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Middle School Writing Prompts

Updated on June 17, 2014

The Best Middle School Writing Prompts

These middle school writing prompts will give your middle school students many essay writing ideas. These writing prompts are for students in 6th through 8th grade and are organized by the various writing styles. Whether you are a Language Arts teacher or a homeschooling parent, you will find these middle school writing prompts to be very helpful in teaching your student to become a stronger writer.

I'm a certified English teacher. I know how important it is that students routinely practice writing in order to improve the skill. Using a variety of writing prompts to springboard ideas for writing essay or journal entries will help keep students engaged and learning.

Image: koratmember / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Middle School Writing Prompts

What is an essay writing prompt?

A writing prompt is intended to spring board ideas for a student to build upon in order to write an essay. It usually consists of an open ended statement, or a situation to spark an idea.

It is essential that students get plenty of consistent practice writing essays in order for their writing to improve. I recommend some form of writing prompt daily. For middle school, it is a good idea to assign a paragraph writing assignment daily (perhaps use a journal writing prompt or give a descriptive paragraph assignment) and then present an essay prompt weekly.

There a various styles of essays and here you will find middle school writing prompts for each type of essay:

1) Expository or informative essays.

2) Descriptive essays.

3) Narrative essays.

4) Persuasive essays.

5) Essays about literature.

6) How to essays.

Expository Middle School Writing Prompts - Middle school writing prompts for expository or informative essays

Purdue Online defines an expository essay as "a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner." Another term for expository essay is informative essay. This type of essay is intended to explain and inform.

The most common and easiest to teach style of expository essay is compare and contrast. This is an easy concept for students to grasp. If you are teaching a weak writer, I recommend starting with compare and contrast writing prompts.

Another simple type of expository is the example essay. An example essay affords you the perfect opportunity to teach the meaning of elaboration. Have your student offer an example and then elaborate.

The most complex for of expository essay is the cause and effect analysis. This type of essay requires the student to analyze a situation and inform the reader of its cause and effect.

Here are a variety of expository middle school writing prompts:

  1. Explain why it's important to learn how to read.
  2. Your cousin will be moving to your town soon. Write him or her a letter explaining why your town is a great place to live.
  3. Explain how disappointments can sometimes have a positive outcome.
  4. Think about your favorite year of school. Explain why it was your favorite year.
  5. Explain in your opinion what it means to be a good friend.
  6. Each child has a unique place in their family. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the position you hold in your family (youngest child, only child, middle child etc.).
  7. In your opinion what is best invention of all time? Explain why it is so awesome.
  8. A home in your neighborhood has burned. The family lost everything in the fire, but everyone came out safely. Inform your reader how you plan to help the family recover from the loss.
  9. It's "Career Day" at your school. Choose a job that interests you and write a report about it.
  10. Your school did a special project. Write a letter to a newspaper telling what you did.
  11. Write an essay about your favorite tv show and explain why it's your favorite.
  12. The phrase "dress for success" can mean something different to different people. Write an essay explaining what "dress for success" means to you.
  13. Explain why honesty is important in a friendship.
  14. Compare and contrast your home in the day vs the night. Think not only about how it looks different, but also how it sounds different, as well as how your home serves a difference purpose in the day than it does at night.
  15. Compare and contrast your two favorite actors.

Descriptive Middle School Writing Prompts - Middle school writing prompts for descriptive essays

In a descriptive essay a student describes an object, place, person, experience, emotion, situation, or anything else that can be described in detail. You can offer students a vague descriptive writing prompt, giving them complete creative freedom, or you can assign them a very specific descriptive prompt and tell them what order they are to describe their topic (what direction, sequence, etc. should they use).

Below you will find a variety of descriptive writing prompts for middle school students:

  1. Describe your bedroom. Start with what is immediately to your left when you open the door and describe what you see as you go clockwise around your room.
  2. While visiting the zoo you encounter an animal that no one has ever seen before. Describe the animal.
  3. Imagine you are walking outside. A spring storm is coming. Describe for your classmates what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.
  4. What is your favorite meal? Describe it in detail, including what it looks, smells, and tastes like.
  5. Describe a tree in detail. Maybe it is your favorite tree, one you like to climb, or one that has a tire swing. Describe what it looks like, feels like, and even it's smell.
  6. Imagine that you're on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Describe what you hear, see, and smell.
  7. Describe a thunderstorm to someone who has never experienced one. Give details about what you see, hear, and smell. Be sure to describe how you feel during the storm.

Middle School Writing Workbooks - Great guides to teach writing skills

You can help your middle school student improve their writing skills with these educational books.

Writing, Grade 6 (Spectrum)
Writing, Grade 6 (Spectrum)

As a certified English teacher for grades 6 through 12, I highly recommend this book. It prepares your student not only for standard educational exams, but also for writing in college and the real world.

 
Grade 6 Writing (Kumon Writing Workbooks)
Grade 6 Writing (Kumon Writing Workbooks)

This workbook provides step by step directions to walk your middle schooler through the writing process.

 

Narrative Middle School Writing Prompts - Middle school writing prompts for narrative essays

A narrative essay is simply a story. It can be an auto biography, biography, or a story from an imaginative perspective. The goal of a narrative is to tell a story in vivid detail from a specific point of view. A narrative has a personal touch and should have a specific voice throughout.

