Summer is a great time to work on skills that we haven’t covered as much as I would have liked during the school year. We did a really pitiful job with writing this year, so I knew I had to get organized for the summer if I wanted summer writing to actually happen!
I scoured the internet (and our imaginations) and created a list of 40 writing prompt ideas for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. The list includes a variety of writing styles – narrative, persuasive, descriptive, and how-to. I am offering these prompts for free download, but please use them for personal use only. Do not offer them on your own site. After you print the writing prompts, simply cut them apart and put them in a jar, and you have an instant writing station!
Tips for Successful Summer Writing:
- Make it fun! Kids this age know that schoolwork is schoolwork, but it’s possible to make it a little more bearable. I let my boys pick out new notebooks at Target just for their summer writing. If you have a child who doesn’t enjoy writing, you might consider offering a treat afterward as an incentive to just buckle down and do it.
- Decide on a schedule. We are committing to doing writing 3 days a week. Aidan will spend 30-45 min. on writing each day.
- Decide on a system. Our system is that Aidan draws one writing prompt each day that we do writing. If he doesn’t like the one he chose, he can pick another one, but only ONE more! Then he has to pick between those two. We aren’t going to go through the entire jar, because the point of the jar is to write about a wide variety of topics and also to not spend a lot of time thinking of a topic.
- Introduce a writing structure. For all of the non-narrative prompts, I am having Aidan write an introduction with a thesis statement, three paragraphs of body, and a short conclusion. For example, one of the prompts is “What three superhero powers would you choose to have, and why?” He thesis statement would be, “If I could be a superhero and choose my own powers, I would chose to be able to fly, have x-ray vision, and to be able to run at lightning speed.” Then he would write three paragraphs explaining the benefits of each power.
- Introduce editing as something that the best writers do. No quality writer cranks out award winning copy on the first try. The best writers write, then edit, then get input from others, and then edit some more! Our goal is to just write two days a week. Then, once a week, we’ll follow the editing process.
The Editing Process:
1. Pre-write. Either a list or a graphic organizer of some sort.
2. Rough draft.
3. Child edits for punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Replace boring words like “good” and “nice” with more descriptive words like “amazing” and “fantastic.”
4. Parent edits for all the same things in case any were missed. (And remember, we’re editing not as punishment, but because that’s what the best writers do.)
5. Final draft – alternate between typing the final copy and handwriting the final copy.
For younger writers, check out my post on Eight Real-life Ways to Get Kids Writing. I’m also working on a list of writing prompts for beginning writers (K-2nd grade).
Free Download of 40 Writing Prompts for 3rd-5th graders: