or film studio. Discuss the color palette, subject matter, and style (abstract, realist, etc.).

2. Dream Budget

Imagine someone hands you $10,000 on the day of your high school graduation, with one condition: you must spend part of it immediately, save another part for at least twenty years, and give the rest away. Where will you shop, and how will you invest? Which charity, cause, or ministry will you support? Explain your choices.

3. Two Roads Diverged

Compare and contrast two careers that interest you. What aspects of the jobs appeal to you? How will your future look if you choose one of these two paths?

4. Green Light

In your opinion, what are the top three signs that a young adult is ready for a committed relationship leading to marriage? Do age, college degrees, or financial status predict successful relationships?

If you enjoyed these essay prompts, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays! Once a month, we feature topics especially suited for high schoolers.

Photo: Liana_Kyle, courtesy of Creative Commons.

5 First lines: Fun writing prompts that spark enthusiasm

5 First lines: Fun writing prompts that spark enthusiasm! The prompt provides the first line of each paragraph, and a child’s imagination will fill in the rest! {In Our Write Minds}

LET your children try these fun writing prompts, and see how far their creativity takes them! We provide the first line of each paragraph, and a child’s imagination will fill in the rest.

1. Every Kid’s Dream House

When I build the perfect tree house, it will include four spectacular features.

2. Operation X-Ray Vision

Making a superhero costume from stuff around the house is actually quite easy.

3. It’s Classified

This book will self-destruct in fifteen minutes, so follow these directions carefully.

4. A Modest Proposal

Dear Mom & Dad: Here is my detailed plan to redecorate my bedroom.

5. D.I.Y. Fashion

With a jar of paperclips, beads, and mismatched buttons, you can transform any item of clothing.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: Wonderlane, courtesy of Creative Commons.


Journal prompts for horse-loving kids

journal prompts, horse, writing prompts, horseback riding

CLOSE your eyes, and step into a barn where feed, hay, and leather tack bathe your senses. Imagine your horse’s smooth coat and glistening eyes as the two of you come alive in an early morning ride. Now, capture a few of your thoughts and feelings with these horse-inspired journal prompts.

1. And the Winner is…

If you could spend one day as either a sleek Triple Crown race horse or fancy, high-stepping show horse, which would you choose and why?

2. Through Rain, or Snow, or Gloom of Night

From police to cowboys to stagecoach drivers, people from all walks of life have formed close bonds with their horses. Write about three ways horses have helped mankind throughout history.

3. Sitting Tall in the Saddle

Western style riding offers the security of a wide saddle, the casual feel of both reins in one hand, and the smooth gait of the Western jog. English style riders enjoy a lighter saddle, a lively trotting gait, and the option to compete in dressage events. Which style do you prefer? Explain your opinion.

4. A Perfect Partnership

Riders quickly learn that half-hearted signals won’t control their steeds. For successful horse and rider communication, you must be fully present and committed to following through with each signal. Write about a time when riding—or another outdoor activity—demanded you to give one-hundred percent. Describe the challenges you faced and the result you achieved.

5. One of a Kind

In personality, appearance, and skill, no two horses are alike. Breyer model horses capture this spirit with handcrafted sculptures, painted and finished by the finest artisans. Perhaps a Breyer model reminds you of a horse you hope to own someday. Maybe you’ve already had the good fortune to meet this special animal. Write about your dream horse and what makes it unique.

6. Little Things

Have you ever wondered about your horse’s strange behavior, and later discovered rocks stuck in a hoof? Write about an experience with your horse (or sibling or best friend) when you learned that small things in life make large difference.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: David, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Printable Writing Prompt ~ August

Have you ever walked through the paint aisle and read the color names on the paint chip samples? This month’s printable writing prompt pairs those creative color names with your imagination! Print, write, and share! We’d love to hear your story.

August Writing Prompt

Click the image above to download the prompt. If you would like to share this prompt with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file. Feel free to print this PDF file for your own personal use. Please do not sell or host these files anywhere else.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Book review writing prompts

book reviews, high school, writing prompts

NOT long ago, we looked to magazine writers and newspaper columnists for book reviews. Today, every online customer is a potential book reviewer. No matter what you’re reading, someone wants to know your opinion.

Ask your high schooler to choose one writing prompt for a one-paragraph book review. Or, combine several prompts for a longer critique. Don’t forget to post the polished review on Amazon, Facebook, or a personal blog!

1. As Clear as Crystal

Explain your opinion of the author’s writing style. Are his arguments clear? Are his directions confusing? In his fiction, does he balance internal character development and external action to keep the story moving? Overall, do the author’s word choice and sentence structure make you want to read more?