Below I have listed narrative writing points:

  1. Tell what happened when you felt proudest of yourself.
  2. Imagine that you spent the entire day with your favorite relative (grandmother, grandfather, cousin, aunt, uncle, etc). Tell us about your day.
  3. Imagine that you won a school contest that allowed you to be teacher-for-a-day. Write about your experience as teacher for the day.
  4. Imagine that you were invisible for a day. Write about your experience.
  5. Tell us a story about one time when your parents were right.
  6. Write about the last time you went swimming.
  7. Write about going on a fishing trip. This fishing trip may be a real one you've actually been on or a pretend one. Who would you go with? Where would you go? Tell us all about the trip.
  8. Write about your earliest memory.
  9. Choose something for show & tell, but rather than bringing your object to class, your job is to write a short story or poem that shows us the object and tells us why it's important to you.
  10. Retell a popular fairy tale from the villain's point of view.
  11. When was the last time you showed great courage? Tell us about your experience.
  12. Write a story about baking cookies with your mom or dad.

Persuasive Middle School Writing Prompts - Middle school writing prompts for persuasive essays

It's very important that middle schoolers practice persuasive style writing. Persuasive writing has real world use. As an unsatisfied customer, I persuasive letter can receive fast response from a manufacturer. As an displeased voter, a persuasive letter to your governor or representative can bring about prompt action. Persuasive writing also helps develop a student's debate skills.

Here is a list of middle school persuasive writing prompts:

  1. Medical researchers, cosmetic companies, and others often perform experiments on animals. Many people feel that experimentation on

    animals is wrong and should be stopped immediately because animals do feel pain, and there are other alternatives. How do you feel? State your position and explain your reasons.

  2. In order to save money, your principal is thinking about canceling all field trips for the remainder of the year. Write an essay persuading him or her to allow students to continue attending field trips. Use specific reasons and examples to support your response.
  3. Many parents give children a weekly or monthly allowance regardless of their behavior because they believe an allowance teaches children to be financially responsible. Other parents only give children an allowance as a reward for completing chores or when they have behaved properly. Explain what you think parents should do and why.
  4. All-girl schools have gained popularity because of the belief that girls learn better when they aren't competing with or intimidated by boys, who statistically get more attention in the classroom. Do you think all girl and all boy schools are a good idea? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
  5. Good habits improve our physical, emotional, and/or financial health. Select one of your good habits and write an essay persuading readers to make that habit a part of their lives.
  6. What is your favorite television show? Persuade your readers to watch it too. Be sure to use specific examples to argue your position.
  7. Most states allow students to acquire a driver's license at the age of 16. Do you feel this is too young or that the current law is appropriate? Should the legal age be raised to 18? Choose a stance and write an essay persuading the reader to agree with your position.

Literary Middle School Writing Prompts Ideas - Middle school writing prompt ideas for literary essays

In middle school, students are expected to start making the gradual transition from writing book reports to writing research papers. Most states now require middle school students to write a literary essay in which they must analyze a work of literature.

I cannot provide specific writing prompts for this section since the essay topic will depend upon the book your student is reading. But here are some writing prompt ideas:

  1. Describe three elements of symbolism evident in the book you read.
  2. How is the setting significant to the book's plot?
  3. How is imagery important to the book's plot?
  4. Compare and contrast the protagonist and the antagonist in the book. How are they similar? How do they differ?

How-To Middle School Writing Prompts - Middle school writing prompts for how-to essays

Being able to describe to someone how to do something is a very important skill to have. If your students ever hope to someday be in a position of authority, he or she must learn how to give detailed and accurate directions. Writing how-to essays is a great way to practice this skill.

A how-to essay is a form of expository essay since what you're actually doing is explaining to your reader how to do something. But this style of writing is so critical, that it deserves its own category of writing prompts.

Below are some how-to middle school writing prompts:

  1. Write an essay teaching a kid how to ride a bicycle without the training wheels for the first time.
  2. Write an essay detailing how to properly clean your room.
  3. Write an essay explaining how to set the table.
  4. Write an essay explaining how kids can participate on the internet while also staying safe.
  5. Write an essay explaining how to play checkers to someone who has never played before.
  6. Write an essay explaining how to make a new friend.
  7. Write an essay explaining how to pack a suitcase for a beach vacation.

Get your middle schooler writing! - Thank you for visiting

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    • profile image

      middle school mom 2 years ago

      Looking for an example we use to be taught, on how to write a 1 page essay. Intro Paragraph, 3 paragraphs, closing paragraph....? How to create an outline for a paper.

    • profile image

      Adamsjames 3 years ago

      This is a great article.

    • profile image

      vmarchant10 3 years ago

      @bskcom: Yeah It helped me a lot last year

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 4 years ago

      I always love a list of writing prompts!

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      Great ideas for teaching kids how to write essays. It's a skill they will use throughout their lives.

    • profile image

      carlitsthewriter101 4 years ago

      Very helpful lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      Great ideas! I'm always looking for ways to motivate my children to write more.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      Great ideas! I'm always looking for ways to motivate my children to write more.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      As a mentor to middle school children I find this very useful to help children develop. I am thankful for a thriving mom posting this.

    • profile image

      xtianfriborg13 4 years ago

      Cool lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      write about one of your best dreams and describe it....you can also write about your worst nightmare!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: nice

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thank you! this helped me so much with my essay!

    • profile image

      bskcom 4 years ago

      Writing prompts are a fantastic approach to stimulating young minds. Your Lens is such a creative inspiration.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @yayas: i agree

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Explain why honesty is important in a friendship.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thank you for these Middle School Writing Prompts. My grandson will be entering Middle School in the honors classes so I will share this page with him.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You have been given the task of choosing an entertainer for your eight grade dance next year. Whom would you choose and why?

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 5 years ago

      Great tips for any kinda' writing. Thanks.