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300 Fun Writing Prompts for Kids: Story Starters, Journal Prompts & Ideas

Are you a parent or teacher? Here are 300 fun and creative writing prompts for kids to spark the imagination of young writers everywhere. Use these kids writing ideas as journaling prompts, story starters or just for fun!

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It’s never too early to start writing, and so we’ve created this fun list of 300 creative kids writing prompts for teacher and parents to use.

You’ll love these fun ideas for kids writing prompts to use as creative sparks to get young imaginations writing in no time!

writing prompts for kids

These are perfect to use as kids journal writing prompts, as short story writing prompts, or just for exercises to help students and children of all ages tap into their creativity. Maybe your kids will write an essay, maybe a poem, or maybe even a whole book!

Whether you are a teacher or parent looking to inspire your kids to write, or maybe even an adult who would like to practice writing with a more playful and young-hearted approach, I hope you find these creative writing prompts inspiring!

Buy the Printable Cards!  We will always have this list of 300 kids writing prompts available for free, but I’m very excited to now also offer an  ad-free printable version of these prompts  in my online Etsy shop. Thank you for your support!

The Ultimate List of 300 Fun & Creative Writing Prompts for Kids

#1. Imagine a giant box is delivered to your front doorstep with your name on it. What’s inside and what happens when you open it?

#2. Write a short story about what it might be like if you woke up one morning with a mermaid tail.

#3. Which is better, winter or summer? Write about the reasons why you think winter or summer is better.

#4. Write about what would it be like if you had an alligator as a pet.

#5. If you had $1,000, what would you buy and why?

#6. Write a story using these 5 words: apple, train, elephant, paper, banjo

#7. What do you want be when you grow up and why?

#8. Who is your favorite person on the planet? What do you like most about that person?

#9. If you could have any secret super power, what would you want it to be and why?

#10. Write about 3 places you would like to travel someday. What do these three places have in common?

#11. Write about a time you felt really happy. What happened? What made you feel happy?

#12. Imagine what would happen if someone shrunk you down to be only 1″ tall. How would your life change?

#13. If you were in charge of the whole world, what would you do to make the world a happier place?

#14. Write a story about what it would be like to climb to the very top of the highest mountain in the world.

#15. If you were in charge of planning the school lunch menu, what foods would you serve each day?

#16. What are some of your favorite animals? What do you like about them?

writing prompt card for kids example

#17. Imagine that dogs take over the world. What do they make the humans do?

#18. Write a story about flying to outer space and discovering a new planet.

#19. You are a mad scientist and have invented a new vegetable. What is it called? What does it look like? What does it taste like? Most importantly: Is it safe to eat?

#20. You go to school one morning to discover your best friend has been turned into a frog by an evil witch! How do you help your friend?

#21. Describe what it is like when trees lose all of their leaves in the autumn season.

#22. Write about your favorite sport and why you like it so much.

#23. Imagine what it might be like to live on a boat all the time and write about it.

#24. If you had one wish, what would it be?

#25. Write about what you might do if you have the super power to become invisible.

#26. You are walking through the forest when one of the trees starts talking to you. What does it say? What do you do?

#27. The weather forecast is calling for a blizzard in the middle of the summer. What do you do?

#28. What types of transportation will people have in the future?

#29. What were some of your favorite toys when you very little? Do you still enjoy playing with them?

#30. What would a day in your life be like if you were a movie star?

#31. Imagine you’ve invented a time machine! What year do you travel to?

#32. What are your favorite things to do over summer vacation?

#33. What is your favorite holiday and why?

#34. If you could meet any fictional character from a book, who would it be?

#35. You are writing a travel guide for kids visiting your city. What places do you think they should visit?

#36. What is a food you hate? Write about it!

#37. Imagine what it would be like if there was no electricity. What would be different in your daily routine?

#38. You are building a new city! What types of things do you think your city needs? How will you convince people to move to your new city?

#39. What is your favorite movie? Write your review of the movie and why you think people should watch it.

magic sweater writing prompt for kids

#40. Imagine you get a magic sweater for your birthday. What happens when you wear the sweater? What do you do with these new found magical powers?

#41. You are the security guard at the zoo and someone has stolen a rhinoceros! How do you track down the thief?

#42. You have been invited to have lunch with the queen. What foods do you eat and what topics do you and the queen discuss?

#43. If you could design a school uniform, what types of clothes would you suggest? What colors would they be?

#44. Imagine you are a reporter interviewing a celebrity about their life. What questions do you ask?

#45. You are running a lemonade stand. Describe the steps for how you make lemonade and the types of customers you see during the day.

#46. Write a story about being the ruler of an underwater world.

#47. Write an acrostic poem for the word “treehouse”.

#48. You decide to grow a sunflower, but the sunflower grows so tall it reaches up to the sky! Write about what happens when you decide to climb to the top. What do you discover?

#49. Imagine you look out the window and it is raining popsicles from the sky! Write a story about the experience.

#50. If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why?

#51. If you were on a spaceship, what would you be most excited about seeing?

#52. Do you have any pets at home? Write an essay about how you take care of your pets. If you do not have a pet, what type of pet might you like?

writing prompts for pets

#53. Imagine you are opening a store that only sells items which are blue. What types of items do you sell?

#54. Have you ever lost something that is important to you? Were you able to find it?

#55. Write a story about a kid who is moving to a new school. How do you think they might feel?

#56. Rewrite the ending of your favorite fairy tale. For example, what would have happened if Cinderella never went to the ball?

#57. Have you ever forgotten to do your homework? What happened?

#58. Do you have a favorite song? Write about the type of music you like to listen to.

#59. Imagine your parents wake you up one morning to tell you they will take you to do anything you want to do for the whole day – you don’t even have to go to school or do your chores. What would you choose to do and why?

#60. Do you like amusement parks? What are some of your favorite rides?

#61. Write a story using these three words: detective, piano, and pizza.

#62. Have you ever been to the beach? Write about your favorite things to do. If you have never been to the beach, what would you like to do the first time you visit?

#63. Is there a favorite tv show you like to watch? Write about your favorite character and why they are your favorite.

#64. Write a poem using onomatopoeia , where the words you use are pronounced similar to the sound they make. For example, buzz, bark, sizzle, slam and pop.

#65. Have you ever had to stand in line to wait a long time for something? What did you do while you waited? How did you feel while waiting? How did you feel once the wait was over?

#66. Is it a good idea to keep ALL secrets a secret? Write about examples of when it is okay to spill a secret – and when it isn’t.

#67. Is there something you are good at doing? Write about your best strengths.

#68. What historical time period and location would you go back to live in if you could? Write about it!

#69. Write about 5 things you can do that are important for you to stay healthy and safe.

#70. Do you think thunderstorms are scary? Why or why not?

#71. What would you most like to learn over the next year? Think about things that interest you or questions you might have about the world and make a list!

#72. You are going on a trip to a jungle safari! What items do you pack in your suitcase?

creative writing examples for primary school

#73. Imagine you are sitting at home one day and you hear someone shrieking in the living room they see a mouse in the house! Write a story about what might happen next.

#74. You are writing a letter to someone who is having a hard time making new friends at school. What do you write? What advice do you give them?

#75. Imagine you just met a magician – but their beloved rabbit who they pull out of a hat for all the tricks has been kidnapped! How do you help find the rabbit?

#76. Do you hear what I hear? Set a timer for 5 minutes and write about all of the sounds you hear in those 5 minutes.

#77. Imagine you go to get a haircut and they accidentally shave your head! How do you feel about that and what would you do?

#78. Do you find it easy to talk to people you don’t know? What are some ways you can start up a conversation with someone you have never met before?

#79. Are there any chores you have to do at home? What are they? What do you like – and not like – about each one?

#80. Open up a random book to any page. Write for 5 minutes about the first word you read.

#81. Pretend you are a writer for your city’s newspaper. Who would you like to interview for a news story and why?

#82. There are many fictional characters who live in unusual houses, such as the old woman who lived in a shoe. What kind of unusual house would you like to live in? Write about what it would be like to live in an unusual house!

#83. Write a list of 10 things you can do to practice kindness to others.

#84. Is there a homework subject you dread? Why do you not like getting homework in that subject?

#85. What is your favorite month of the year? Write about why you like it and some of your favorite things to do during that month.

#86. Imagine you are planning a surprise birthday party for someone. How do you keep it a surprise?

#87. Pretend you walked outside to find a sleeping dragon in the grass! Why is the dragon there? Is it a friendly dragon? What do you do? Write about it!

#88. What are you grateful for today and why?

#89. You were on your way to a very important event when you fell into a puddle. Now what?

#90. Have you ever watched a movie and didn’t like how it ended? Write what you think should happen instead.

#91. Can you answer this riddle from Alice in Wonderland ? How is a raven like a writing desk?

#92. Imagine you are the captain of a pirate ship. Write a diary entry for what your day was like.

#93. If you could start any type of business, what kind of business would you start? What types of products or services would you provide?

#94. Write a sequel to one of your favorite fairy tales. For example, what was Goldilocks’s next adventure after she left the bears?

#95. What is something you are afraid of? What helps you to feel less afraid of something? What would you say to a friend who feels scared to help them feel less afraid?

#96. Write a letter to your future self in 20 years.

kids writing prompts and ideas

#97. In addition to basic survival needs such as food, water, air and shelter, what are 3 things you would you need to be happy?

#98. If you could invent a robot of any type who could do anything you imagine, what types of things would you would have the robot to do?

#99. Which do like better? Apples or Oranges? How are they alike? How are they different?

#100. Why did the chicken cross the road? You are a detective and are assigned to the case. How do solve the mystery?

#101. Write instructions for how to make your favorite snack. Be sure you add your favorite tips and suggestions for how to select the best ingredients!

#102. Imagine you borrowed a friend’s favorite lucky pencil to help you pass a math test – but then it snapped in half! How will you ever tell the news to your friend?

#103. Look around the current room you are sitting in and choose 3 random objects that are nearby. Now write a story or poem that includes those three items!

#104. Write a letter to the author of a book you recently read and tell them what you liked most about the book.

#105. Ernest Hemingway is famous for writing a six word story. Can you write a story in just 6 words?

#106. What do you think will be the future for cell phones? Will people still use them in 25 years or will something else take its place?

#107. Do you want to go to college? Why or why not?

#108. Write a story or poem about a kitten who wanders off and gets lost. How does the kitten find its way home?

#109. Currently, it is required by law that kids go to school. Do you think this is a good or bad idea?

#110. If you could invent a new board game, what would it be called? How is it played? What are the rules? What makes it fun to play? Write about it!

#111. Imagine you come home to discover your entire bedroom is covered in ketchup! What on earth happened? What is your reaction? How do you clean everything up?

#112. What is something you learned today?

#113. Would you rather have a goldfish or shark as a pet?

#114. From A-Z: make a list of something for every letter of the alphabet.

#115. Have you ever gone fishing? If you have, did you like it? Why or why not? If you haven’t, do you think you might want to?

#116. What is one of the most important things you do each and every day?

#117. Write a story about Gretchen the Grouch, a girl who is always angry! Will she ever be happy? Why is she so grumpy all of the time?

#118. How do you feel when someone takes something of yours without asking? What is a good way to deal with it when that happens?

#119. Write a poem that starts with the word “if”.

#120. Write a story about a family of rabbits who live in the woods. What are some of the challenges they face?

#121. What clothes do you think are the most comfortable? What kind of clothes do you like to wear the most? What clothes do you NOT like to wear?

#122. Imagine there are no grocery stores and you must get your own food. What are some of the ways you find food? What types of things do you eat?

#123. What are 3 things you can do that are good for the environment?

#124. If you could meet any famous person today, who would you want to meet and why? What questions might you ask them?

#125. A tongue twister is a quick poem where many of the words start with the same letter and are similar in sound. For example, “Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers.” Try writing your own with this fun kids writing prompt!

#126. What is the first thing you think of when you hear or see the word green?

#127. A hero is someone who is admired for their courage and achievements. What do you think makes someone a hero? Who are some of your heroes?

#128. What did you do during summer vacation last year? What do you want to do for summer vacation this year?

#129. Write a story about a super hero dog who saves the day! Who does the dog help and why?

kids journal prompts

#130. Would you rather live somewhere that is always cold, or somewhere that is always hot? Write about which one you would rather choose.

#131. Have you ever volunteered to help a charity? If so, write about the experience! If not, what are some charities you think you might like to volunteer for?

#132. What does the word courage mean to you?

#133. What makes you unique? What are some things about you that make you an individual?

#134. Have you ever been to a museum? What is your favorite thing to look at on display?

#135. What can you do to set a good example for others to be kind?

#136. A Tall Tale is a story that exaggerates something that actually happened. Write a tall tale about something that recently happened to you.

#137. What is one of your favorite toys that you think you might still want to have and play with when you are 22 years old?

#138. Oh no! Everyone around you is sick with a nasty cold! Write a silly poem about how you try to avoid catching their germs!

#139. Personification is when a non-living object takes on human characteristics. Write a story where you personify a common electronic gadget in your house, such as the Television or toaster.

#140. Write a poem using similes, which is when you say an object is like something else. Here is an example of a simile: “Her eyes were as blue as the sky.”

#141. Have you ever read a book written by Dr. Suess? Write your own “Suess-style” story, complete with rhymes and made up words.

#142. Do you have any siblings? Think about what it might mean to be a good brother or sister and write about it!

#143. Make a list of questions to interview your parents or grandparents about what it was like when they were growing up as a kid. Then, ask them the questions and write about their answers!

#144. You are in charge of writing a new radio show just for kids! What topics will you talk about? What music do you play?

#145. What do you usually eat for breakfast every day? What, in your opinion, is the greatest breakfast food ever created? What makes it so great?

#146. Write a 12 line poem where every line is about a different month of the year.

#147. What is something you look forward to doing the most when you are an adult?

Use these prompts in your classroom!  Get the  ad-free printable version of these prompts  to inspire your students to write! Thank you for your support!

#148. Do you like to try new things? What is something new you have tried recently or would like to try?

#149. Imagine what it might be like to be alive in Egypt when the pyramids were built. Write about what it was like.

#150. A credo is a statement of personal beliefs. Try writing your own credo for things that you believe in and feel are important.

#151. The circus has come to town but they have no place to perform! How do you help the ringmaster find a place to put on a show?

circus lion

#152. Do you like to act? What are some of your favorite actors or actresses? What do you think makes someone a good actor or actress?

#153. “Practice makes perfect” is a popular saying. What is something you like to practice so you can become better at it? A sport? A musical instrument? A special skill? Do you like to practice?

#154. Write about what it might be like to be water drops freezing and turning into ice.

#155. Do you think it is important to keep your room clean? What do you like about having a clean room?

#156. Imagine your parents are sending you away for a two week summer camp trip. Would you be excited? Why or why not?

#157. What are you currently learning about in history class? Write a fictional story about someone from the past you are learning about.

#158. Many wars have been fought in the past. Instead of going to war, what do you think countries could do to resolve their differences peacefully?

#159. Every year over 8 billion plastic bottles and cans are thrown away. What are some things you can do to help encourage your family and friends to recycle?

#160. Imagine if you were the principal of the school. What might you do differently? What things would you do that are the same? Write about it!

#161. Pretend that one day you are at your neighbor’s house and you notice a strange noise coming from the basement. You go downstairs to investigate to see a large machine running with many lights and buttons. Why is it there?

#162. Write an essay that starts with the line, “Tomorrow, I hope…”

#163. If you could give one thing to every child in the world, what would you want to give them?

#164. Do you have a piggy bank at home? How do you earn money to add to your savings?

writing ideas for kids

#165. What qualities make a house a home? What are 3 things you think every house should have?

#166. Would you rather go scuba diving or rock climbing? Write about which one you think you would like to do more and why.

#167. Do you think it is a good idea for kids to write a daily journal? What are some of the benefits of writing every day?

#168. Do you like watching fireworks or are they too noisy? Write about a time when you saw fireworks in the sky.

#169. Oh no! Your friend has turned into a statue! How did this happen? What do you do? Does your friend ever turn back into a person again?

#170. If you could be any movie character, who would you be and why?