2. Like Flowers in Spring

Evaluate the fictional characters. Are their actions consistent with their strengths and weaknesses? Are their speaking habits believable? Provide some examples. Analyze the story’s ending: does it flow naturally from what you’ve learned about these characters?

3. As Old as Time

With hard work and imagination, an author can reveal her distinctive creativity within the limits of classic plot structure. Describe the originality–or the copycat features–of her fictional storyline.

4. As Good as Gold

A work of nonfiction, whether a biography or a cookbook, claims a certain amount of special knowledge. Considering how this book advertised itself in the title and table of contents, did the actual product meet your expectations? Was it accurate and well-researched? Did the facts outweigh the propaganda? Did you find extensive, organized information or only repetitious jargon?

5. Like Water in a Desert

We characterize an author as a harsh critic or a compassionate mentor depending on their tone. Did you find this author to be condemning or inspiring? Give examples. Since you have familiarized yourself with the author’s viewpoint, add a recommendation about which readers will find this book most appealing.

If you enjoyed these book review writing prompts, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays! Once a month, we feature topics especially suited for high schoolers.

Photo: Heart Internet, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Summer writing prompts

summer writing prompts, summer journal prompts

WRITING will be a breeze when your kids pick from our list of summer writing prompts. After they’ve captured the sights of the season on paper, don’t forget to share a cold drink or frozen treat!

1. Umbrellas and Ice Cream and Sunscreen (oh my!)

Write a story using at least four of the following words and phrases: beach umbrella, Sahara desert, ice cream stand, teacup, ice cube, lion, sunscreen.

2. Make a Splash

What could be better than a day at the lake? Write about three water sports or activities you would like to try on a lakeside vacation.

3. Cricket Lullaby

Do you lie awake on summer nights, listening to waves crash against the shore? Do you watch for fireflies through an open window, while breathing in the humid air? Make a word bank filled with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that remind you of summer nights.

4. Ripe, Plump & Juicy

Think of your favorite summer fruit. Is it a luscious peach, a succulent strawberry, or a massive melon? Write a list of instructions for preparing and eating this fruit, beginning with how to buy it. Do you drive to the store, walk to a fruit stand, or reach into the branches of a backyard tree?

5. Sky High Rides & Blue-Ribbon Pies

Describe the atmosphere of a county fair. Include the tastes of the fair food, the smells of the livestock, the sounds of the stage shows, and the feel of riding the Ferris wheel (or another favorite ride).

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: Will Ockenden, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Travel writing prompts

travel writing prompts, summer vacation writing prompts

WHETHER your kids prefer long road trips or weekend sleepovers, these travel writing prompts will fuel their excitement for more excursions. Three cheers for summer vacation!

1. Game On!

Think of a game you could play with your siblings in an airplane or in your family car. List the rules for this competition.

2. Pieces of Home

Many people–even adults–pack a favorite pillow or stuffed animal for any overnight trip away from home. Using your best adjectives, describe the special item that travels everywhere with you.

3. Room with a View

Would you rather spend your vacation in a tent, a motorhome, or a hotel? Explain your answer.

4. Say What?

Recall a time when you tried to interact with someone from another country. How would the scene have changed if you could understand and speak their language?

5. Remember When…

The perfect souvenir can remind us of a wonderful vacation for years to come. Use your five senses to describe the best souvenir you ever bought or received.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: Col Ford & Natasha de Vere, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Printable Writing Prompt for July

What do hot dogs, passports and sunglasses have in common? Your story! Use your imagination and craft a summer caper with the words included in the word bank. We would love to hear what you come up with!

July Printable Writing Prompt from WriteShop

Click the image above to download the prompt. If you would like to share this prompt with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file. Feel free to print this PDF file for your own personal use. Please do not sell or host these files anywhere else.

Here’s a link to June’s printable writing prompt, and be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

*If you are having trouble printing this file, try downloading it to your computer, opening it back up and then print it.

Travel Journal Ideas

travel journal ideas, travel journals, travel writing ideas

IF your family will take a vacation this summer, there’s no better time to start keeping a journal.

Perhaps you don’t keep a regular journal year-round, and the thought of blank space on the page overwhelms you and your kids. Never fear! Creating a written record of wonderful memories can not only be painless, but fun! Here are three great strategies to try with your 2013 travel journal:

1. Kaleidoscope Colors

When I was ten years old, I stepped into the rainbow world of Mexico City. In a swirl of memories, I can still picture my aunt crocheting a bright red shawl for my doll, Felicity. I remember reading my green clothbound copy of The Secret Garden as I sat on the grass in the front yard—a yard surrounded by flowers and guarded by a high gate. And I can see myself admiring the shiny, doll-sized copper pots in a shop filled with whimsical and mysterious souvenirs.

