Prompts that lend themselves to personal essay writing:
(clicking on highlighted prompts will take you to one or more student samples)
Junior high and high school:
- What are three adjectives others would use to describe you?
- Which adjective would describe you by those who know you best?
- Write a brief essay that in some way describes who you are.
- If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, whom would it be and why?
- Describe an event that was a turning point in your life.
- Write about a person who has been an important influence in your life.
- Discuss some issue of personal importance to you.
- Describe an experience or achievement that has a special meaning for you.
- Tell about an experience that helped you to change and grow.
- What do you think is the hardest choice young people your age have to make?
- What do you think makes some students so popular with their classmates?
- Write about a special toy you have (or once had).
- Write about a special pet you have (or once had).
- Being a kid can be hard sometimes. Explain what you look forward to in being an adult (or what you don’t like about being a kid).
- Tell about a time you were proud (or ashamed, embarrassed, scared, happy, lonely, etc.).
- Write about a favorite place.
- Write about something that bugs you.
- Write about a special person in your life.
- Write about a time when something bad happened, but something good came out of it.
- Write about the bravest thing you have ever done.
- Write about the thing you worry about most.
- Write about what makes you special or unique.
- Write about your favorite hobby.
- Write about a goal or hope you have for the future. Why is it important to you?
- Explain why you think you are or are not a good loser.
- Write about the funniest thing that has ever happened to you.
- Write about the best thing that has ever happened to you.
- Write about the best idea you’ve ever had.
- Write about a time you were a very good friend or helper to someone else.
- If you could go back in time and do one thing differently, what would it be, and why?
- Write about an object you keep because it reminds you of someone or some special event.
- What would an ideal brother or sister be like?
- Write about a favorite family tradition. What is it? How did it start? How do you feel about it?
- Write about your favorite relative.
- Write about the qualities that make your best friend your best friend.
- Write about the advantages/disadvantages of being an only child. Or, write about the advantages/disadvantages of being the oldest, middle, or youngest child.
- Write about the kind of parent you think you will be.
- Write about a favorite teacher.
Put each setting, character and object below on separate strips of paper. Let students draw one of each, and then create a story that uses all three in some way.
animal or pet
From the Writing Curriculum Files of Children’s Author, Suzanne Williams www.suzanne-williams.com