#171. A mysterious message appears in code on your computer screen. What could it mean?

#172. If you could go to work with one of your parents for a day, what do you think the day would be like? What types of things do your parents do at work all day long?

#173. Imagine you are the President and you are creating a new national holiday. What is your holiday about? How is it celebrated? What day of the year do you celebrate? Write about it!

#174. You won a never-ending lifetime supply of spaghetti noodles! What will you do with all of these noodles?

#175. Would you rather be a bunny rabbit or a hawk? Why did you choose the one you chose?

#176. Your teacher has been acting mysterious lately. After school one day, you notice a weird green light shining through underneath the door of your classroom. What do you do? What is happening with your teacher?

#177. Write an article about tips for how kids can be more organized and study well for tests.

#178. Look at any product in your house and read the ingredients labels. Research what each ingredient is. Do you think these ingredients are good or bad for people?

#179. If you were a doctor, what do you think would be the most important part of your job every day?

#180. The school librarian needs your help! A truck just arrived with 2,000 books and she can’t fit all the books onto the shelves! What do you do? How do you find a place to put all these books?

#181. Do you think it would be fun to plant a garden? What types of plants would you want to grow? Write about your garden ideas.

#182. What is a sport or activity you would like to try playing for the first time?

#183. Do you think kids should be allowed to do the same things as adults? What things do you think kids should be able to do that only grown-ups can?

#184. Imagine you and your parents switch places for a day. Your parents are the kids and you are now in charge! What would you do?

#185. Write a get-well letter to someone who has been sick. What can you say to make them feel better?

#186. If you could visit any planet in the solar system, which planet would you like to visit the most and why? Write about what it might be like.

#187. Have you ever been to a farm? What did you like about it? If you haven’t been to a farm, do you think you might like to visit one? Why or why not?

#188. The mayor of the city has a big problem and needs your help! What is the problem and how will you solve it?

#189. Pretend your little sister ate carrots for dinner and the next morning woke up with rabbit ears!  How did this happen? What do you do? Will she be a rabbit forever?

#190. Imagine you wake up in the morning to find out you get to relive any day of your life again for the whole day. What day would you want to experience again and why?

#191. Do you think you might like to be a firefighter? Why or why not?

fire fighter writing prompt

#192. You are a lawyer and your client has been accused of stealing a car. How do you convince the jury your client is innocent?

#193. Think of the four elements: fire, air, earth, and water. Which of these four elements do you like the best?

#194. What would you do if you could be invisible for a whole day? Do you think you would enjoy it or be glad to be back to normal the next day? Write about it!

#195. Imagine you are a meteorologist and people are starting to get angry that your weather predictions are always wrong. What do you do?

#196. If you could create any law, what would it be? Why do you think the law is an important one to have?

#197. You are going incognito and need to hide to your identity so you aren’t recognized or discovered while you walk through the city. What type of disguise do you wear?

#198. Write a persuasive letter to your parents explaining why you should get a new pet. Make sure you provide a convincing argument they won’t be able to refuse!

#199. Your friend wants to do something dangerous. What should you do?

#200. How do you think the world would be different if there were no oceans?

#201. What do you do when someone disagrees with your opinions? Is there a better way to handle conflicting opinions?

#202. What do you think you as a kid could do to help encourage more people to read?

#203. Do you have a good luck charm? What makes this item lucky? When do you use it? How do you use it?

#204. What is at the end of a rainbow? Imagine you follow a rainbow to the end. What do you discover? Is it a pot of gold, or something else?

Use these prompts in your classroom!  Get the  ad-free printable version of these prompts  to inspire your students to write! Thank you for your support!

#205. What do you think the consequences should be for someone who is caught cheating on a test at school?

#206. Imagine you are riding your bike one day when you encounter an older kid who wants to steal your bike. What do you do?

#207. You are the lead singer and star of a famous rock and roll band, but there is one problem – your drummer is jealous of your fame! How do you solve this situation?

#208. If you could help a group of kids in any part of the world, what kids would you want to help the most and why? What are some things you think would help these kids?

#209. Everyone knows the house on the end of the street is haunted. What are some of the strange things that happen there? Why is the house haunted?

#210. You notice at school one day there is a door to a secret passage next to the janitor’s closet and decide to explore. Where does it lead? Why is it there? Do you go alone or bring a friend along?

#211. A bucket list is a list of things you want to accomplish in your lifetime. What are 5 things on your bucket list?

#212. Imagine the perfect treehouse or clubhouse for you and all of your friends as a place to hang out. Describe what it is like inside.

#213. Do you get bored easily? Make a list of things you can do whenever you feel like you are bored and there is nothing fun to do!

#214. Now vs. Then: Think about how today is different from one year ago. How have you changed? What things in your life are different?

#215. Write your autobiography about your life.

#216. It’s a heat wave! What do you do when the weather is hot? What are some of your favorite ways to stay cool?

#217. What are three important safety tips every kid should know to stay safe?

#218. What genre of books do you like to read the most? Write about the characteristics of the genre and list some of your favorite books as examples.

#219. Holiday Traditions: How does your family celebrate the different holidays and events? What are some traditions you do each and every year?

#220. Imagine one day in science class a science experiment goes terribly wrong and now you and all of your classmates have superpowers! What are your superpowers and what do you do with them?

superheroes writing prompts for kids

#221. Who is favorite teacher? Why are they your favorite?

#222. You are baking a cake, but you accidentally put salt in the cake instead of sugar. Nobody will eat it! How do you feel? What will you do next time?

#223. Do you think it is important to have good table manners? What do you think some good manners to practice might be?

#224. Many schools no longer teach cursive handwriting. Do you think this is a good or bad thing? Do you know how to write cursive handwriting? Would you like to learn if you haven’t?

#225. If you were the owner of a theme park, what types of rides and attractions would have? Describe what they would be like and why people would want to visit your park.

#226. Your parents give you $100 to spend at the grocery store. What do you buy and why?

#227. Some people who are alive today grew up without computers or video games. What would you do if you didn’t have a computer or video games? How would life be different?

#228. You walk into your living room and discover there is a giant elephant standing there. How did the elephant get there? What do you do about it? How do you explain the elephant in the living room to your parents?

#229. Have you ever had a weird dream? What happened in the dream? What do you think it means?

#230. Do you like to draw or paint? Write a story inspired by a painting, doodle, or sketch.

#231. You are being sent on a mission to outer space to live in a space station for 5 years. What supplies do you pack and why?

#232. What is the scariest creature alive on earth? Describe in detail what makes it so horrifying.

#233. What do you think your pet might say if they could talk to you?

#234. Imagine your school is putting on a talent show. What act will you perform? What other acts will be in the show?

#235. If you could breathe under water, what would you do?

#236. What time of day do you think school should start? Write a convincing argument on why or why not the time of day school starts should change.

#237. If you were to start your own YouTube video channel, what would the videos on your channel be about?

#238. Do you like to cook? What are some things you like to make and eat?

#239. Your school is having a field day and you are in charge of planning the activities and games. What types of activities and games would you plan for the event?

#240. If you had a remote control drone that takes video of everything it sees from the sky and you could take it anywhere, what would you film? For example, the inside of a volcano or soar it over the plains of Africa.

#241. The Bermuda Triangle is an area of the ocean where many ships and planes have gone missing. Why do you think this could be? Write a story about what it might be like to travel there.

#242. There are 7 great wonders of the world – which one do you think is the most wonderful?

#243. If you could speak any foreign language fluently, which one would you like to speak and why?

#244. You are inventing a new flavor of ice cream! What is the new flavor called and what ingredients do you need to make it?

#245. Would you rather go to a baseball game or read a good book? What reasons do you have for your choice?

#246. You walk outside to get your mail and your mailbox starts talking to you! What does your mailbox have to say?

#247. Imagine you are a famous person. What are you most famous for? What is it like to be famous?

#248. What do you think would be the most fun job in the world to have? Give examples of why you think it would be a fun job to have.

#249. Write a poem about an object that is shiny and dazzling.

#250. Do you like to watch the Olympics? Why or why not? If yes, what is your favorite Olympic sport?

#251. What kind of car do you want to drive when you are older? Do you think learning to drive will be easy or hard?

#252. What do you think would make for a great gift to give someone on their birthday?

#253. Describe a time when you needed help and someone helped you. What did they help you with and how did it make you feel?

#254. If you could be any type of fruit or vegetable, what would you be and why?

Love these prompts?  Get the  ad-free printable version of these prompts  to use at home or in the classroom!

#255. Do you think it is more important to have a good imagination or have all the facts proven?

#256. Do you have a favorite aunt, uncle, or another relative? Write a story about their life and why you like to be with them.

#257. Think of a time you laughed really, really hard. What was so funny? Why were you laughing? Write about it!

#258. Write a poem about an emotion. For example: happy, sad, angry, embarrassed, guilty.

#259. Do you ever have a hard time falling asleep? What are some things that help you feel sleepy?

#260. If you could drive a car, where would you drive and why?

#261. Imagine you are trading places with your friend for a day. What will it be like to be at their house? What will your friend think while they are at your house? Write about it!

#262. If you could break a world record, what would it be? What do you think would be necessary to be able to break the world record?

#263. Imagine you live in Colonial times. What would it be like to grow up as a kid in Colonial America?

#264. You are building a new city. What is the name of your city? What is the weather like? What buildings will you build?

#265. What do you think it would be like to work as a sailor on big ship in the ocean each day?

ocean writing prompt

#266. Imagine you are the teacher for the day. What types of activities do you make the students in the class do?

#267. How would you feel if your parents told you that you would be getting a new baby brother or sister? Write about it!

#268. Do you know any good jokes? What are some of your favorite jokes? What makes them funny? Do you think you could write your own?

#269. Imagine you are floating down a river on a raft. What types of things can you see from the river that you normally wouldn’t see from the land?

#270. You want to start a new hobby collecting something. What kinds of things would you collect and why?

#271. Your mom announces she is having a yard sale. Would you let her sell any of your things? Why or why not?

#272. Imagine you walk out your front door one morning and it is raining popcorn! What do you do?

#273.  You are camping in the woods one night and hear a scary noise. What do you do? What might be the cause?

#274. What do you think might make kids really happy to go to school? What are some things you think schools should do so that it could be more fun?

#275. Today’s lunch at the cafeteria was unusually horrible. You are a detective on the case to investigate. What do you think is the cause?

#276. If you had a tree that grows money, what would you do?

#277. What would you do if you had a unicorn as a pet?

#278. Would you rather go to the zoo or go to the aviary? Which one would you pick and why?

#279. What are some safety tips you should follow when riding a bike?

#280. You are designing the cover of a magazine. What are some of the headlines on the cover?

#281. Are you afraid of the dark? Why or why not?

#282. If you could learn to play any type of musical instrument, which one would you like to learn how to play and why?

#283. Imagine you are playing a sport that involves a ball, such as soccer, baseball or kickball. What would it be like if the ball could talk?

#284. You come home to discover a friendly alien has been living in your closet. What do you do? Why is there an alien in your closet?

#285. Is there something you are afraid of that you wish you weren’t afraid of? Write about it.

#286. Write about the best party you’ve ever been to. What made the day fun and special?

#287. What makes you feel loved and cared about? What are some ways people can show you that they love and care about you?

#288. There is a kite flying competition coming up and you are going to design your own kite. What will your kite look like? What colors will it be? Will it have any certain shape?

#289. You are given the challenge to drop an egg on the floor – without it breaking! What are some things you might try to make sure the egg won’t break?

#290. What are some of the things you can do every day to stay healthy?

#291. Do you think grown-ups are boring? Why do you think they are so boring all of the time? What is something fun that boring grown-ups could do instead of being so boring?

#292. Write a lyrical poem or song about what kids do while they are at school all day long.

#293. What are the first things you like to do when you are done with school each day? What are some of the activities you like when you are not at school?

#294. Imagine dinosaurs were still alive today. How do you think our lives would be different?

#295. Would you rather visit a volcano or a desert? Which one would you choose and why?

#296. Is there a sound you think is annoying? What types of sounds drive you crazy? Write about them!

#297. What do you think it would be like to be the size of an ant for a day? What types of things would you do?

Writing Prompt: What would it be like if your teddy bear came to life?

#298. Imagine one of your stuffed animals comes to life and starts talking to you. What types of things will you talk about? What will you do?

#299. What makes you feel happiest? Write about the things in life that make you feel happy!

#300. Imagine there is no gravity. What kind of things would you do you for fun? How would some of the things you already do for fun be different?

Buy the Printable Cards!  We will always have this list of 300 kids writing prompts available for free, but I’m very excited to now also offer an  ad-free printable version of these prompts  in my online Etsy shop. Thank you for your support!

Parents and teachers, I hope you enjoyed these 300 writing prompts for kids and that you will use them to inspire your children’s creative imaginations.

These prompts of course can be used in a number of different ways and can be adapted for a variety of different styles of writing !

What do you think? Do you think these are good conversation and story starters for kids? Do you have any ideas for writing prompts you would like to share?

And of course, if you’d like to make it super fun and easy to use these prompts at home or in your classroom, be sure to get our ad-free printable version of these kids writing prompt cards now available in my Etsy shop.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on different creative writing ideas and topics for kids to write about! Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Chelle Stein wrote her first embarrassingly bad novel at the age of 14 and hasn't stopped writing since. As the founder of ThinkWritten, she enjoys encouraging writers and creatives of all types.

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51 Creative Writing Activities For The Classroom: Comics, Prompts, Games, And Pretend Play

January 4, 2024 //  by  Milka Kariuki

Creative writing can be tough for learners of any age. From knowing where to start to establishing the vocabulary to develop their story, there are a bunch of different skills they’ll need to perfect their creative writing pieces. There are so many creative writing activities out there, but which ones are best for your kiddos? Our list of 51 creative writing activities is the perfect place to start looking if you’ve got a creative writing unit coming up! Read on and see which ones might grab your little writers’ attention!

1. Make Your Own Comic Books

creative writing examples for primary school

We bet your kiddos just love comic books! Let them create their very own in the style of the super popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid books! Encourage your students to come up with their own plot, dialogue, and illustrations to spark their creativity. Even your most reluctant writers will love this fun activity! 

Learn More: Puffin Schools

2. Mad Libs

creative writing examples for primary school

Using Mad Libs is a super popular way to develop your little creative writers! Use these free printables to get their creative juices flowing as they try to come up with words to fill the gaps to create weird and wonderful new stories. The best thing is that you can use these printables as many times as you like as their answers will be different each time!

Learn More: Teacher Vision

3. Flash Fiction

creative writing examples for primary school

Flash fiction is a fantastic way to get your kiddies writing creatively while keeping things short and sweet! Use the range you prompts included in this resource to challenge them to write a creative story in less than 100 words. Flash fiction is amazing because your students won’t be overwhelmed by a huge writing task and it also means that your more confident writers will need to focus on the quality of their work, not the quantity! 

Learn More: TES

4. Write a Story Based on the Ending

creative writing examples for primary school

Test your students’ creativity by providing them with writing prompts that start at the end! In backward story writing, your budding writers will need to plan and pen a story that eventually leads to the ending you give them. This idea is a fantastic way to turn your traditional creative writing lesson on its head and in many ways take the pressure off your kids, as ending their stories is often the most difficult part for them!

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

5. Found Poetry

creative writing examples for primary school

Your learners will love this fun and creative found poetry activity. You can encourage them to collect words or a group of words from a favorite story or song then write them on a piece of paper or cut them out of a printed page. The overall goal is to have them rearrange the words differently to make an interesting poem with a unique writing style or genre!

Learn More: Homeschooling Ideas

6. Picture Dictionary

creative writing examples for primary school

A picture dictionary is a brilliant way to support every member of your younger elementary class in their creative writing. The words paired with pictures give your writers a ‘dictionary’ that they can use pretty independently, so your less confident writers or non-native English-speaking students can still access your writing lessons! 

Learn More: Twinkl

7. Creative Journal Writing

creative writing examples for primary school

Why not start a creative journal with your kiddos? Have them engage in daily journaling activities by giving them a different creative prompt each day. For instance, write a story about what would happen if dogs took over the world or what would you do if you were the security guard at a zoo and someone stole an animal? The fun is never-ending with these prompts!  

