Entries Tagged 'Writing & Journal Prompts' ↓

Narrative essay prompts

Build middle school writing skills with fun narrative essay prompts.

NARRATIVE essay prompts provide a launching place from which middle school students can engage in valuable writing opportunities. Immersed in the act of storytelling, young writers will learn to organize thoughts chronologically, include concrete details, and avoid rabbit trails. (Want to help your teens learn more about narrative writing? Our WriteShop I & II writing programs provide lessons you won’t want to miss!)

1. Special Delivery

Write an essay about the time an unexpected visitor came to your door. What changed in your family or your home because of this person?

2. Journey Home

Tell the story of a relative or ancestor who immigrated to the United States. Highlight a few of the challenges they faced while building a new life.

3. Reach for the Gold

With vivid, descriptive writing, relate the true story of an underdog who won a contest, earned a scholarship, or worked hard to become rich.

4. Planting Seeds

Write a narrative about one of the original settlers of your hometown. Why did this individual choose to settle there? What resulted from that choice?

5. Into Darkness

Write the story of a brave doctor, missionary, or relief worker who changed a community for the better. Can you foreshadow the ending with a detail from this person’s childhood or early life? 

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

Photo: Klearchos Kapoutsis, courtesy of Creative Commons

Writing prompts about unusual pets

Tap into kids' wild dreams about strange, exotic, and colorful pets!

EVERY child dreams of standing out from the crowd with a weird, colorful, or exotic pet. Tap into your kids’ wild dreams with these writing prompts about unusual pets.

1. Fuzzy Regulations

You just learned that pet llamas are forbidden within your city limits–outrageous! Write a letter to your city council explaining your opposition to this local law.

2. Reptile Style

With a tail three times his body length, your long-tailed grass lizard has spent months perfecting his talent for lasso tricks. Design a poster to advertise your pet’s amazing Western stunt show!

3. A Fine Feathered Canvas

Wilbur B. Williams, Esquire, hired the country’s premier portrait artist to paint the family pet–a most distinguished flamingo. In three sentences, reveal how the artist felt when he was first introduced to this bird. Include facial expressions, hand gestures, and dialogue.

4. Arthropod Heartthrobs

Today, Ivy Sherwood married a young man who keeps fifteen spiders as his cherished pets. Imagine Ivy’s personality, appearance, and hobbies. Describe her to someone who has never met her before.

5. Sea Life Soliloquy

Write a short, persuasive speech titled, “Why Jellyfish Make Excellent Pets.”

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

Photos: Peter Harrison (spider), Robert Claypool (flamingo), Sol Robayo (llama), and NBphotostream (jellyfish), courtesy of Creative Commons

Fun writing prompts about magical clothing

Fun writing prompts about magical hats, coats, shoes, and sunglasses will help your kids imagine wild adventures with surprising twists!

YOU’RE never too old to play dress-up (when magical costumes are involved, that is). Invite your kids to flex their creative writing muscles with these fun writing prompts about super-powered clothing.

1. Destination: Foreign Nation

You just discovered a one-of-a-kind hat that allows you to speak any foreign language. Plan a trip for you and your headgear. Where will you go, and why? Who will you meet, and what will you do together? How will the hat make your life easier, and how could it make your trip more complicated?

2. Target Sighted

No one hides from a spy who wears telescopic sunglasses. These cool shades allow Agent Y to see anything in broad daylight up to twenty miles away. Write a secret letter to Agent Y, persuading him (or her) to spy for your country.

3. Once Upon a Time

Slip into your magical overcoat, and you can travel backward or forward in time. Journal about your time-traveling adventure to a castle that was much more than it seemed . . .

4. Clear and Present Danger

Desperate for money, you are forced to sell your most prized possession—a wristwatch that sounds an alarm when the wearer is in danger. Write a description of this fantastic item for potential buyers on Ebay or Amazon. Include plenty of descriptive adjectives to grab the reader’s attention!

