20+ quick writing prompts for students

Boost student writing with these quick-start writing prompts.

Quick writing prompts examples:

  1. Imagine that we lost all electricity, water, and gas for a month without any time to prepare. Write about how your life would change and how you would survive.
  2. Can honesty honestly be bad?  Write about someone, fact or fiction, who gets in trouble for being too truthful.
  3. What animal lives beneath your human skin?  A mouse? A cougar? Or what? Explain with writing.
  4. Ernest Hemingway said to “write hard and clear about what hurts.” Write about something that hurts, whether it’s an emotional, physical, or phantom pain.
  5. William Shakespeare wrote that: “Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood.” Write your thoughts about conversation, or make up dialogue between two characters who are meeting each other for the first time in an unexpected place.
  6. Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way s/he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” Tell a story in which a character has to deal with one, two, or all three of these scenarios. How does your character respond?
  7. Pick two characters from different books you’ve read this year and have them get in an argument about something (e.g., who has suffered more, who has had a happier life, etc.).
  8. Write a scene that happens in a parking lot between a teenager and a man in a convertible.
  9. What if your pet could only talk to you at midnight for an hour?
  10. Imagine that you are an astronaut who has been doing research on the moon for three years. You are going to go back to earth in a week when nuclear war breaks out on earth. You watch the earth explode. Then what?
  11. Imagine a moral dilemma (for example, you see someone shoplift or a friend tells a blatant lie to her parents about where she was last night) and explain what you would do and why you would do it.
  12. Review an obituary, birth, or a section from the police record or classified ads section of a local newspaper. Choose one and tell the story behind it.
  13. Rewrite “The Tale of the Three Little Pigs” by using people that you know as the pigs and the wolf.
  14. A blue trash can, a red picture frame, a teddy bear with the stuffing falling out, and a padlock. Put these four items somewhere in a story, scene, or poem.
  15. Pick a family member or two and write about his or her reputation in your family, or tell a family legend.
  16. Write about your own worst family vacation memory.
  17. Write about your best family vacation memory.
  18. Think of a person from your past who really deserved a good scolding but never got one.  Write a fictional piece where you tell that person off intelligently.
  19. You have a chance to go back and completely re-do an event in your life. What is it, and how do you change it? What is the outcome? This can be a real or fictional event.
  20. Write about the biggest mistake you made this week. Now write about the best thing you did this week.
  21. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that force us to face our deepest fears. Tell about a time when you had to face one of your greatest fears—or make up the story.
  22. There is a saying that you should be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Describe a time when you wished for something and got it—and then wished you hadn’t—or make up a story in which this happens to the character.
  23. As the saying goes, “rules are meant to be broken.” Tell about a time when you broke the rules and what happened as a result.

Help students to engage in writing tasks in a way that aligns with their learning preferences

Read&Write is a literacy support tool that helps students engage with writing tasks in a way that plays to their strengths. Your students can use tools in Read&Write like Check It, Talk and Type, and the text and picture dictionaries to help develop their confidence in writing.