Learn More: Think Written  

8. Roll a Story

creative writing examples for primary school

Roll-a-Story is one of the best ways to help any of your kids who are suffering from a bout of writer’s block! They’ll roll the dice to discover the character, setting, and problem for their story then set to work weaving their creative tale! It could be a story about a wise doctor being chased by a mysterious creature in a casino, or maybe a rich artist losing their wallet in a library. Then it’s up to your students to fill in the gaps!

Learn More: TPT

9. Pass-it-on Story Writing

creative writing examples for primary school

There’s no telling quite where this fun writing game will end up! Start by writing the first sentence of a story on a piece of paper then pass it around your class, having your kids come up with a sentence that continues the story. The paper is then passed around the whole class until every student has contributed. Finally, once it makes its way back to you, read out your collaborative story to the whole class!

Learn More: Minds In Bloom

10. Picture Writing Prompts

creative writing examples for primary school

Creative writing prompts activities test not only your little ones’ imaginations but also their ability to craft a story and dialogue from that. Display an intriguing picture prompt for your class and have a discussion about it, recording their ideas. You could discuss what the person or animal in the picture is doing or what they’re thinking, where they think the picture was taken, and much more. They can use your collective notes to inspire their story!

Learn More: Pandora Post

11. What’s the Question?

creative writing examples for primary school

What’s the Question is a simple, yet super engaging game that requires your young learners to think creatively. Spark their creativity by writing an answer on the whiteboard such as “the moon would explode,” and task your kiddos with coming up with a question to match it. There’ll be lots of laughs as everyone shares what they came up with!

Learn More: That Afterschool Life

12. Creative Writing Printables

creative writing examples for primary school

This website is absolutely full of quick and fun graphics for children that’ll encourage their creative writing! The cute graphics and simple directions make it an easy bellringer activity for your writing class. Just print out some of these cool sheets and let your students get creative as they write thank-you notes to helpful heroes or finish little cartoon comics!

Learn More: Jarrett Lerner

13. Paint Chip Poetry

Nothing says creative writing quite like figurative language! Grab some of these free paint swatches from your local home improvement store and have your students create metaphors about their chosen color! We love this low-prep activity as once your kids have finished their poems, they’re a ready-made multi-colored display that’ll brighten the walls of your classroom! 

Learn More: Fabulous In Fifth

14. Story Storm Activities

creative writing examples for primary school

Once again, these Jarrett Lerner activities do not disappoint! Your students will have a blast pretending they are the principal for a day and they’ll get to create their very own rules for the school. Not only will this be an engaging writing exercise that we’re sure they’ll love getting creative with, but it also challenges children to think about why rules in school are important.

Learn More: Tara Lazar

15. Story Bag

creative writing examples for primary school

Story bags are a fantastic way to destroy any kind of writer’s block! Grab an assortment of random objects from your home or classroom and pop them into the story bag. Next, gather your students around and pull out all the objects in the bag. Can they then write a story connecting all the items? Be sure to leave time to let them share their stories at the end of the lesson!

Learn More: Life Hack

16. Change the Ending

creative writing examples for primary school

An easy way to ease your kiddos into the writing process is by having them rewrite part of a story. Grab their favorite read-aloud, and challenge them to come up with a new ending! They’ll need to finish the story in a way that makes sense, but aside from that, they can be as creative as they like! Your reluctant readers will like this one as much of the work on setting and characters has already been done! 

Learn More: Make Beliefs Comix

17. Plot Twist Writing Prompts

creative writing examples for primary school

BUT WAIT – there’s a twist…This fun writing practice is perfect for older middle or high school but could also be simplified for younger students. Write these twist prompts on notecards and have your kids draw one each before letting them go off and write a story around their chosen twist! They’ll be eager to share their finished work with classmates at the end. After all, who doesn’t love a good plot twist?

Learn More: Pinterest

18.  Craft Box Craft

creative writing examples for primary school

Every kid loves the book The Day the Crayons Quit for its creative narrative about this familiar box of coloring supplies! This extension activity rolls art and creative writing into one! Your students will have fun coming up with dialogue for each of the different crayons and you could even make it into a fun display for your classroom walls!

Learn More: Buggy And Buddy

19. Dialogue Pictures

creative writing examples for primary school

Personalizing writing activities always makes it more engaging for kids! Print out a picture of yourself with a blank speech bubble, and model how to add in some dialogue. Then, let your kiddos practice speech bubbling with a photo of themselves, a pet, or a favorite celebrity, and have them come up with some interesting things for each of their subjects to say!

Learn More: SSS Teaching

20. Figurative Language Tasting

creative writing examples for primary school

Your students will be creative writers in no time after practicing their figurative language with food tasting! Not only do tasty treats make this activity incredibly fun, but it also brings the writing process of metaphors and hyperbole to life. Just give each of your kids a few pieces of candy or snacks, and have them practice writing figures of speech relating to each one! They’ll have the words on the tip of their tongue- literally! 

Learn More: It’s Lit Teaching

21. Explode the Moment

creative writing examples for primary school

One of my favorite writing concepts as a teacher is ‘exploding the moment’. This method is perfect for showing your kiddies that even the smallest moment can be turned into an imaginative, descriptive story! Start by having them brainstorm some ideas and expand on tiny memories like losing a tooth, getting a pet, or making a winning goal in a soccer game!

Learn More: Raise The Bar Reading

22. Round-Robin Storytelling

creative writing examples for primary school

Round-robin storytelling is the perfect collaborative creative writing activity! This one can be done verbally or in writing, and it challenges your class to build a story using a given set of words. They’ll have a fun and challenging time figuring out how to incorporate each piece into one cohesive story.

Learn More: Random Acts Of Kindness

23. Acrostic Poems

creative writing examples for primary school

Acrostic poetry is one of the least intimidating creative writing exercises as there are no rules other than starting each line with the letter from a word. Challenge your kiddies to use each letter in their name to write lines of poetry about themselves, or they could choose to write about their favorite food or animal!

Learn More: Surfin’ Through Second

24. Sentence Sticks

creative writing examples for primary school

This exercise requires minimal prep and can be used in so many different ways. All you’ll need are some craft sticks in which you will write sentences with blanks and word banks. Your young writers can then pull a stick and fill in the blanks to practice creative thinking! Task them with a different goal each time; can they make the sentence silly or sad for example?

Learn More: Liz’s Early Learning Spot

25. Conversation Prompts

These fun prompts require your kids to think creatively and answer a range of interesting questions. They’ll be excited to write stories about waking up with a mermaid tail or describe what is in a mystery package delivered to their doorstep! These creative prompts are perfect for bellringers or transitions throughout the school day!

Learn More: Twitter

26. Pretend Play Writing

creative writing examples for primary school

Do you remember playing with fake money and fake food when you were younger? This idea takes it a step further by incorporating some writing practice! All you’ll have to do is print the templates for dollars, shopping lists, and recipes then let your little learners have fun with these play-pretend writing ideas!

Learn More: Prekinders

27. Question Cubes

Your class will be on a roll with these amazing question cubes! Whether the cubes are used for responding to a story, brainstorming the plot of a story, or practicing speech and listening, they are an easy, affordable tool for your little readers and writers! You can snag some foam dice at the dollar store and hot glue questions on each side to spark some creative writing ideas for your class.

Learn More: A Love 4 Teaching

28. Balderdash

creative writing examples for primary school

Not only is Balderdash an addicting board game, but it can even be used in the classroom! Your little learners will have a blast as they create made-up, imaginative definitions for words, important people, and dates. Whoever guesses the real answer out of the mix wins the points!

Learn More: EB Academics

29. Two Sentence Horror Story

creative writing examples for primary school

This creative writing exercise is best for older students and would be a great one to try out around Halloween! You’ll be challenging your learners to write a story that runs chills up their readers’ spines, but there’s a twist…the story can only be two sentences long! Your kiddos will love writing and sharing their writing to see who can come up with the spookiest short story!

30. Telephone Pictionary

creative writing examples for primary school

Another game that your kids will be begging to play over and over again is telephone pictionary! The first player will write down a random phrase, and the next person must draw their interpretation of the phrase. The third player will write what they think the picture is and so on!

Learn More: Imagine Forest

31. Consequences

You need at least two players for this fun creative writing game. Each pair or group of kids will start by having one person write a random phrase and conceal it by folding the paper. Then, they pass it to the next student to fill in the blank using the prompt. Once all the blanks are filled in, let them unfold the paper and get ready to reveal some seriously silly stories!

32. Story Wands

creative writing examples for primary school

​​Story wands are a fun way to have your kids respond to stories and study what makes something their favorite. Responding to what they’re reading is a super helpful exercise in preparing them for creative writing as it allows your students to connect to their favorite stories. By figuring out what elements make stories great, this is sure to help them in their own creative writing assignments!

Learn More: Little Lifelong Learners

33. The Best Part of Me

creative writing examples for primary school

Probably my favorite creative writing activity, this one is infused with social-emotional learning and self-esteem building! Let your students get to choose their favorite physical characteristics about themselves; whether it be their eyes, hands, feet, etc. Then, they take a picture to attach to their written reasoning! Make sure to boost the creative element of this writing task by encouraging your learners to use a bunch of adjectives and some figurative language!

Learn More: Sarah Gardner Teaching

34. Me From A-Z

creative writing examples for primary school

Challenge your kiddos to get creative by coming up with 26 different words to describe themselves! Me From A-Z gives your students the opportunity to explore who they are by coming up with words describing them in some way using each letter of the alphabet. Why not let them decorate their lists and turn them into a display celebrating the uniqueness of each of your class members?

35. How to Make Hot Chocolate

creative writing examples for primary school

How-to writing is a great way to get the creative writing wheels turning in your kiddies’ brains! They’ll have a fun time coming up with their instructions and ways to explain how to make hot chocolate! Do they have a secret recipe that’ll make the best-ever hot cocoa!? Once they’ve written their instructions, be sure to try them out and do a taste-test of their recipes!

Learn More: Teacher Mama

36. Give Yourself a Hand

creative writing examples for primary school

Hands up if you love this idea! For this creative writing activity, have your little ones trace their hand on a piece of paper and decorate it with accessories. Then, encourage them to write a list of all the different things they do with their hands all over their tracing! This is a great warm-up to get the creative gears turning.

Learn More: Write Now Troup

37. Word Picture Poem

creative writing examples for primary school

A word picture poem is a fantastic way to challenge your kids to write descriptive poetry about a common object! Your little poets will learn to find beauty in ordinary things and strengthen their sensory language skills and their vocabulary. For some added fun, you can even task them with writing a short story about the item as well! The results are sure to be fun to read!

Learn More: Teaching With Terhune

38. Shape Poem

creative writing examples for primary school

Shape poems are some of the most creative poetry as they combine words and art into one! First, your young poets can choose an object to use as their muse and lightly trace an outline onto some paper. Then, they’ll write words along the outlined shape in the form of a poem that describes the object! The result is a bunch of fun and striking poems that’ll look great displayed around your classroom!

39. Crazy Hair Poetry

creative writing examples for primary school

Here’s another one that combines writing and art! Start by guiding your kiddos in drawing a self-portrait then adding some crazy hair by blowing watercolor paints around! After the paint dries, have your kids come up with a short but creative poem describing their hair art.

Learn More: Grade School Giggles

40. Fingerprint Poetry

creative writing examples for primary school

Nothing is more creative than getting your kiddies to let down the barriers in their mind and tap into their stream of consciousness! Show them how to pick a topic and then let their words flow straight from mind to paper in a swirling pattern. This fingerprint idea can be used for a get-to-know-you activity as well!

Learn More: Kristen Dembroski

41. Doggie Haiku Poems

creative writing examples for primary school

Put a fun twist on classic haiku poetry! Your students will have a paw-some time writing three-line poems about dogs which they can then illustrate afterwards! Before starting the activity, you can use Dogku by Andrew Clements as a read-aloud to get your class hooked on this idea!

Learn More: Teaching Fourth

42. Fractured Fairy Tale

creative writing examples for primary school

Ever wondered if the Big Bad Wolf was framed? Or if Sleeping Beauty was actually a snorer? Your writers in training will have a fun time taking a classic fairytale and putting their own spin on it! Following five simple steps, your kids will be funky fairytale authors in no time!

43. Letter Writing

creative writing examples for primary school

These creative letter-writing prompts are sure to boost your kiddies’ imaginative writing skills! Whether writing to a pen pal or a favorite celebrity, letter writing is a great way to practice handwriting, word flow, descriptive language, and communicating all rolled into one! Have your writers grab their pencils and let the creativity flow as they write fun response letters to these prompts!

44. Hersey’s Kisses Similes

creative writing examples for primary school

Teach sensory language and similes by connecting this tasty treat with the sense of taste! Your students will have a lovely time brainstorming how chocolate connects to each of our senses and applying that knowledge by writing some sweet similies! What a fantastic way to teach them how to use these essential creative writing tools!

Learn More: Teacher By The Beach

45. Sensory Poetry

creative writing examples for primary school

Another great way to teach sensory details is to have your learners write poems about their favorite foods! Task them with writing a line for each sense to describe the food! Everyone will be hungry after this creative writing lesson so it might be a good idea to have some snacks on hand!

Learn More: Mrs. Tice’s Class

46. Season Personification

creative writing examples for primary school

Each season of weather has an array of characteristics making this the perfect activity to practice personification in creative writing! Allow your little writers to choose a season to write about as if it were a person with human characteristics. Winter is a no-brainer! It’s Elsa!

Learn More: Write Shop

47. Class Book of Character Traits

creative writing examples for primary school

To be creative writers, your kids need to know how to create realistic characters for their stories. For this class book, you’ll start by giving each student two opposing character traits. Next, have them demonstrate these traits by illustrating two characters and displaying them through dialogue!

Learn More: Crafting Connections

48. Socialgrams

creative writing examples for primary school

With Instagram being all the rage these days, your kiddos will have a fun time creating a ‘socialgram’ on paper! Challenge them to create a descriptive and engaging caption to go along with their “photo” in the post. Then, classmates can comment on each other’s work! 

Learn More: Breezy Special Ed

49. Story Introduction Worksheets

creative writing examples for primary school

Creative writing worksheets are a simple, minimal-prep tool to use in your creative writing units. Print out a variety of options, and have your kids practice their skills by finishing imaginative story introductions. By giving them a place to start their story, you can really take the pressure off your kids which will help ease them into the creative writing process!

Learn More: Lanternfish ESL

50. Dialogue Worksheets

creative writing examples for primary school

Here’s another low-prep option for the last-minute planners! Pre-written dialogue can help guide the mood of the story and allow your kiddies to just focus on filling in the characters’ actions. This is also a great way to model how dialogue is spaced out and balanced in a story!

Learn More: ESL Writing Worksheets

51. Character Trait Posters

creative writing examples for primary school

In this personalized character trait activity, your students will create a poster of themselves and label it with a bunch of different character traits. Descriptive, interesting characters are what make a story captivating, so this is a great introduction to understanding characters and their physical as well as personality traits! This is an activity that’s sure to help them build a strong foundation for their creative writing skills to build from!

Learn More: Life In First Grade

Writing Prompts for Elementary School Students

Tim Platt/Getty Images

  • M.S., Education, Buffalo State College
  • B.S., Education, Buffalo State College

Writing is an essential skill and an important part of elementary school studies. However, writing inspiration does not come easily to every student. Like adults, many children experience writer's block , particularly when an assignment is extremely open-ended.

Good writing prompts get students' creative juices flowing , help them write more freely, and ease any anxiety they may feel about the writing process. To integrate writing prompts into your lessons, ask students to choose one writing prompt each day or week. To make the activity more challenging, encourage them to write without stopping for at least five minutes, increasing the number of minutes that they devote to writing over time.

Remind your students that there is no wrong way to respond to the prompts and that they should simply have fun and let their creative minds wander. After all, just as athletes need to warm up their muscles, writers need to warm up their minds.