5. Footwear Frenzy

You just flew in to Washington D.C. for a formal dinner at the White House. As you unpack, you realize that you brought the wrong dress shoes—these are the shoes that make the wearer invisible! Your taxi arrives at your hotel in five minutes. You can’t wear the sneakers you wore on the airplane, so what will you do?

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

Photo: Paul Stevenson, courtesy of Creative Commons


Printable Writing Prompt ~ January

The third Monday in January we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contribution to our country. In 1963 he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.  After reading or listening to his speech, have your children write their own “I Have a Dream” paragraph.

Invite kids to write their own "I Have a Dream" paragraph. {Printable Writing Prompt from In Our Write Minds}


Click the image above to download the printable “I Have a Dream” writing 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!

Winter picture writing prompts

Kids will love creating stories of winter adventure and mystery with these photo writing prompts!

FROSTY, fanciful, and far-fetched tales delight the child in each of us this time of year. Let your kids create their own seasonal stories with these winter picture writing prompts!

Frozen in Our Tracks

Four sheep were enjoying a stroll through the meadow until a dark figure blocked their path. What does the  stranger say? Can he be trusted? Will the sheep help him find the one thing he is looking for?

Sheep in Snow

A Chilly Cavern

You and a friend have stumbled across a mysterious cave. The path inside has led to you to a frozen waterfall and a strange, rainbow-colored lake. Who lives here, and why have they allowed you to discover their world?

Frozen Waterfall

Brightly Shining

Every year on Christmas Eve, a light shines from the frozen lighthouse. Write a story about this mystery using at least four of these words: abandoned, compass, flag, reindeer, captain, pickaxe, baked beans.

Frozen Lighthouse

Photos: Matt Belton, Jedimentat44, and wsilver, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Christmas music writing prompts

Children will enjoy writing stories, creating their own carols, and more using these fun Christmas music writing prompts!

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THE joyful sounds of Christmas swirl through streets and homes each December. Church choirs, car radios, piano recitals, and holiday musicals will surely inspire your children as they respond to these music writing prompts!

1. All I Want for Christmas

Gregory E. Turbine wants only one thing for Christmas: a song. Where does Gregory live, and what does he look like? Why does he want a song, and who will bring it to him on Christmas morning?

2. The Little Drummer Boy

Imagine you are the little drummer boy who played a special song for baby Jesus. Write a letter to an old friend, describing your feelings as you approached the stable and met the Christ child for the first time.

3. Christmas Bells

Write a story about a silver bell named Jingle. Begin with this sentence: After five years in a stuffy old box, Jingle knew this Christmas would be different.

4. Write Your Own Carol

You have been invited to enter the “Create Your Own Christmas Carol” contest. The rules are simple: Choose a favorite Christmas carol tune and write new lyrics. If you need help thinking of words that rhyme, try RhymeZone, a free online rhyming dictionary. When you are finished, invite others to sing this new carol with you.

5. The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Miss Patsy Sweetwater has just received a remarkable delivery from her true love: twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords-a-leaping, and nine ladies dancing. Write the speech Miss Patsy will give to her new holiday helpers, expressing her delight and her grand expectations.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays, and check out our Holiday and Seasonal Ideas for more Christmas-themed writing activities.

Photos: Mike (bell), Carlos Madrigal (drum), David Skinner (youth orchestra), and Prayitno Photography (Southern belle), courtesy of Creative Commons

Printable Writing Prompt for December

Use this free Christmas printable writing prompt to help stretch your writing muscles as you compose a story about generosity. How many of the focus words can you include in your story?

Printable Writing Prompt for December - Compose a story about generosity!

Click the image above to download the printable Christmas writing 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!

{the first Thanksgiving} writing prompts

Fun writing prompts for kids about Pilgrim food and the first Thanksgiving!

WHEN the Plymouth colonists shared their first autumn feast, they had much to be thankful for. They had survived an Atlantic crossing in a cramped, smelly ship and lived through a harsh New England winter that claimed many lives. As they ate and celebrated that first Thanksgiving, their hearts overflowed with memories and hopes for the future.

Let these Thanksgiving writing prompts transport your family back to 1620, when the Pilgrims set sail from Holland for a new life in America.

