Inspire kids to write with these 40 writing prompts! Half the problem with writing is that kids have trouble deciding what to write about. This printable resource will eliminate that problem and help kids move on to actually writing!

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 can always use more practice writing, and it takes an organized (or at least semi-organized, ha ha) system if it’s going to truly happen.

Create Your Summer Writing Plan

I 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.

Click Below for a Free Download of 40 Writing Prompts for 3rd-5th graders:

40 Writing Prompts

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).


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  1. Teresa Jun 10, 2013

    Ohhhh thank you so much for this youngest has had such a difficult time with this plus he says its soooo boring. Actually after he gets going, he really does pretty well but I will use your suggestion and try to keep it fun! Thanks & hope you have an awesome summer!!!

    1. Kristin Jun 10, 2013

      I can't seem to download the printables. Can you email me the link? Thanks!

      1. Sarah Jun 11, 2013

        Try going to this link:

      2. Cheryl Jun 11, 2013

        When I try to download printables it tells me that the site could put malware on my computer. I would love to have these prompts!

        1. Sarah Jun 11, 2013

          When I click on the link, it takes me to a second page where I click on the link again - "Writing prompts for 3rd-5th" and then it downloads. Try it again and make sure you're clicking the words "writing prompts for 3rd-5th" a second time. Let me know if it still doesn't work!

        2. katepickle Jun 11, 2013

          These are great.
          I have two 3rd graders who adore writing but who struggle with handwriting so these new ideas will be a fab way to keep encouraging them.

          I have one home sick on the couch right now (not summer holidays for us right now) writing a 'first line' story - I give her the first line of a story and she takes it from there.

          1. Deb Jun 15, 2013

            I can't seem to download it either...I have tried many times:)

            1. Sarah Jun 15, 2013

              I'm sorry! I'm not sure what to tell you. It works for me, and many other people have printed it! It may have something to do with your version of Adobe Acrobat. I wish I could be more help!

            2. PW Jul 6, 2013

              Thank you for this.

              1. Karen Jul 21, 2013

                When I click on the links, all I get is another comments area.

                1. Karen Jul 21, 2013

                  Never mind. I got it to work.

                2. Valerie Lee May 8, 2014

                  THANK YOU!!! I've been looking all over for writing prompts - you are an answer to our summer writing plan!

                  1. Jennifer Jun 19, 2014

                    Thanks so much!!!! This will make it so much easier to get my boys to write this summer!!! Lots of fun choices.

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                      Good article.I am going through a feww of these issues as well..

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