Elementary School Writing Prompts

  • My biggest goal in life is...
  • The best book I ever read was...
  • The happiest moment in my life was when...
  • When I grow up, I want to...
  • The most interesting place I have ever been to was...
  • Name three things you don't like about school and why.
  • The strangest dream I ever had was...
  • The person I admire most is...
  • When I turn 16, I will...
  • Who is the funniest member of your family and why?
  • I get scared when...
  • Five things I would do if I had more money are...
  • What is your favorite sport and why?
  • What would you do if you could change the world?
  • Dear teacher, I would like to know...
  • Dear President Washington, what was it like to be the first president?
  • My happiest day was...
  • My saddest day was...
  • If I had three wishes, I would wish for...
  • Describe your best friend, how you met, and why you are friends.
  • Describe your favorite animal and why.
  • Three things I like to do with my pet elephant are...
  • The time a bat was in my house...
  • When I become an adult, the first thing I want to do is...
  • My best vacation was when I went to...
  • The top three reasons that people argue are...
  • Describe five reasons that going to school is important.
  • What is your favorite television show and why?
  • The time I found a dinosaur in my backyard...
  • Describe the best present you ever received.
  • Describe your most unusual talent.
  • My most embarrassing moment was when...
  • Describe your favorite food and why.
  • Describe your least favorite food and why.
  • The top three qualities of a best friend are...
  • Write about what you would cook for an enemy.
  • Use these words in a story: scared, angry, Sunday, bugs.
  • What's your idea of a perfect vacation?
  • Write about why someone might be afraid of snakes.
  • List five rules that you have broken and why you broke them.
  • What is your favorite video game and why?
  • I wish someone had told me that...
  • Describe the hottest day you can remember.
  • Write about the best decision you've ever made.
  • I opened the door, saw a clown, and then...
  • The last time the power went out, I...
  • Write about five things you can do if the power goes out.
  • If I were president, I would...
  • Create a poem using the words: l o ve, happy, smart, sunny.
  • The time my teacher forgot to wear shoes...
  • For prompts that ask students to write about a person, encourage them to write two responses—one response about a friend or family member, and another about someone they don't know personally. This exercise encourages children to think outside the box.
  • Remind students that their responses can be fantastical. When the confines of realism are eliminated, students are free to think more creatively, which often inspires greater engagement in the project.

If you're looking for more writing ideas, try our lists of journal prompts  or ideas for writing about important people in history like Martin Luther King Jr .

  • Writing Prompts for 5th Grade
  • 24 Journal Prompts for Creative Writing in the Elementary Classroom
  • Writing Prompts for 7th Grade
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20 Creative Writing Activities for Elementary Students

  • November 23, 2021

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? While your young learners are probably not ready to write an entire book, this month is a great time to practice creative writing skills with your students. Not only can creative writing be helpful for teaching vocabulary and sentence structure, but it can also encourage students to use imaginative thinkin g —and even find a genuine love of writing!

All of these 20 creative writing activities can be used with elementary school students to practice reading and writing skills. We’ve included options for both early elementary students, who may still be learning to write, and elementary students in upper grades who are ready to work on projects of their choosing.

creative writing examples for primary school

1. Join the NaNoWriMo organization’s Young Writers Program (YWP) ! Together, your students can work on all sorts of age-appropriate writing challenges and activities throughout the year—including a project of their choice in November!

2. To practice pre-writing skills and collaborating on a project, try these shared writing project activities .

3. If you have any budding cartoonists in your class, this Finish the Comic activity from author Jarrett Lerner can be a great way for younger students to practice writing dialogue.

4. Teach your students about adjectives and writing descriptions with this Popcorn Adjectives activity .

5. Students can learn about creative writing by studying imagery and poetry by established authors. Using this writing worksheet , kids can write out their thoughts about a poem and draw images that stand out to them.

6. To teach creative thinking skills with kindergarteners and early elementary students, try this Mystery Seed writing activity .

7. Get families involved, too! Share these fun home writing activities with your student’s families to help them practice at home.

8. Print out and put together a Writing Jar with tons of creative writing prompts to inspire your students.

9. Check out this resource for even more writing prompts focused on imaginative thinking.

creative writing examples for primary school

10. Try blackout poetry , an activity that encourages students to make their own beautiful art from a work that already exists.

11. Creative writing isn’t limited to fiction. This narrative writing activity can teach students to write events clearly and in sequence from their real life.

12. For a creative writing project that’s just plain fun, try this Roll a Story activity.

13. This nonfiction project helps children learn to write a letter as they write to a loved one of their choice.

14. If you want to give your students some freedom in choosing a writing assignment, hang up this Writing Prompt Choice Board in your classroom and let them answer whichever prompt they’d like!

15. Encourage students to keep their own journal throughout the year. You could even give them time each morning to respond to a journal prompt .

16. Use this journal page template to help students structure and compile journal entries.

17. These printable Mad Libs can teach children different parts of a sentence while they use their imaginations to create a story.

18. Use this What? So What? Now What? exercise (#6 at the link) to help students structure their creative writing projects.

19. To teach children how to create descriptive sentences, play this Show, Don’t Tell writing activity .

20. If you’d like to hold a month-long creative writing activity, try this 30-Day Writing Challenge for kids .

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  • Creative Writing Prompts Activities And Resources For Ks1 And Ks2 English

Creative writing prompts – Best activities and resources for KS1 and KS2 English

Schoolboy and teacher in creative writing lesson

Fed up of reading 'and then…', 'and then…' in your children's writing? Try these story starters, structures, worksheets and other fun writing prompt resources for primary pupils…

Laura Dobson

What is creative writing?

How to develop opportunities for writing with choice and freedom, jump to section:.

  • Writing with choice and freedom

Creative writing resources for the classroom

Creative writing prompts.

  • Improving creative writing
  • Overcoming the fear of creative writing

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, ‘creative’ is ‘producing or using original and unusual ideas’, yet I would argue that in writing there’s no such thing as an original idea – all stories are reincarnations of ones that have gone before.

As writers we learn to be expert magpies – selecting the shiny words, phrases and ideas from other stories and taking them for our own.  

Interestingly, the primary national curriculum does not mention creative writing or writing for pleasure at all and is focused on the skill of writing.

Therefore, if writing creatively and for pleasure is important in your school, it must be woven into your vision for English.

“Interestingly, the Primary National Curriculum does not mention creative writing or writing for pleasure at all”

Creative writing in primary schools can be broken into two parts:

  • writing with choice and freedom
  • developing story writing

Writing with choice and freedom allows children to write about what interests and inspires them.  

Developing story writing provides children with the skills they need to write creatively. In primary schools this is often taught in a very structured way and, particularly in the formative years, can lack opportunities for children to be creative.

Children are often told to retell a story in their own words or tweak a detail such as the setting or the main character.  

Below you’ll find plenty of creative writing prompts, suggestions and resources to help develop both writing for choice and freedom and developing story writing in your classroom. 

Here’s an interesting question to consider: if the curriculum disappeared but children still had the skills to write, would they?

I believe so – they’d still have ideas they wanted to convey and stories they wanted to share.

One of my children enjoys writing and the other is more reluctant to mark make when asked to, but both choose to write. They write notes for friends, song lyrics, stories and even business plans.

So how can we develop opportunities to write with choice and freedom in our classrooms?

Early Years classrooms are full of opportunities for children to write about what interests them, but it’s a rarer sight in KS1 and 2.  

Ask children what they want to write about

Reading for pleasure has quite rightly been prioritised in schools and the impact is clear. Many of the wonderful ideas from The Open University’s Reading For Pleasure site can be used and adapted for writing too.

For example, ask children to create a ‘writing river’ where they record the writing they choose to do across a week.

If pupils like writing about a specific thing, consider creating a short burst writing activity linked to this. The below Harry Potter creative writing activity , where children create a new character and write a paragraph about them, is an example of this approach.

creative writing examples for primary school

If you have a spare 20 minutes, listen to the below conversation with Lucy and Jonathan from HeadteacherChat and Alex from LinkyThinks . They discuss the importance of knowing about children’s interests but also about being a writer yourself.

'The confidence Crisis in Creative Writing.' Lucy and Jonathan chat with Alex from @LinkyThinks — HeadteacherChat (@Headteacherchat) August 9, 2022

Plan in time to pursue personal writing projects 

There are lots of fantastic ideas for developing writing for pleasure in your classrooms on The Writing For Pleasure Centre’s website .

One suggestion is assigning time to pursue personal writing projects. The Meadows Primary School in Madeley Heath, Staffordshire, does this termly and provides scaffolds for children who may find the choice daunting.

Give children a choice about writing implements and paper 

Sometimes the fun is in the novelty. Are there opportunities within your week to give pupils some choices about the materials they use? Ideas could include:

  • little notebooks
  • a roll of paper
  • felt tip pens
  • gel pens  

Write for real audiences 

This is a great way to develop children’s motivation to write and is easy to do.

It could be a blog, a class newsletter or pen pals. Look around in your community for opportunities to write – the local supermarket, a nearby nursing home or the library are often all good starting points.

Have a go yourself

The most successful teachers of story writing write fiction themselves.

Many adults do not write creatively and trying to teach something you have not done yourself in a long time can be difficult. By having a go you can identify the areas of difficulty alongside the thought processes required.  

Treat every child as an author

Time is always a premium in the classroom but equally, we’re all fully aware of the impact of verbal feedback.

One-to-one writing conferences have gained in popularity in primary classrooms and it’s well-worth giving these a go if you haven’t already.

Set aside time to speak to each child about the writing they’re currently constructing. Discuss what’s going well and what they could develop.

If possible, timetable these one-to-one discussions with the whole class throughout the year (ideally more often, if possible).  

Free KS2 virtual visit and resources

Children's authors on Author in your Classroom podcast

Bring best-selling children’s authors directly into your classroom with Author In Your Classroom. It’s a brilliant free podcast series made especially for schools, and there’s loads of free resources to download too.

More than 20 authors have recorded episodes so far, including:

  • Sir Michael Morpurgo
  • Dame Jacqueline Wilson
  • Michael Rosen
  • Joseph Coelho
  • Lauren Child
  • Frank Cottrell-Boyce
  • Benjamin Zephaniah
  • Cressida Cowell
  • Robin Stevens

Creative writing exercises

Rachel Clarke writing templates for primary English

Use these inspiring writing templates from Rachel Clarke to inspire pupils who find it difficult to get their thoughts down on the page. The structured creative writing prompts and activities, which range from writing a ‘ through the portal story ‘ to a character creation activity that involves making your own Top Trumps style cards, will help inexperienced writers to get started.

Storyboard templates and story structures

School pupil drawing a storyboard

Whether it’s short stories, comic strips or filmmaking, every tale needs the right structure to be told well. This storyboard template resource will help your children develop the skills required to add that foundation to their creative writing.

Ten-minute activities 

The idea of fitting another thing into the school day can feel overwhelming, so start with small creative writing activities once a fortnight. Below are a few ideas that have endless possibilities.

Character capers

creative writing examples for primary school

You need a 1-6 dice for this activity. Roll it three to find out who your character is, what their personality is and what job they do, then think about the following:

  • Can you draw them?
  • What questions would you ask them if you met them?
  • What might their answers be?
  • If they were the main character in a story, what might happen?

Download our character capers worksheet .

Setting soup

creative writing examples for primary school

In this activity pupils Look at the four photos and fill in a mind map for one of the settings, focusing on what they’d see, hear, feel, smell and feel in that location. They then write an ingredients list for their setting, such as:

  • A dollop of calmness 
  • A drizzle of a beautiful sunset 
  • A generous helping of a still ocean 
  • Copious amounts of smooth sand 
  • A spattering of lush, green palm trees 

Download our setting soup worksheet .

Use consequences to generate story ideas

creative writing examples for primary school

Start with a game of drawing consequences – this is a great way of building a new character.

creative writing examples for primary school

Next, play a similar game but write a story. Here’s an example . Download our free writing consequences template to get started.

creative writing examples for primary school

Roll and write a story

creative writing examples for primary school

For this quick activity, children roll a dice three times to choose a setting and two characters – for example, a theme park, an explorer and a mythical creature. They then use the results to create an outline for a story.

Got more than ten minutes? Use the outline to write a complete story. Alternatively, use the results to create a book cover and blurb or, with a younger group of children, do the activity as a class then draw or write about the outcome.

Download our roll and write a story worksheet .

Scavenger hunt

Give children something to hide and tell them they have to write five clues in pairs, taking another pair from one clue to the next until the 5th clue leads them to the hidden item.

For a challenge, the clues could be riddles.  

Set up pen pals. This might be with children in another country or school, or it could simply be with another class.

What do pupils want to say or share? It might be a letter, but it could be a comic strip, poem or pop-up book.  

You need a log-in to access Authorfy’s content but it’s free. The website is crammed with every children’s author imaginable, talking about their books and inspirations and setting writing challenges. It’s a great tool to inspire and enthuse.  

There are lots of great resources and videos on Oxford Owl which are free to access and will provide children with quick bursts of creativity.  

Creative writing ideas for KS2

Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 Fiction Collection

This free Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 fiction collection is packed with original short stories from the man himself, and a selection of teaching resources he’s created to accompany each one.

Each creative writing activity will help every young writer get their creative juices flowing and overcome writer’s block.

WAGOLL text types

creative writing examples for primary school

​Support pupils when writing across a whole range of text types and genres with these engaging writing packs from Plazoom , differentiated for KS1, LKS2 and UKS2.

They feature:

  • model texts (demonstrating WAGOLL for learners)
  • planning guides
  • writing templates
  • themed paper

Each one focuses on a particular kind of text, encouraging children to make appropriate vocabulary, register and layout choices, and produce the very best writing of which they are capable, which can be used for evidence of progress.

creative writing examples for primary school

If you teach KS2, start off by exploring fairy tales with a twist , or choose from 50+ other options .

Scaffolds and plot types

Creative writing scaffolds and plot types resource pack

A great way to support children with planning stories with structures, this creative writing scaffolds and plot types resource pack contains five story summaries, each covering a different plot type, which they can use as a story idea.

It has often been suggested that there are only seven basic plots a story can use, and here you’ll find text summaries for five of these:

  • Overcoming the monster
  • Rags to riches
  • Voyage and return

After familiarising themselves with these texts, children can adapt and change these stories to create tales of their own.

Use story starters

If some children still need a bit of a push in the right direction, check out our 6 superb story starters to develop creative writing skills . This list features a range of free story starter resources, including animations (like the one above) and even the odd iguana…

Use word mats to inspire

creative writing examples for primary school

Help pupils to write independently by providing them with helpful vocabulary sheets that they can pick and choose from when doing their own creative writing.

Download our free creative writing word mats here , including:

  • Create a spooky atmosphere
  • Write an adventure story
  • Describe a character’s appearance
  • Describe a character’s personality
  • Describe how a character moves
  • Describe how a character speaks
  • Describe a mythical beast

Creative writing pictures

creative writing examples for primary school

Using images as writing prompts is nothing new, but it’s fun and effective.

Pobble 365 has an inspiring photo for every day of the year. These are great inspiration for ten-minute free writing activities. You need to log in to Pobble but access to Pobble 365 (the pictures) is free.  

Choose two pictures as prompts (you can access every picture for the year in the calendar) or provide children with a range of starter prompts.

For example, with the photo above you might ask children to complete one of the following activities: 

  • Continue the story using the story starters on Pobble. 
  • Write down what your dream day would include. 
  • Create a superhero called Dolphin Dude.  
  • If you didn’t need to breath when swimming underwater, what would you do? Write about your dream day. It might include rivers, lakes, swimming pools, the seas or oceans.  
  • If you had a super power, what would it be and why?  

The Literacy Shed

Creative writing prompt of children walking down leafy tunnel

Website The Literacy Shed has a page dedicated to interesting pictures for creative writing . There are winter scenes, abandoned places, landscapes, woodlands, pathways, statues and even flying houses.

The Literacy Shed also hosts video clips for inspiring writing and is choc-full of ways to use them. The Night Zookeeper Shed is well worth a visit. There are short videos, activities and resources to inspire creative writing.

Once Upon a Picture

Creative writing picture prompt featuring flying whale

Once Upon a Picture is another site packed with creative writing picture prompts , but its focus is more on illustrations than photography, so its offering is great for letting little imaginations soar.