Looking back, I wish I had made more word pictures in my own travel journal. What color was the old-fashioned rotary phone in the hallway? What was the pattern of the patio tiles? I can still see the restoration team scraping the walls of an old convent, but what long-forgotten colors had they just uncovered from beneath the layers of paint?

Challenge your children to write a few lines each day in their travel journal about the colors that describe their trip:

  • The pink sunset over Pacific Ocean cliffs
  • The faded yellow motel billboard
  • The plush royal-blue furniture on the museum tour
  • The black seeds and rich orange flesh of a ripe papaya

2. Great Expectations

As I prepared to leave for college, I imagined what my new life would be like. I spent hours reading the campus guidebook, clicking around the website, and emailing alumni with my many questions. Yet none of my preparations could begin to compare with orientation week that August, when I explored the campus in person for the first time. It was then I learned that tour books are never quite the same as the real thing.

If you want to add a hint of drama to your travel journal, try the “I expected this, but found that” formula:

  • I expected our airplane to fly above the clouds, but we were actually low enough to count the lakes and trace the farmland.
  • I expected to be too excited to sleep, but I amazed myself by sleeping late the first three days.
  • I expected the Mona Lisa to be huge, but the painting was actually pretty small.

3. Dining with a Sense of Place

One of the best parts of vacation is trying new restaurants and foods! We may forget the fast-food joints on the side of the highway, but we cherish the meals on a moving train or in a great-aunt’s kitchen.

When I close my eyes, I can still see the grilled salmon awaiting us on my uncle’s patio table when my family arrived in Colorado. I remember feeling oh so grown up when my friends and I stopped at the ice cream parlor in Jonesville on our rural-Michigan road trip. I can taste the sweet, juicy melon half I savored after a long, hot walk through the streets of Manhattan.

To capture a memorable meal in your journal, try using these prompts:

  • Did you eat at an outdoor café, order from a food cart, or dine in an elegant restaurant?
  • What was the mood or atmosphere? Festive? Casual and relaxed? Formal and serious?
  • How did the food taste and smell?
  • How did the chairs (napkins, tablecloths) feel? What sounds did you hear from the street or the kitchen?
  • What did you notice about the wall hangings, centerpieces, and window coverings?
  • If you ate outdoors, what else was happening in the adjoining street or courtyard?

Well, I’m off to write in my journal. I wish you the best of vacations, and happy writing!

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy.

Photo: Tessa Pagdanganan, courtesy of Creative Commons.

4th of July journal prompts

Independence Day journal topics, patriotic writing prompts, 4th of July journal prompts

OH, say, can you write about Independence Day? Inspire family members young and old to ponder America’s founding with these 4th of July journal prompts.

1. Our Lives, Our Fortunes, & Our Sacred Honor

For more than a century, American colonists governed themselves according to conscience. Finally, in July 1776, fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Yet, they knew that freedom with self-government could cost their earthly fortunes and even their very lives. Write about a time when you were self-governed and followed your conscience, even though no one else told you the right thing to do.

2. The War for Independence: Eight Long Years

On December 19, 1777, George Washington and his Continental Army arrived at their winter camp site in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The discouraged army now faced a hard winter filled with disease and hunger. Imagine you are a patriot soldier at Valley Forge, with no shoes or blanket to call your own. Write about three reasons you will stay with General Washington instead of deserting the army.

3. No Tyrants Allowed

In 1787, the Framers of the Constitution of the United States instituted a wise system of government: Three branches of government–executive, legislative, and judicial–would ensure that powers remained divided, with a pattern of checks and balances. Compare and contrast a government of divided powers with a government of one absolute ruler.

4. Calling All Architects!

In 1792, Thomas Jefferson announced a design contest for the United States Capitol building. What would your entry have looked like? Draw your most impressive design for a Capitol building, and write a paragraph explaining the style and materials you have chosen.

5. You’re a Grand Old Flag

It’s 1837 and you live on a sprawling farm in the new state of Michigan. Write a letter to a friend and share your excitement over the new U.S. flag with a 26th star for Michigan. The flag will be official on July 4, 1837!

6. E Pluribus Unum

In 1873, an Act of Congress required the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One) to appear on all U.S. coins. Only eight years had passed since a devastating Civil War had ended with our nation still united as one. Today, as then, Americans have many differences but much in common. Write about two of these differences, and two things we all share.

7. Wings Like Eagles

The bald eagle has long been an emblem of the United States of America. The eagle can remind us of Isaiah 40:31, which says:

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Do you believe that nations and people who fear God and His laws will have new strength? Why or why not?

Hope you enjoy these 4th of July journal prompts. Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: Drew Myers, courtesy of Creative Commons.
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