1. Mayflower Meals

One hundred and two passengers lived below deck on the Mayflower for months on end. Meals on ship usually included crunchy biscuits (“hard tack”) or salted meat. Throughout the week, families took turns using an iron “firebox” to cook hot meals. Describe the smell, taste, and texture of a hot stew after two long days of chewing on hard tack.

2. Just in Time

When the Mayflower landed in Massachusetts, the Pilgrim men set out on exploring parties. They soon discovered Corn Hill, an empty Indian village with piles of seed corn buried in the ground. Because their winter food supplies were low, the explorers took the corn and decided to repay it later. Explain how you would have handled the same situation.

3. A Feast is Planted

In the spring of 1621, an English-speaking Indian named Squanto befriended the hungry Pilgrims. He taught them how to plant corn with fish as a fertilizer, which promised a plentiful crop a few months later. Write a list of three questions about farming you would have asked Squanto if you were a Pilgrim.

4. Pilgrim Kitchens

Small and sturdy, cabins in the Plymouth colony had just enough room for cooking, eating, and sleeping. Pots and kettles hung from a green wooden “lugpole” across the hearth, and tables were set with spoons, “trenchers” (dishes), and large napkins. Pilgrims usually shared their cups, and they had no forks. Compare and contrast a Pilgrim kitchen to your kitchen today.

5. The First Thanksgiving

Governor Bradford called for a Thanksgiving feast in the fall of 1621. Only four women had survived the previous winter, so Pilgrim children helped prepare the food. They gathered mussels from the rocks along the shore and salad greens from the gardens of their little town. Imagine you have worked all week to prepare the feast. How do you feel when it’s finally your turn to sit down and eat?

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays, and check out our Holiday and Seasonal Ideas for more Thanksgiving-themed writing activities.

Photos: VaMedia (kettle), Joy (corn souffle), John B. (turkey), and Annie (girl’s dress), courtesy of Creative Commons

We love dogs! Canine writing prompts

From German shepherds to poodles, chihuahuas to beagles, kids will love these dog writing prompts!

FROM the deck of the Mayflower to the White House lawn, dogs have rightfully earned their titles as “man’s best friend.” Encourage your kids to try their hand at these fun writing prompts for dog lovers!

1. I Will Always Find You

Search and rescue (SAR) dogs work alongside their handlers to track missing humans. With their acute sense of smell, SAR dogs can work in most kinds of weather and environments, whether day or night. Write a story about a search and rescue German Shepherd who is called to action after a large earthquake hits Los Angeles.

2. Child’s Play

You are a friendly chihuahua who just met the poodle who lives next door. The two of you quickly discover how much you have in common, including a history of embarrassing Halloween costumes. Describe the fairy costume your family made you wear this October, and explain how you really feel about playing dress-up.

3. That’s a Strange Dog, Charlie Brown

Poor Charlie Brown wants to train his dog to play fetch, but once again Snoopy won’t cooperate. Describe the steps Charlie Brown must take to convince Snoopy to play, and insert as many onomatopoeic (sound) words as possible.

4. King of the Hill

Who says a night in the dog house is cold and lonely? You’ve designed plans for a luxury dog house, so write a persuasive paragraph to convince your parents that Fido deserves a posh, two-story pad. (If you want to take the opposite side, write a letter to the editor about why people should stop spoiling their pets.)

5. Puppy Love

Raising puppies for profit is no small task when you consider the time and energy involved (not to mention possible damage to your home and yard). Prepare a list of six questions for someone who specializes in raising and selling Black Labrador Retrievers. You want to know if this could be a successful and fulfilling business for you.

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

Photo: Lee Coursey, courtesy of Creative Commons

Printable Writing Prompt for November

Leaving the only home you have ever known and arriving in a new land is sure to be overwhelming! As a passenger on the Mayflower, what do you miss from home? What do you hope your new life holds?

What would it be like to journey across the ocean on the Mayflower? Free Printable Writing Prompt for November

Click the image above to download the printable Mayflower writing 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!

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