Each one comes with questions for kids to consider, or activities to carry out.

How to improve creative writing

Developing story writing .

If you decided to climb a mountain, in order to be successful you’d need to be well-equipped and you’d need to have practised with smaller climbs first.

The same is true of creative writing: to be successful you need to be well-equipped with the skills of writing and have had plenty of opportunities to practise.  

As a teachers you need to plan with this in mind – develop a writing journey which allows children to learn the art of story writing by studying stories of a similar style, focusing on how effects are created and scaffolding children’s writing activities so they achieve success.  

  • Choose a focus When planning, consider what skill you want to embed for children and have that as your focus throughout the sequence of learning. For example, if you teach Y4 you might decide to focus on integrating speech into stories. When your class looks at a similar story, draw their attention to how the author uses speech and discuss how it advances the action and shows you more about the characters. During the sequence, your class can practise the technical side of writing speech (new line/new speaker, end punctuation, etc). When they come to write their own story, your success criteria will be focused on using speech effectively. By doing this, the skill of using speech is embedded. If you chose to focus on ALL the elements of story writing that a Y4 child should be using (fronted adverbials, conjunctions, expanded noun phrases, etc), this might lead to cognitive overload.
  • Plan in chances to be creative Often teachers plan three writing opportunities: one where children retell the story, one with a slight difference (eg a different main character) and a final one where children invent their own story. However, in my experience, the third piece of writing often never happens because children have lost interest or time has run out. If we equip children with the skills, we must allow them time to use them.
  • Utilise paired writing Children love to collaborate and by working in pairs it actually helps develop independence. Give it a go!  
  • Find opportunities for real audiences Nothing is more motivating than knowing you will get to share your story with another class, a parent or the local nursing home.
  • Use high-quality stimuli If your focus is speech, find a great novel for kids that uses speech effectively. There are so many excellent children’s stories available that there’s no need to write your own.
  • Use magpie books This is somewhere where children can note down any great words or phrases they find from their reading. It will get them reading as a writer. 

Below is a rough outline of a planning format that leads to successful writing opportunities.

This sequence of learning takes around three weeks but may be longer or shorter, depending on the writing type.  

Before planning out the learning, decide on up to three key focuses for the sequence. Think about the potential learning opportunities that the stimuli supports (eg don’t focus on direct speech if you’re writing non-chronological reports ).  

Ways to overcome fear of creative writing

Many children are inhibited in their writing for a variety of reasons. These include the all-too-familiar ‘fear of the blank page’ (“I can’t think of anything to write about!” is a common lament), trying to get all the technical aspects right as they compose their work (a sense of being ‘overwhelmed’), and the fact that much of children’s success in school is underpinned by an ethos of competitiveness and comparison, which can lead to a fear of failure and a lack of desire to try.

Any steps we can take to diminish these anxieties means that children will feel increasingly motivated to write, and so enjoy their writing more. This in turn will lead to the development of skills in all areas of writing, with the broader benefits this brings more generally in children’s education.

Here are some easily applied and simple ideas from author and school workshop provider Steve Bowkett for boosting self-confidence in writing.

  • Keep it creative Make creative writing a regular activity. High priority is given to spelling, punctuation and grammar, but these need a context to be properly understood. Teaching the technicalities of language without giving children meaningful opportunities to apply them is like telling people the names of a car engine’s parts without helping them learn to drive.
  • Model the behaviour In other words, when you want your class to write a story or poem, have a go yourself and be upfront about the difficulties you encounter in trying to translate your thoughts into words.
  • Go easy on the grammar Encourage children to write without them necessarily trying to remember and apply a raft of grammatical rules. An old saying has it that we should ‘learn the rules well and then forget them’. Learning how to use punctuation, for instance, is necessary and valuable, but when children try and apply the rules consciously and laboriously as they go along, the creative flow can be stifled. Consideration of rules should, however, be an important element of the editing process.
  • Keep assessment focused Where you do require children to focus on rules during composition, pick just one or two they can bear in mind as they write. Explain that you will mark for these without necessarily correcting other areas of GaPS. Not only will this save you time, but also children will be spared the demotivating sight of their writing covered in corrections (which many are unlikely to read).
  • Value effort If a child tries hard but produces work that is technically poor, celebrate his achievement in making an effort and apply the old ‘three stars and a wish’ technique to the work by finding three points you can praise followed by noting one area where improvements can be made.
  • Leave room for improvement Make clear that it’s fine for children to change their minds, and that there is no expectation for them to ‘get it all right’ first time. Show the class before and after drafts from the work of well-known poets and extracts from stories. Where these have been hand written, they are often untidy and peppered with crossings out and other annotations as the writers tried to clarify their thoughts. If you have the facilities, invite children to word process their stories using the ‘track changes’ facility. Encourage children to show their workings out, as you would do in maths.
  • Don’t strive for perfection Slay the ‘practice makes perfect’ dragon. It’s a glib phrase and also an inaccurate one. Telling children that practice makes better is a sound piece of advice. But how could we ever say that a story or poem is perfect? Even highly experienced authors strive to improve.
  • Come back later Leave some time – a couple of days will do – between children writing a piece and editing or redrafting it. This is often known as the ‘cooling off’ period. Many children will find that they come back to their work with fresh eyes that enable them to pick out more errors, and with new ideas for improving the piece structurally.
  • Try diamond 9 Use the diamond ranking tool to help children assess their own work. Give each child some scraps of paper or card and have them write on each an aspect of their writing, such as creating strong characters, controlling pace and tension, describing places and things, using ‘punchy’ verbs etc. Supply these elements as necessary, but allow children some leeway to think of examples of their own. Now ask each child to physically arrange these scraps according to how effectively they were used in the latest piece of work. So two writing elements that a child thinks are equally strong will be placed side by side, while an aspect of the work a child is pleased with will be placed above one that he / she is not so happy with.
  • Keep it varied Vary the writing tasks. By this I mean it’s not necessary to ask children always to write a complete story. Get them to create just an opening scene for example, or a vivid character description, or an exciting story climax. If more-reluctant writers think they haven’t got to write much they might be more motivated to have a go. Varying the tasks also helps to keep the process of writing fresh, while the results can form resource banks (of characters, scenes, etc) for future use.
  • Help each other Highlight the idea that everyone in the class, including yourself, forms a community of writers. Here, difficulties can be aired, advice can be shared and successes can be celebrated as we all strive to ‘dare to do it and do our best’.

Browse more ideas for National Writing Day .

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Primary English: Creative writing

Australia and new zealand, primary english, tes resources team.

Pens Ready For KS1 & KS2 Pupils To Explore Creative Writing With These Top Resources

Let young learners' imaginations run wild with help from these creative writing resources

Creative writing can be one of the most rewarding aspects of literacy, however the terror of a blank page can panic even the most willing writers in your class. So, to make sure every pupil has the confidence to put pen to paper, we've hand-picked this selection of lessons, activities and help sheets, all created by the Tes community.

My Lunch is Alive! KS2 creative writing resource

My Lunch is Alive! KS2 creative writing resource

Rainforest Poetry

Rainforest Poetry

Creative writing worksheets for KS2

Creative writing worksheets for KS2

Writing Narratives KS2 Knowledge Organisers Bundle!

Writing Narratives KS2 Knowledge Organisers Bundle!

Creative Writing Story Prompts

Creative Writing Story Prompts

Story Builder

Story Builder

Story Writing Planning Template

Story Writing Planning Template

Storytime Fairy Tale Pack

Storytime Fairy Tale Pack

Differentiated story mountain

Differentiated story mountain

KS2 poetry - write a poem about the seasons

KS2 poetry - write a poem about the seasons

  • Grades 6-12
  • School Leaders

Free printable Mother's Day questionnaire 💐!

150 Inspiring Picture Writing Prompts To Spark Creativity (Free Google Slides)

Use a picture to write a thousand words!

Picture writing prompts including a cartoon cat and mouse and a portrait of a Black family from the 1930s

Creative writing is a challenge for many students, often because they can’t come up with anything to write about. That’s why we love picture writing prompts. Each one sparks the imagination and helps young writers jump right into crafting a story to match. We rounded up a whole collection of intriguing images for use with kids in grades K-12 along. Plus we designed a set of free Google Slides featuring all of the prompts so you can easily share them with students.

Tip: Start by showing students the picture (or let them choose from among several) without making any comment about what they’re seeing. For kids who still struggle to get started, suggest a potential title or opening sentence, like the examples included here.

Don’t miss our free downloadable. Grab your full set of ready-to-go Picture Writing Prompts Google Slides with all of the prompts below.

Elementary Picture Writing Prompts

Middle school picture writing prompts, high school picture writing prompts, art picture writing prompts.

When kids first see these picture writing prompts, they may or may not immediately feel inspired. If they need some help, ask them questions like “What led up to this moment?” or “What’s going to happen next?”

Dog holding a rose in its mouth, with a heart-shaped cloud in the sky

When Larry fell in love, he fell hard.

Lighted sign reading ASK hanging from a building

When the new sign appeared on Main Street, everyone in town wondered exactly what it meant.

Snowy Footprints

A series of random footprints in the snow

After that crazy day, all that was left to show for it was footprints in the snow.

Dinosaur Bones

Child hiding inside a large toothy skull, reaching out a hand

“Come with me if you want to live!” Ash said, reaching out a hand.

Undersea Treasure

Goldfish swimming around a closed treasure chest sitting in the sand under the water

For years, no one saw the locked treasure chest but the local fish, who wondered what it could contain.

A Game of Fetch

A claymation dog bringing a stick to a snowman in a snowy scene

To Scout, it was a game, but to Mr. Freezy, it was much more.

Ladybug Gossip

Of pair of spotted red ladybugs perched on a leaf

The ladybug’s picnic was an excellent chance to meet up with old friends and hear all the latest gossip.

Two children peering in through a barred window

We met them when they peeked into our window, watching us as we ate lunch and watched cartoons.

King of the Jungle

Majestic lion perched on a log wearing a crown

It wasn’t the crown that made Amari the king of all he surveyed.

The Final Pitch

Small child waiting at home base for a baseball pitch that's about to arrive

It all came down to this—the final pitch in a game that was tied 2-2.

Doggie Massage

Two dogs sitting in a way that looks like one is giving the other a back massage

Every dog in the neighborhood knew that Rocky gave the best massages and was always willing to lend an ear too.

Skateboard Life

Girl in a striped shirt and red headband posing with a skateboard in front of some graffiti

When Charli got her first skateboard, she made herself a promise.

Garden of the Past

Painting of a woman in old-fashioned clothing walking in a cottage garden

The woman walked in the garden every day, never saying a word.

Sunset Friends

Two children on a jungle gym silhouetted against a setting sun

They met on the jungle gym every day at sunset, sharing everything about their days.

Pink Umbrellas

A sunny alleyway with pink umbrellas strung across it

When the pink umbrellas first appeared, Toni thought they might be magic.

Firefly Forest

Illustration of a forest at night filled with fireflies

Olivia was surprised to discover that the fireflies didn’t just glow, they also sang.

Robot Spider

A large mechanical spider standing on a stormy beach

When it first crawled ashore, the mechanical spider moved slowly.

Fallen House

House tipped on its side following a hurricane

Staring at their house, which was now on its side, the whole family was in shock.

Red Riding Hood

A young girl wearing a red hooded cape riding a brown horse in the forest

If only she’d been riding her faithful steed the day she’d met the Big Bad Wolf, things might have been very different.

Kangaroo Fall

A kangaroo sprawled on its back in the grass

“Well, this is embarrassing,” thought Bouncer, as laughter filled the air around him.

A child's hand-drawn sign for a lost cat attached to a tree

Daci’s big brother said her signs wouldn’t help them find their runaway cat, but he was wrong.

Penguin Bookshop

An illustration of a penguin wearing a top hat, standing in a booksshop

A visit to Mr. Pickerel’s Penguin Bookshop is always an adventure.

A carton of colorful eggs with faces drawn on them

Of all the eggs in the carton, Ella was the one who could always crack you up.

Children writing a fairground swing ride

That was the year Min was finally tall enough to ride the Sky Swings, but now she wasn’t so sure.

Rubber Duck Parade

A row of rubber ducks in various costumes floating down a water-filled gutter

It was truly an honor to be asked to lead the Spring Duck Parade.

Teddy Story Time

Three teddy bears posed to look as if they're reading a book

Every afternoon, the three friends gathered for story time in their favorite spot in the woods.

Underwater School

A child sitting at a desk, looking out the window at fish swimming by

Nia thought going to school underwater would be exciting, but some days she really missed going outside for recess.

A red ball with a smiley face floating on the water

The day Amos started his journey down the river, the sun was shining brightly.

Turtle Trouble

A grumpy looking sea turtle floating in clear water

“None shall pass,” growled the old sea turtle, blocking the way.

Dinosaur Race

An illustration of a young girl racing alongside a dinosaur

Pia was supposed to keep Balthazar on a leash, but once they reached the forest, she set him free and they both began to run.

Finally Seeing Eye to Eye

Cartoon illustration of a large bear with a tiny mouse standing on its nose, looking into its eyes (Picture Writing Prompts)

“So, we meet at last, face to face,” Lord Squeakerton said to his enemy, the Count of Catnip.

Monkey face with mouth and eyes open in surprise

It takes a lot to surprise a monkey, but you don’t see something like this every day.

Not Coming Out

Child hiding behind a heap of pillows on a beige couch (Picture Writing Prompts)

The day started out normally enough, but by the end, Chris knew he was in over his head.

Life on Other Planets

A space scene showing a robot and robot dog standing on the surface of an alien planet, with a domed habitat behind them

“Hurry up,” Grnklor told his robopup. “We have to get back inside before nightfall.”

Reindeer Games

Boy leading a reindeer along a snowy path into the setting sun (Picture Writing Prompts)

The wind had died down, but the setting sun seemed to take all the warmth of the day with it.

Something to Celebrate

A young boy raises his arms in triumph as a young girl points at a computer screen, smiling (Picture Writing Prompts)

Their classmates could hear their shouts of joy from all the way down the hall.

Home Sweet Mushroom

Illustration of a mushroom turned into a house, with a fence and lighted windows, under a full moon

When the fairies that lived in the garden invited her to stay with them for awhile, Maria wasn’t sure what to expect.

Loch Ness Mystery

Model of the Loch Ness Monster rising from a lake

“There it is! I told you Nessie is real!” Angus whispered to Lee.

Lonely Bear

Worn teddy bear sitting on a stone bridge

It was hard to say who was lonelier that night, Amil or his lost stuffed bear, Jasper.

Sometimes You Lose

Boy sitting on the ground with his face in his hands

When his team lost the championship, Miguel was crushed, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.   

Middle school writing prompts can be a little more complex, with pictures that have a lot of potential interpretations. Encourage students to delve deeper into the story by describing how the characters feel and why they behave the way they do.

A pair of light blue Converse sneakers

Morgan was incredibly proud of those shoes, paid for entirely with money from after-school jobs.

Never Lose Hope

Splotch of green paint with the words

With his last bit of energy, Kai scrawled his message in the wet paint.

Computer keyboard with a red button reading Get Me Out of Here

The keyboard button could only be used once, and no one knew exactly what happened when you pressed it.

Piano Lessons

A young child's hands on a piano keyboard

Before she could even speak, Arya was drawn to the black and white keys.

Rolled fern front photoshopped to look as if a baby is sleeping inside

There was no doubt about it, this was was indeed a very special kind of garden.

A person wearing a dingy bunny costume standing on the end of a dock

No matter how you looked at it, it had been a very rough day to be the Easter Bunny.

Empty Chairs

Four empty beach chairs on the shore, with seagulls flying overhead.

By sunset, all four chairs were empty, and the only signs of life were the gulls swooping down from above.

Floating Treasure

Two black birds sitting on a chest floating in the water

To the birds, it was simply a convenient place to land, but Ali and I knew it was much more than that.

Shadow Question

A pair of sneakers and a person's shadow in a puddle

That was the day they discovered that just because you were invisible didn’t mean your shadow was.

Letter and Key

An old key lying on an old handwritten letter

The day she turned 12, Vivi’s aunt handed her an envelope containing the family secret.

