Inspire kids to write with these 40 writing prompts! Half the problem with writing is that kids have trouble deciding what to write about. These printable writing prompt cards will eliminate that issue and help kids move on to actually writing.
This post was originally published in June 2013 and updated with new ideas and printable writing prompt cards in May 2021.
40 Printable Writing Prompts
These writing ideas are perfect for 3rd to 5th grades, or ages 8 to 10. Of course, students will vary, so you can pull out the topics/cards that will work best for your kids.
There are 40 writing cards to print. The ideas include a variety of writing styles – narrative, persuasive, descriptive, and how-to. There are even a couple of cards that are research topics.
I am offering these prompts for free download, but please use them for personal use only. Do not offer them on your own website. After you print the writing prompts, simply cut out the cards and you have an instant writing station!
Create a Summer Writing Plan
Summer is a great time to work on extra writing practice! You can easily make it fun by letting the kids pick out a new notebook and some fun pencils. And who says writing has to be done at a table or desk? Kids can spread a blanket under a tree or sit in the play set. Or head to the park or a coffee shop for some writing time!
These writing prompts are not based on summer topics, however, so they can be used anytime during the year.
Tips for Successful Writing:
- Decide on a schedule. We are committing to doing writing 2 days a week. The kids will spend 30-45 min. on writing each time.
- Decide on a system. You can let kids look through the writing cards and select the one they want, or you can fold them up and put them in a jar. If kids are drawing out of a jar, you might let them have a second draw if they don’t get a card they like, but after that, they probably need to just start writing.
- Introduce a writing structure. For all of the non-narrative prompts, I am having my kids 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?” A good 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 the child would write three paragraphs explaining the benefits of each power.
- Introduce editing as something that the best writers do. This is KEY. No one writes perfectly on the first try! Good writers go back and edit their writing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and content. They reword things to make their meaning more clear, and they add interesting verbs and adjectives in place of common, overused words. Having a lot of edits to make doesn’t make you bad at writing, it makes you GOOD at writing!
The Writing Process:
You can have kids write just for the experience, and that is definitely valuable! If you’re doing this as summer writing, you may just want to get them writing and that’s it!!
Or, you can add more structure to it. If you want to teach a writing process, I would suggest the following.
1. Pre-write. Make a list or a graphic organizer of some sort. Many of the prompts are designed to lead kids right into a 5 paragraph essay. It’s easy to plan 3 main points with supporting details, and then a short introduction and conclusion.
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.
Ready to print your set of 40 writing prompt cards? Click the link below. The file will open, and you can save or print from there.
CLICK HERE: 40 Writing Prompt Cards