Space Target

An illustration of a woman aiming an arrow at a target against an outer space landscape

Onyx paused, knowing that once their arrow hit the target, there was no knowing what would happen.

Mermaid Mystery

A mysterious figure that could be a mermaid, seen from below

It was a mermaid—or was it?

World on a String

A girl standing on a path, holding a suitcase and a bunch of balloons that look like planets

Her dad had promised to give her the world, but she wasn’t expecting three more planets as well.

Bee Standoff

Two bees face ot face on a purple flower

“This flower ain’t big enough for the both of us!” said Bianca.

Solitary Seat

A leather chair next to an old woodstove with a valise and old books

For as long as anyone could remember, Angus McGee spent his evenings in the same chair next to the woodstove.

Best Friends

A little girl holding a very large teddy bear, dragging it down a dirt road

When you decide to run away from home forever, you can’t possibly leave your best friend behind.

Dinosaur Demise

Illustration of dinosaurs panicking as a meteor is about to hit the earth

In retrospect, setting the time machine to randomly choose a day and time in the past might not have been such a good idea.

Magic Lamps

A collection of green

“Choose wisely,” said the old shopkeeper, “for only one of these lamps is truly magic.”

Message in a Bottle

Glass bottle on a seashore with a rolled up paper inside

The message floated at sea for more than 50 years before the day we found it on the beach.

Barrel Boat

Man wearing a life jacket and paddling half a barrel in a lake

Of all the ways to impress someone, Jonah thought to himself, this had to be one of the most ridiculous.

Dragon Guardian

A child sitting in the grass, with a dragon curled up around her

When your parents give you your own dragon guardian, your childhood is bound to be enchanted.

Octopus’s Garden

Diver encountering a large octopus with fish in the background (Middle School Picture Writing Prompts)

Wouldn’t you like to be under the sea, in an octopus’s garden in the shade?

Around the Corner

Girl peering around a corner at a boy walking a dog

After finally pressing “send,” she couldn’t resist peeking around the corner to watch him read the text.

Beam Me Up!

Small child sitting in a field watching a flying saucer beam up its tricycle (Middle School Picture Writing Prompts)

Milo’s earliest memory was of watching his beloved tricycle float into the sky above him, caught in a beam of light.

Poison Apple

A red apple held in a skeleton's hand

To join the club, all Aaron had to do was creep up and snatch the apple from the skeleton’s hand without being seen.

Giraffe Council

Three giraffes shown from the neck up against a cloudy blue sku

“It is now 3 p.m., and I call this meeting of the Mighty Council of Giraffes to order,” announced Imari.

Mystery Creature

Computer illustrated creature with blue scales, pink spikes, and large eyes

At first glance, it was hard to tell whether the little creature was friend or foe.

Woman leaping across a chasm silhouetted by an orange sky

As the sky turned orange, Keisha ran faster than ever and used the last of her energy to push off and soar over the water below.

The End of Days

A boy stands with his bicycle watching as bombs rain down on a city skyline (Picture Writing Prompts)

Despite their best efforts, they arrived too late—the battle had already begun.

Out of the Book

Woman dressed in a blue ball gown peering out of a book lit from inside, with a mouse nearby

“Happily ever after” was about to take on a whole new meaning.

Stopped Clock

Old broken alarm clock stopped at 11:17

I was sure that the time on the broken clock was the clue to solving the mystery.

Dueling Webs

Two dew-covered spiderwebs in the early morning sun

It’s never a good idea to build your web too close to another spider’s, but this time I had no choice.

Do Shoes Grow on Trees?

A bare tree covered with hanging pairs of shoes against a clear blue sky

The day I threw my own shoes into the tree was the day I really started to grow up.

Abstract Art

Closeup of splotches of colorful paint

“So,” asked their art teacher, “what do you think this painting means?”

Wandering Robots

Small cardboard robot in a field of daisies (Picture Writing Prompts)

Everything about NB-317 was made of cardboard except his heart—that was made of flesh and blood and very capable of being broken.

Dream Come True

Blue house floating in the sky above mountains, held up by blue balloons

It all started when Quinn watched her favorite movie the night before they assigned partners for the eighth grade science fair project.

Mysterious Cave

Rocky cave with strange geometric patterns in the rock

The cave was unlike anything we’d ever seen before, and what was more, it almost seemed like the rock was alive.

Storm at Sea

A pirate ship on stormy seas, with a purple sky and dramatic streaks of lightning

As the rain lashed his face and lightning tore apart the sky, Kiran had to admit he’d always thought it would be a lot more fun being a pirate.

Grasshopper Close-Up

A closeup view of a grasshopper looking directly at the camera

That’s when Javed realized it wasn’t that the grasshopper was too big—it was that he was suddenly very, very small.

UFO Parking

Sign saying UFO Parking with picture of a flying saucer

“Well, that’s convenient,” Javdok remarked to Qabow when they saw the sign.   

High school writers are ready to dig deep, exploring character development and detailed plots. These pictures offer a jumping-off point to set their imaginations free.

Cyborg Girl

An altered image showing a young girl in a black dress with a white collar, with a neck made of mechanical gears

When she was 14, Tasha’s parents finally told her the truth about what she really was.

BBQ Cookout

Barbeque grill with many different kinds of meat

“So, I’m guessing no one told you I’m a vegetarian?” asked Sadie with a smile.

Hands holding up a phone with a picture of a baby's face in front an old man's face

The latest app was like a time machine, allowing people to look back in time, but it also had a dark side.

Woman sitting on a sidewalk with her head on her knees as others walk by

She was surrounded by people but never felt more alone.

Hippo Troubles

A hippo mother and baby with its mouth open

Like all parents, hippos sometimes really need a break from their kids.

iPad Farmer

Old man in overalls using an iPad while snapping green beans

Grandpa Jack never failed to surprise us.

Marching Band Blues

Black man in a red shirt sitting on a bench, wearing a sousaphone

Kaleel sat sadly on the bench, watching the rest of the band march away in jaunty time to the music.

Never-Ending Tunnel

A white-tiled tunnel stretching far into the distance

The tunnel seemed to stretch to infinity, but Jayma knew what was at the end, and it terrified her.

Carving Out Love

A birch tree with

For years, we wondered who “WP” was, and who it was who loved them so much they carved it into a tree for all to see.

Glowing Globe

Man holding a glowing globe in a misty library

Just then, the globe began to glow, and Jaxson knew he was about to leap through space and time once again—destination unknown.

See No Evil

Three skeletons posed in the classic

It seemed like a funny joke to pose the skeletons in front of old Mrs. Petoski’s house, but then she turned up dead, and the police said it was murder.

Upside Down

Woman hanging upside down from the ceiling in a kitchen

It’s an odd feeling to wake up one morning and find yourself able to walk on the ceiling.

Face at the Fence

Child with their face pressed up against a wire fence

So much depended on which side of the fence you were on.

Bicycle Race

Three people competing in a bicycle race

Finley had trained too hard for this race to come in third—it just wasn’t good enough.

Family Travels

Vintage photo of a Black family strapping luggage to a car, with a young girl posing in front

In the picture, my grandmother’s expression is hard to interpret, but she’s told me the story many times.

Laundromat Antics

A pair of legs waving out of a dryer in a laundromat

Dani never expected to meet her first love feet first.

Black and white photo of a wedding ring lying on a sheet of notepaper saying "I'm sorry!"

Molly’s mom probably didn’t mean for her to be the one to find the note, but that’s how things turned out.

Through the Storm

Pickup truck driving through flooded streets in a storm

Javier knew it would have been smarter to stay put, but he had to make sure his mom was safe before the worst of the storm arrived.

Lifetime Friends

Two babies holding hands while being held by adults

They’d been friends for as long as they could remember—even longer, in fact.

Stray Kitten

A small kitten facing a person's legs, in black and white

“I am NOT taking you home with me,” Kai told the tiny mewling kitten firmly.

Abandoned Greenhouse

Woman inside an abandoned ramshackle greenhouse in the woods

Willow was free to leave at any time, but she couldn’t make herself go.

A fence topped by rolls of razor wire against a blue sky

Amani’s earliest memory was razor wire—miles and miles of it.

Church Graveyard

An old graveyard outside a stone church

Everyone feels differently in a graveyard, but for me, they’re very peaceful places.

Orb of Death

A hooded figure folding out a crystal ball with a spooky image in it

“Do you really want to know?” Death asked. “Because once you know, you won’t be able to forget.”

Missed Shot

Men in wheelchairs playing basketball, as one laments a missed shot

Steve was sure his shot would make it, but it bounced off the rim just as the buzzer rang to end the game.

First Contact

Alien figure with a human in a spacesuit visible in the window behind them (High School Picture Writing Prompts)

This was it—the moment that would change what it meant to be human forever.

One Life To Live

An old man wearing a cowboy hat sits in front of a house (Picture Writing Prompts)

His face said his life had been a hard one, but his eyes told a different tale.

Winter Walk

Snow-covered field with a winding trail of footprints

Snow fell, creating a blank canvas to record the story of that fateful walk.

Train to Nowhere

Sepia-toned image of an old sleeper train car in disrepair

It certainly wasn’t the most luxurious way to travel, but then again, no one really wanted to make this trip in the first place.

Modern Mary Poppins

Woman standing in the middle of a wheat field on a gray day, holding an umbrella and bag

She dropped into our lives on a gray day in midwinter, a hint of the spring that was to come.

All That Remains

A chair sits in the hallway of an abandoned building under a shaft of light from above (High School Picture Writing Prompts)

Dust motes filled the air of the abandoned hallway, replacing the voices once heard there.

A very small bunny being carried in a shirt pocket

From the day he found the little creature, Luis refused to go anywhere without him.

The Question

Figure holding flowers behind its back, with a woman turning to look in the background

Their happily ever after began quietly, with a bouquet of wildflowers.

Night Lights

A person holding an umbrella walks down an alley toward a street filled with neon lights

Misty rain both blurred and emphasized the lights that lit Suri’s way home that evening.

Forest of Fear

Black and white photo of tree trunks with arms and hands reach out from behind them (Picture Writing Prompts)

At first, Mateo thought it was a joke, but the screams that followed told him there was nothing remotely funny about it.

Closeup of a human eye, with the pupil represented as a camera lens

At the elite level, being a spy meant serious commitments.

The Yellow Door

A row of white doors with one yellow door (Picture Writing Prompts)

On their 14th birthday, every resident of Fresnia was required to stand before the Wall of Doors and make a choice.

Graffiti Palace

Abandoned warehouse with graffiti on the walls

To strangers, it seemed random, but every mark on those walls had deep meaning for us.

Fossil Fish

Fish fossil in light-colored stone

Millions of years ago, the fish gave one final flop before lying still in the deep mud.

On the Rails

Woman standing on railroad tracks holding a guitar and looking off into the distant sunset (Picture Writing Prompts)

Aliyah stood on the tracks, uncertain of where to go next.

These picture prompts are all works of art, some more well known than others. Try providing them to students without sharing the titles first, then offer up the titles if they need some help getting started.

The Dance Class (Edgar Degas)

The Dance Class by Edgar Degas

Greek Funerary Plaque (520-510 BCE)

Greek Funerary Plaque

Washington Crossing the Delaware (Emanuel Leutze)

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze

Kyōsai’s Pictures of One Hundred Demons

Kyōsai’s Pictures of One Hundred Demons

First Steps, After Millet (Vincent van Gogh)

First Steps by Vincent Van Gogh

Lady Lilith (Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rosetti

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (Georges Seurat)

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

After the Hurricane, Bahamas (Winslow Homer)

After the Hurricane, Bahamas by Winslow Homer

Drawing Lots for Prizes (Kitagawa Utamaro)

Drawing Lots for Prizes by Kitagawa Utamaro

Portions of Field Armor (Jacob Halder)

Portions of a Field Armor by Jacob Halder

Sadie Pfeifer, a Cotton Mill Spinner (Lewis Wickes Hine)

Sadie Pfeifer, a Cotton Mill Spinner by Lewis Wickes Hine

Still Life With Monkey, Fruits, and Flowers (Jean Baptiste Oudry)

Still Life With Monkey, Fruits, and Flowers by Jean Baptiste Oudry

Man Leading a Giraffe, 5th Century Byzantine

Man Leading a Giraffe, 5th Century Byzantine

The Three Skulls (Paul Cézanne)

The Three Skulls by Paul Cézanne

The Madame B Album (Marie-Blanche Hennelle Fournier)

The Madame B Album by Marie-Blanche Hennelle Fournier

Coiled Trumpet in the Form of a Snarling Feline Face (c. 100 BCE to 500 CE)

Coiled Trumpet in the Form of a Snarling Feline Face (c. 100 BCE to 500 CE)

Crazy Quilt With Animals (Florence Elizabeth Marvin)

Crazy Quilt with Animals by Florence Elizabeth Marvin

Storytime (Eugenio Zampighi)

Storytime by Eugenio Zampighi

Cubist Village (Georges Gaudion)

Cubist Village by Georges Gaudion

Zig-Zag Passenger and Freight Train (Unknown)

Zig-zag Passenger and Freight Train (Unknown)

The Power of Music (William Sidney Mount)

The Power of Music by William Sidney Mount

The Large Tree (Paul Gauguin)

The Large Tree (Paul Gaugin)

After the Bath (Mary Cassatt)

After the Bath (Mary Cassatt)

Wedding Gown (Korea, Late 1800s)

Wedding Gown (Korea, Late 1800s)

The Contemplator (Eugène Carrière)

The Contemplator (Eugène Carrière)

The Girl I Left Behind Me (Eastman Johnson)

The Girl I Left Behind Me (Eastman Johnson)

24c Curtiss Jenny Invert Single

24c Curtiss Jenny invert single

Creeping Baby Doll Patent Model

Creeping Baby Doll Patent Model

Wrecked Zeppelin (British Library)

Wrecked Zeppelin photograph from The British Library

Skeleton (Tales of Terror Frontispiece)

Skeletons Frontispiece from Tales of Terror

Get Your Free Picture Writing Prompts Google Slides

Just click the button below to fill out the form and get instant access to free downloadable Picture Writing Prompts Google Slides with all the prompts included above.

How do you use picture writing prompts in your classroom? Come share ideas and ask for advice in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

These picture writing prompts are a unique way to excite young creative writers. Find options for all grades on a variety of subjects.

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Student Writing Models

How do I use student models in my classroom?

creative writing examples for primary school

When you need an example written by a student, check out our vast collection of free student models. Scroll through the list, or search for a mode of writing such as “explanatory” or “persuasive.”

Jump to . . .

Explanatory writing.

  • How Much I Know About Space Explanatory Paragraph
  • My Favorite Pet Explanatory Paragraph
  • Sweet Spring Explanatory Paragraph

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Literacy | Primary schools

9 strategies for improving writing skills in primary school

By Michelle Casey

06 Jan 2023

Primary students improving writing on a computer

In this article:

The importance of building writing skills in primary years

Understanding 5 basic writing skills, spelling and punctuation, handwriting, reading comprehension, sentence structure, how to improve learners’ writing in primary school, 1. teach the different writing styles, 2. encourage regular reading in the classroom and at home, 3. give learners a real-life situation to write about, 4. encourage students to keep a diary, 5. give learners opportunities to read aloud, 6. use sentence starters and prompts, 7. engage in cooperative writing, 8. get creative with the teaching, 9. encourage parents to help at home, how bedrock helps primary pupils develop strong writing skills.

Learners use writing as a vehicle through which to express themselves and their ideas, both in and out of the classroom, in every subject across the curriculum. By improving learners’ writing skills, you prepare them for success in wider life.

In this guide, you will find practical advice for teachers on developing fundamental writing skills within the primary classroom.

The ability to express ideas in writing is one of the most important of all skills. Good writing is a mark of an educated person and, perhaps for that reason, it is one of the most important skills sought by employers and higher education institutions (Conley, 2003; Schmoker, 2018).

Developing our learners as writers is more than just asking them to remember tricky spellings, handwriting joins or grammatical constructs. It is a process which is intricate and complicated, but if done consistently and thoroughly, gives learners a tool which is vital for their school years, across all subjects and in life after education.

Writing makes learners’ thinking and learning visible. It provides them with the opportunity to clarify and refine their ideas for others and to themselves.

For learners to progress in their writing, they must have a solid understanding of the 5 basic writing skills and plenty of opportunity to practise and develop these skills.

Grammar is the system and structure of a language and comes with certain rules . It underpins how words are put together meaningfully and sentences are constructed. When writers use good grammar, they can effectively communicate what they want the reader to know. Through learning about nouns , punctuation , tense and aspect , brackets , semicolons , and connectors , learners can make their writing clearer and control its impact on their readers.

Spelling instruction helps learners to develop a connection between letters and their sounds. It also helps learners to recognise high-frequency common exception words. Teaching students strategies for spelling supports them in communicating effectively through writing.

While sentences can be written without punctuation, writing becomes a lot more effective if punctuated correctly. Good punctuation allows writers to convey what they mean and enables readers to understand the intended message or meaning. Every piece of punctuation has a particular role; they all work to give clarity and meaning to our written words.

Read more about the rules behind punctuation.

Handwriting is an important skill for learners to develop. Poor handwriting can harm school performance.

If a learner views handwriting as something arduous, this can reduce their motivation to write. This lack of motivation may lead to a reduction in practice which can further compound handwriting difficulties.

When learners can write comfortably, legibly and at a good pace, it gives them more ‘mental space’ to think about the content and creativity of their writing, as opposed to the logistics.

Learn more about handwriting in primary school.

Reading comprehension is the capacity to read a piece of text and understand the meaning or intent. It is important in the development of writing skills. Before learners can write with meaning, they need to be able to read.

The skills developed in reading and reading comprehension activities feed into many skills required for effective writing. It helps them to:

  • Sound out and blend words for meaning
  • Extend their vocabulary and learn how to use it contextually
  • See how words in a paragraph or in a sentence relate to each other

When the concept of reading at a base level has been achieved, learners can then start to think about a text critically ; they can infer meaning and intent and transfer this to their own writing. As well as this, reading comprehension relies on a strong understanding of vocabulary and grammar ; writing skills work together and strengthen one another.

For writing to progress, learners should have a good grasp of sentence structure. They should know the basic types of sentences : simple, compound and complex.

Learners should also be able to modify sentence structure for effect - for example, by using fronted adverbials or passive voice. Learning different ways they can structure a sentence helps learners convey their intended meaning in their writing.

Improve primary learners' writing skills

Explicit vocabulary and grammar instruction through a deep-learning algorithm to support learners of all abilities.

Teaching learners to recognise the different genres of writing and their characteristics and purpose will help them to implement these techniques in their own writing.

Throughout their schooling, learners should be exposed to a wide variety of nonfiction, narrative and poetry texts.

Within nonfiction , they will be exposed to explanation texts to inform; non-chronological reports to explain and persuasive texts to persuade and entertain, to name a few.

Within narrative texts , learners will examine stories with dilemmas, traditional tales and stories in a historical setting, among others.

Learners will also have the opportunity to explore poetry including structured poetry, visual poetry and free verse .

Learners should be given the opportunity to become familiar with a text type and its features. They should examine the language used, sentence structure, grammatical features and layout. They could highlight and annotate features of the text as they identify them - in this way, they form a kind of checklist for their own writing.

Well-chosen texts provide learners with good-quality models for their writing. In this way, they are exposed to rich language structures which lets them see how writing works and the effect it can have on the reader. Students draw on their reading experiences when producing their own writing.

Learners should be exposed to these high-quality texts across a range of genres, demonstrating a variety of writing styles. It is important that the texts chosen reflect the social and cultural diversity of the class while introducing them to a world outside the familiar.

This exposure can involve Independent Reading, Guided Reading, Shared Reading and just good old Reading for Pleasure, where the teacher or the learners take the lead.

According to the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), ‘Reading texts to children that they are not ready to access independently exposes them to language they can own.’ This gives those struggling readers an opportunity to be enriched by high-quality vocabulary with the right scaffolding .

Learners should be given plenty of opportunities for regular reading in the classroom. Some schools implement a whole-school policy whereby one session per week or fortnight is blocked out for Reading for Pleasure.

Reading is often not only encouraged but required as part of homework tasks. It is normal for there to be certain expectations for reading sessions to be carried out at home. This is often a book from a specific level that the teacher has matched to the learner’s reading ability. However, whatever age-appropriate texts students are reading at home is beneficial: magazines, catalogues, leaflets, websites, and books from home.

Parents/guardians should be encouraged to read with students at home too; this gives learners another perspective on the text from their parent/guardian and (hopefully!) helps foster a love, or at least a like, for reading.

When learners are writing, they should be clear on who their intended audience will be. Will it be their peers? Younger students? The headteacher? The King? The MD of a company?

In being clear on their intended audience, learners can further develop their understanding that writing is a tool for communication and expression. And of course, writing is not limited to literacy lessons - writing is used across all subjects, which gives learners even more opportunity to write for an intended audience and purpose.

The teaching of writing is more effective when learners see the purpose of it, and with an audience in mind, they can adapt their tone accordingly.

Some examples of writing students could produce inspired by text or real life:

  • A letter to the headteacher persuading him/her to allow a longer break time.
  • A newspaper report on a school/ local event.
  • Instructions on how to play Minecraft (or another game that is relevant and appropriate to them).
  • Within a topic (e.g., superheroes), learners create their own superhero, then write an explanation text to explain the superhero’s powers, special gadgets, crimes/issues targeted and how they became a superhero.
  • After reading a story or part of a story, learners write about an event from a character’s point of view not presented in the text.

Children could have access to free writing journals and, if possible (in the jam-packed curriculum we are all navigating!), time to develop their own personal writing projects, allowing their personal writing style to emerge.

With the popularity of diary-style series like Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates, the idea of keeping a diary may be very attractive to some learners. It is a good way to get children writing outside the classroom environment. Learners who keep a diary are twice as likely to exceed age expectations in writing .

According to the National Literacy Trust , the vast majority of children state that they enjoy writing more when they can choose what to write about. If learners can begin to derive pleasure from writing in this way, then hopefully this can be transferred to writing in a more formal setting.

Giving learners the opportunity to read aloud enables them to hear how punctuation and sentence structure combine in the sentences they read. It may even help them to think more deeply about perspective as they read from the point of view of new characters.

Reading aloud also provides the teacher with chances to correct misconceptions, such as mispronunciations and new vocabulary. These are all skills that can be channelled into their own writing composition.

As well as this, reading aloud is a good way to celebrate a student’s written work - they can present their achievements to their classmates.

Providing students with sentence starters can help with writing flow. It provides reassurance that they are on the right track in their writing. With all the different writing genres our learners are exposed to and then expected to write, it can be beneficial for some learners to have this scaffold .

Sentence starters could be in the form of a ‘word bank’ on the board or on a piece of paper, generated by the teacher. To give learners a little more ownership, this ‘word bank’ of sentence starters could be generated as a class and left on display.

More independent learners may enjoy coming up with their own word banks as they read texts; they can ‘magpie’ sentence starters they’d like to use for their writing.

Cooperative writing is a useful tool in helping learners on their writing journey.

One aspect of this is shared writing. It involves the teacher crafting a piece of writing on a whiteboard. The learners are encouraged to give input, often aided by teacher questioning and prompts. The result is a collaborative passage which learners can use to help with their independent writing.

Another type of cooperative writing is modelled writing. This requires less student input, but the students get to watch the act of writing. The teacher might write a sentence, and then articulate their thought process as to how the vocabulary in the sentence can be improved or what form of punctuation would work best here. In this way, learners can see the strategies the teacher draws on as he or she writes.

A third method of cooperative writing is guided writing. This involves the teacher working with a smaller group of children within the lesson (when the others are ‘on task’). This usually focuses on a specific objective that this group in particular needs support with, e.g., adding more detail to writing by using fronted adverbials. In this approach, the children usually produce their own writing in their English books with the teacher prompting and questioning.

Where possible, try to connect what the children are interested in with their writing. For example, if you have learners interested in Minecraft, they could write a letter of persuasion to the Prime Minister to persuade him to allow Minecraft lessons in school .

Another way of getting the children interested and excited about writing is to use humour. Show learners two emails to compare - both could be complaining about something. One could be written using formal language and the other could be written informally, bordering on being rude.

Example of formal writing through a letter

This lets learners see the effect of both pieces of writing.

Another way to use humour is in writing an explanation text. It could be about something perceived as mundane such as ‘How a Dishwasher Works’ but could be made humourous in the following way:

Example of humorous writing through instructions

Children can then use this to write their own explanations in a similar way.

Another idea is to set something up to happen, e.g., to use the superhero topic again - have an adult in school dress up as a ‘thief’ and another adult as a superhero. They could burst into your classroom at an agreed time and have a very dramatic ‘chase’ around the room and the superhero could catch the ‘thief’. Of course, you would have to consider the children in your class and if this would be appropriate for them. This dramatic action could be a good springboard to inspire children to write.

It is important to encourage parental support with writing at home . Parents may need guidance in how they can help their children with writing at home. It might be a good idea to put together a list of ways they can help, for example:

  • Allow children to help with everyday writing such as emails, shopping lists, writing birthday cards.
  • Try to make sure your child has an area (no matter how big or small) where they can write, as well as the tools for writing.
  • Let children write about what interests them: a recipe they have helped make, a film review, a similar story to one they have read, similar lyrics to a song they have heard.

Talking homework tasks are a good way to involve parents. Talking homework is used as part of Ros Wilson’s Big Write approach. Big Writing is when learners produce an extended piece of writing independently.

The night before the Big Write, learners are given a homework task to discuss their ideas with someone at home, for what they could write the next day. This means children are getting lots of input and parents are sharing in the learning.

To learn to write, students need a blend of different skills such as vocabulary knowledge, grammar knowledge, an understanding of sentence structure, fine motor skills and more. While some of these skills come down to dedicated instruction in the classroom, such as when transcribing and practising handwriting, some of the fundamental skills of writing can be boosted by a digital literacy curriculum such as Bedrock Learning.

Bedrock’s vocabulary curriculum teaches learners aged 6-16 the Tier 2 vocabulary they need to thrive, from Year 3 level all the way to advanced reading and vocabulary. Tier 2 vocabulary is taught through an intelligent Block system, ensuring each learner is placed into the right Block for their reading level - this ensures the texts are challenging, yet accessible. The smart Block system differentiates teaching for learners of different abilities, stretching confident readers and supporting struggling readers.

In addition to this, Bedrock’s core curriculum teaches vocabulary alongside a complete grammar curriculum, differentiated for primary and secondary learners . Grammar is taught through bespoke fiction and nonfiction texts , engaging teaching videos and mastery tasks , ensuring long-term retention.

Informed by the National Curriculum, Bedrock’s core curriculum not only teaches learners the grammar they need for their KS2 SATs , but also combines grammar and vocabulary instruction to boost reading comprehension and writing skills overall.

Discover how Bedrock’s curricula can support your learners throughout primary school - and beyond!

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Schoolgirl Writing

Creative writing tips for teachers: ideas and activities to inspire your class

Engaging children and encouraging them to write has become increasingly difficult in the classroom. My children are bombarded with interactive and visual images constantly through the media and the internet and, as their teacher, it has become much harder for me to compete. Who wants to read or write an emotional descriptive piece when they can be fully immersed in this feeling through interactive game play?

This challenge has led me to look at how I can use these media, and more dynamic approaches, to engage children in wanting to use their literacy skills and to hook them into becoming creative and thoughtful writers.

Using video

One way which is sure to engage children is through the use of video, in particular TV and film. There is a wealth of materials on YouTube, and other platforms, which will help children to explore and fully develop ideas. Always begin with the learning objective and ensure that video clips can fulfil the language and structural features of the relevant text type.

For example, with my year 3 class I used the Jason and the Argonauts films to help them to explore the key features of the myths and legends genre. Using the films I was able to cover everything from monsters to settings to quests to heroes in a much more inspiring manner than simply using a text based resource. Another year 3 activity harnessed the power of Doctor Who to look at character emotion. I then used it as a way to discuss the role of pace, movement, setting and character to help the children to structure their writing.

Non-fiction can be dealt with equally as well. Recently a number of documentaries on the second world war soldier and footballer Walter Tull , enabled the children to gain a timeline of the events in his life to support them in the creation of a biography.

By using visual prompts the children feel more confident and ready to write. They have had time to build up and discuss their vocabulary and then adapt this to the writing they want to create. It also allows comprehension, text organisation and sentence structures to be taught in an exciting and meaningful way for the children.

Real life experience

Another approach that can help children to connect emotionally is for them to experience it for themselves. I've had great success in helping the children to build up their vocabulary and to create exciting emotional writing using this method. For example, I worked with my year 6 class on the theme of 'the race'. I armed myself with a starter gun and took the class into the playground to enable them to experience what it felt like to prepare for a race, to hear the starter gun and to then run the race – watch this lesson in a video created with Teachers Media.

It resulted in many of the students using much more vivid language immediately after the race which they could draw on when back in the classroom. We also looked at how to adapt their sentence styles and structures to follow the flow of the race.

Cross curricular writing

Engaging children and encouraging them to write has also been boosted since the introduction of a creative curriculum in school. This offers more opportunities to extend and develop children's writing through hooking them into a topic that is being taught across the curriculum. This full immersion into a subject can be very powerful for children and enables them to explore and understand concepts previously reserved for secondary school pupils.

Our year 5 topic on South Africa was linked to the book Journey to Jo'Burg and allowed for full exploration of both the country and the time period of the book. This topic led to writing on apartheid, character description and biographies on Nelson Mandela.

Traditionally this sort of activity would have been reserved for KS3 however the consistent link between the foundation subjects and English enabled the children to access and enjoy them and create work that was far superior to anything they might have created in a separate stand-alone literacy hour.

Adding drama

Many drama techniques enable the children to become immersed into the life and world of a character. Encouraging hot-seating, conscience corridors , debates and improvisation engages children can increase their understanding of a text and their ability to express their opinions in written form.

For example, taking a dramatic approach to understanding how it feels to be a soldier can lead to a far deeper understanding of war and how this might have affected the soldiers. In turn this helps the children to write more thoughtfully and creatively.

Rather than feeling that I compete with the interactive games and digital media that engage children, I feel more like a magpie. Stealing the ideas and approaches and using these as hooks and new ways to stimulate the children, gets them excited in a lesson and it's this excitement and engagement that means they'll achieve the most.

Take a look at Kate in action in the video Visible Improvement Primary Literacy. A film created by Teachers Media as part of its Visible Improvement series

Kate Parietti is literacy coordinator, at Churchend School , Reading, Berkshire.

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Activity: Story Mountain

Complete the story mountain to plan your sotry with a beginning, middle, and end.

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Activity: Character profile

Come up with lots of interesting details about the lead character in your story.

Video: How to develop storytelling skills

Suzy Ditchburn offers practical tips for improving storytelling confidence.

5. Find story inspiration

You can find fun story ideas anywhere! Why not raid your kitchen cupboards or hunt through the attic to find lost treasures? Anything from an old hat to a telescope will do the trick. What could the object be used for? Who might be looking for it? What secrets could it hold? Suggest different genres such as mystery or science fiction and discuss how the item might be used in this kind of story.

Real-world facts can also be a great source of inspiration. For example, did you know a jumping flea can accelerate faster than a space rocket taking off into orbit? What crazy story can your child make out of this fact? Newspapers and news websites can be great for finding these sorts of ideas.

If your child prefers non-fiction, use the facts you find to create a fact sheet, a poster or a mini-book.

6. Get drawing

If your child isn’t sure where to start, it can sometimes be helpful to sketch out their ideas first. For instance, can they draw a picture of a dastardly villain or a brave hero? How about a scary woodland or an enchanted castle? Can they draw the shark or spider they want to write an information book about?

Your child might also find it useful to draw maps or diagrams. What are all the different areas of their fantasy landscape called? How is the baddie’s base organised? Or for non-fiction, where does their shark or spider live?

Some children might enjoy taking this idea a step further and drawing their own comics. This is great practice – it stretches your child’s creativity, gets them thinking about plot, character, and dialogue, and is a big confidence boost once they’ve finished and have an amazing story to look back on.

For more ideas on writing stories, look at our Creative Writing page or check out our Creative writing books .

What your child will learn at school

Click on the links below to find out about the writing skills children practise year by year.

Writing Composition in Year 1 (age 5–6)

In Year 1, your child will learn:

  • to write simple sentences
  • to say a sentence out loud before writing it down
  • to put sentences into the right order to tell a short story
  • to re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense
  • to talk about their writing with their teacher or classmates
  • to read their writing out loud to their teacher or the class.

Writing Composition in Year 2 (age 6–7)

In Year 2, your child will learn:

  • to write about things that have happened to them
  • to make up simple stories
  • to write about real events
  • to write simple poems
  • to write non-fiction for different purposes
  • to plan their writing by either talking about what they want to write or by writing down key words
  • to read their own writing and make changes to it
  • to read their writing out loud.

Writing Composition in Year 3 (age 7–8)

In Year 3, your child will learn:

  • to talk about similar pieces of writing, and using these to help them plan their own
  • to plan their writing by talking about it or writing down key words
  • to use a rich vocabulary and a range of sentence structures to make their writing interesting
  • to create settings, characters, and plots for stories
  • to use simple organisational devices (for example, headings and sub-headings) when writing non-fiction
  • to proof-reading their writing for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors

Writing Composition in Year 4 (age 8–9)

In Year 4, your child will continue to practise the skills they learnt in Year 3. They will:

  • talk about similar pieces of writing, and using these to help them plan their own
  • plan their writing by talking about it or writing down key words
  • use a rich vocabulary and a range of sentence structures to make their writing interesting
  • create settings, characters, and plots for stories
  • use simple organisational devices (for example, headings and sub-headings) when writing non-fiction
  • proof-reading their writing for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
  • read their writing out loud.

Writing Composition in Year 5 (age 9–10)

In Year 5, your child will learn to:

  • decide who they are writing for and what this means for their writing
  • plan their writing before they start
  • choose the right style and structure to match the type of text they are writing
  • choose the right vocabulary and grammar for their writing
  • write a story with interesting vocabulary and dialogue
  • write non-fiction with features such as headings, captions, bullet points, subheadings and diagrams
  • use a consistent tense throughout their piece
  • check their own writing and the writing of their classmates, making useful comments.

Writing Composition in Year 6 (age 10–11)

In Year 6, your child will learn to:

  • write non-fiction with features such as headings, captions, bullet points, subheadings, diagrams
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What is creative writing?

Creative writing goblin

Narrative or creative writing will be developed throughout a child's time at primary school. This table gives a rough idea of how story structure, sentence structure, description and punctuation are developed through story-writing lessons at school. (Please note: expectations will vary from school to school. This table is intended as an approximate guide.)

Creative writing resources

Download a FREE Creative Writing toolkit!

  • KS1 & KS2 workbooks
  • Bursting with fill-in prompt sheets and inspiring ideas
  • Story structure tips, style guides and editing suggestions

Creative writing in primary school

Story structure Events in a story in an order that makes sense. 

Sentence structure Joining two clauses in a sentence with the word 'and.'

Description Simple  adjectives  to describe people and places. 

Punctuation Use of capitals, full stops, exclamation marks and question marks.

Year 2 Story structure Stories sequenced with time-related words such as: then, later, afterwards, next.

Sentence structure Starting to use sentences with two  clauses  connected by 'and,' 'but,' 'so,' 'when,' 'if' and 'then.' Keeping the tense of the writing consistent.

Description Using a broader range of adjectives. 

Punctuation Using capital letters, full stops , question marks , exclamation marks , commas for lists and apostrophes for contracted forms (e.g. they're) and the possessive (e.g. 'Sarah's pen').

Year 3 Story structure Stories structured with a clear beginning, middle and end. Starting to write in paragraphs.

Sentence structure Continuing to use sentences with two parts, linked with  connectives  such as 'because', 'but' and 'so'.

Description Broad range of adjectives plus some  powerful verbs . 

Punctuation Using all of the punctuation above. Starting to use some speech punctuation .

Story structure Gaining confidence with structuring a story and with organising  paragraphs .

Sentence structure Using sentences connected with more sophisticated connectives such as because,' 'however,' 'meanwhile' and 'although.' 

Description Using a range of adjectives, powerful verbs and adverbs. Some use of  similes . Using fronted adverbials (placing the adverb at the start of the sentence, e.g. 'Quickly, the children stood up'). 

Punctuation Increasingly accurate use of speech punctuation. Using commas after fronted adverbials .

Story structure Good structure of description of settings , characters and atmosphere. Integrating dialogue to advance the action. Using time connectives to help the piece of writing to come together. 

Sentence structure Using a range of connectives to connect parts of sentences.  

Description Using adjectives, powerful verbs and adverbs. Possibly some use of figurative language such as  metaphors , similes and personification . 

Punctuation Using brackets , dashes or commas to indicate parenthesis .

Story structure Continuing to structure stories confidently. Using adverbials such as: in contrast, on the other hand, as a consequence.

Sentence structure Using more sophisticated connectives like 'although,' 'meanwhile' and 'therefore.' Using the  passive form. Using the subjunctive . 

Description Continuing to use a range of descriptive language (see above) confidently. 

Punctuation Using all of the previously mentioned punctuation correctly. Using semi-colons , colons and dashes to mark the boundary between clauses.

How creative writing is taught in primary schools

When teachers teach creative writing, they usually follow the units suggested by the literacy framework,  including the following:

  • stories with familiar settings
  • stories from other cultures
  • fairy tales (also known as traditional tales )
  • fantasy stories
  • myths and legends
  • adventure and mystery
  • stories with historical settings.

Teachers will start with a text that they are confident will engage the interest of the class. It is often a good idea to find a well-illustrated text to bring the story alive further. They will spend a week or two 'loitering on the text', which will involve tasks where characters and scenarios from the text are explored in-depth. These tasks may include:

  • Drawing a story map or mountain to get an idea of the structure of the story
  • Writing a letter from one character to another
  • In pairs, improvising a conversation between two characters in the story
  • Making notes on a spider diagram about a particular character
  • Writing the thoughts of a character at a particular point in the story
  • Writing a diary entry as one character in the story

Once teachers feel that the text has been thoroughly explored, they will guide the children in writing their own version of the story . This involves planning the story, brainstorming characters and setting and then writing a draft of the story. Children will then be encouraged to edit and re-write their draft.  Teachers may mark the draft and write their own suggestions on it, or they may ask children to swap their writing with their partner and encourage them to make suggestions on each other's work. Throughout this process, teachers are aiming to encourage children to develop skills in the above four sections of the table: story structure, sentence structure, description and punctuation.

Finally, children will write up a 'neat' finished version of their writing. Teachers often give children a format for doing this, such as bordered paper on which they can add illustrations, or a booklet for which they can design a front cover.

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Teaching creative writing in primary schools: a systematic review of the literature through the lens of reflexivity

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  • Published: 17 June 2023

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  • Georgina Barton   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Maryam Khosronejad 2 ,
  • Mary Ryan 2 ,
  • Lisa Kervin 3 &
  • Debra Myhill 4  

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Teaching writing is complex and research related to approaches that support students’ understanding and outcomes in written assessment is prolific. Written aspects including text structure, purpose, and language conventions appear to be explicit elements teachers know how to teach. However, more qualitative and nuanced elements of writing such as authorial voice and creativity have received less attention. We conducted a systematic literature review on creativity and creative aspects of writing in primary classrooms by exploring research between 2011 and 2020. The review yielded 172 articles with 25 satisfying established criteria. Using Archer’s critical realist theory of reflexivity we report on personal, structural, and cultural emergent properties that surround the practice of creative writing. Implications and recommendations for improved practice are shared for school leaders, teachers, preservice teachers, students, and policy makers.

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Creative writing in schools is an important part of learning, assessment, and reporting, however, there is evidence globally to suggest that such writing is often stifled in preference to quick on-demand writing, usually featured in high-stakes testing (Au & Gourd, 2013 ; Gibson & Ewing, 2020 ). Research points to this negatively impacting particularly on students from diverse backgrounds (Mahmood et al., 2020 ). When teachers teach on-demand writing typical pedagogical traits are revealed, those that are often referred to as formulaic (Ryan & Barton, 2014 ). When thinking about creative writing, however, Wyse et al. ( 2013 ) noted that it involves the absence of structure and teaching creative writing requires an ‘open’ pedagogical approach for students to be given imaginative choice. By this, they mean that teachers need to consider less formulaic ways to teach writing so that students can experience different opportunities and ways to write creatively. They argued that if students are not given the flexibility to experiment through writing then their creativity might be stifled. Similarly, Barbot et al. ( 2012 ), who carried out a study with a panel of 15 experts of creative writing, posited that creative writing is when students draw on their imagination and other creative processes to create fictional narratives or writing that is ‘unusually original’. They also noted that creative writing is important for the development of students’ critical and creative thinking skills and ways in which they can approach life in creative ways.

Creative writing is defined in various ways in literature. Wang ( 2019 ) defined creative writing as a form of original expression involving an author’s imagination to engage a reader. Other definitions of creative writing involve the notion of children’s imagination, choice, and originality and much research has explored the concept of creativity within and through the writing process.

While creative writing is defined in various ways, and the many ways that it is treated in literacy education, this article is not concerned with the nature of the term per se. Rather, it focusses on research about creative writing and creativity in writing to understand how research unpacks the personal and contextual characteristics that surround creative writing practices. To this aim, we adopt a broad definition of creative writing as a form of original writing involving an author’s imagination and self-expression to engage a reader (Wang, 2019 ). Creative writing is important for children’s development (Grainger et al., 2005 ), allowing them to use their imagination and broaden their ability to problem-solve and think deeply. Creativity in writing refers to specific aspects within a writing product that can be deemed creative. Some examples include the use of senses and how a writer might engage a reader (Deutsch, 2014 ; Smith, 2020 ).

International research on teaching writing has indicated a loss in innovative or creative pedagogical practices due to the pressure on teachers to teach prescribed writing skills that are assessed in high-stakes tests (Göçen, 2019 ; Stock & Molloy, 2020 ), often resulting in specific trends including teaching a genre approach to writing (Polesel et al., 2012 ; Ryan & Barton, 2014 ). A comprehensive meta-analysis by Graham et al ( 2012 ), designed to identify writing practices with evidence of effectiveness in primary classrooms, found that explicitly teaching imagery and creativity was an effective teaching practice in writing. In addition, a review of methods related to teaching writing conducted by Slavin et al. ( 2019 ) included studies that statistically reported causal relationships between teacher practice and student outcomes. Common themes in Slavin et al’s ( 2019 ) quest for improving writing included comprehensive teacher professional development, student engagement and enjoyment, and explicit teaching of grammar, punctuation, and usage. While they did not specifically cite creativity, motivating environments and cooperative learning were important characteristics of writing programs.

This systematic literature review aims to share empirical international research in the context of elementary/primary schools by exploring creativity in writing and the conditions that influence its emergence. It specifically aims to answer the question: What influences the teaching of creative writing in primary education? And how can reflexivity theorise these influences? The review shares scholarly work that attempts to define personal aspects of creative writing including imagination, and creative thinking; discusses creative approaches to teaching writing, and shows how these methods might support students’ creative writing or creative aspects of writing.

Writing is a complex process that involves students making decisions about word choice, sentence, and text structure, and ways in which to engage readers. Such decisions require a certain amount of reflection or at times deeper reflexive judgments by both teachers and students. Consequently, we draw on Archer’s ( 2012 ) critical realist theory of reflexivity to guide our review as research shows that reflexive thinking in practice can improve writing outcomes (Ryan et al., 2021 ). Archer ( 2007 ) highlights how reflexivity is an everyday activity involving mental processes whereby we think about ourselves in relation to our immediate personal, social, and cultural contexts. She suggests we make decisions through negotiating the connected emergences of personal properties (PEPs) related to the individual, structural properties (SEPs) related to the contextual happenings and cultural properties (CEPs) related to ideologies, each of which is influenced by the other developments. These decisions influence, and are influenced by, our subsequent actions. In applying reflexivity theory to writing (see Ryan, 2014 ), we cannot simply focus on the writing product, but should also interrogate the process of writing, that is, the influences on decision-making and design which are enabled or constrained through pedagogical practices in the classroom. Writing practices and outputs are formed through the interplay of personal, structural, and cultural conditions. Student decisions and actions about writing ensue through the mediation of personal (e.g. beliefs, motivations, interests, experiences), structural (e.g. curriculum, programs, testing regimes, teaching strategies, resources), and cultural (e.g. norms, expectations, ideologies, values) conditions. Therefore, teachers play an important role in facilitating the interplay of these conditions for their students and recontextualising curricula and policy (Ryan et al., 2021 ). For example, by enabling students’ agency and creating an authentic purpose for writing, teachers can balance the personal conditions of students (such as their motivation and interest) against the structural effects of the curriculum requirements. Using a reflexive approach to investigating the literature on creative writing we aim to reveal the personal, structural, and cultural conditions surrounding the study and the practice of creative writing. We argue that it is through the understanding of these conditions that we can theorise how a. students might make their writing more creative and b. how teachers might establish classroom conditions conducive to creativity.

The approach taken for this paper was guided by the PRISMA method (Moher et al., 2009 ) for conducting systematic literature reviews (see Table 1 ).

Our electronic search involved several databases: researchers’ library online catalogue, EBSCO host ultimate, ProQuest, Eric, Web of Science, Informit, and ScienceDirect. Using the following search terms: creativ* AND (‘teaching methods’ OR pedagog*) AND writing AND (elementary OR primary) to search titles and abstracts as well as limiting the search to peer-reviewed articles written in English within a 10-year timeframe (2011–2020), we initially retrieved 172 articles. Information about all 172 articles was input into a data spreadsheet including author, article title, journal title, volume and issue number, and abstract. Once completed, these articles were divided into two equal groups and two researchers were assigned to review the articles for relevancy against the following inclusion criteria:

Studies were peer-reviewed empirical research published in English;

Participants were primary students and/or teachers;

Students were not specifically English as a Second or Additional Language/Dialect learners (samples of culturally and linguistically diverse students in primary classrooms were included);

Studies were not carried out in curriculum areas other than English; and

Studies did not have a specific focus on digital technologies in the classroom.

For this systematic review, we were interested in the ways in which teachers thought about, understood, and taught the ‘creative’ aspect of writing.

The 25 studies that met the inclusion criteria were synthesised to review what influences the improvement of creative writing in primary education. We analysed the papers for how creative writing and/or creative aspects in writing were viewed as well as how teachers might best support students to develop reflexive capacities to improve the creative aspects of writing. We also identified any personal, structural, and/or cultural emergences that might impact on the effectiveness of students’ creative writing. Two of the authors read the entire articles and identified four main categories of research which were (1) understanding creative writing; (2) creative thinking and its contribution to writing; (3) creative pedagogy; and (4) what students can do to be more creative in their writing. These were cross-checked by the entire research team. Some of the papers fit more than one of these themes. In the next section, each theme is introduced and defined and then the articles that fall within the theme are reviewed.

Overall a total number of 25 articles had overlapping themes that included various personal and contextual aspects. Figure  1 shows what we have identified as the key themes under each category. In the next sections, we represent papers based on their main theme.

figure 1

The personal, structural, and cultural conditions surrounding creative writing

Personal emergent properties

A total number of 13 articles were about what students can do to be more creative in their writing (Mendelowitz, 2014 ; Steele, 2016 ) and how teachers’ and students’ personal characteristics relate to the development of creative writing. These articles were mainly focussed on the personal emergent aspects of writing (Alhusaini & Maker, 2015 ; Barbot et al., 2012 ; Cremin et al., 2020 ; DeFauw, 2018 ; Dobson, 2015 ; Dobson & Stephenson, 2017 , 2020 ; Edwards-Groves, 2011 ; Healey, 2019 ; Lee & Enciso, 2017 ; Macken-Horarik, 2012 ; Ryan, 2014 ). The personal aspects identified in our review were (1) personal views about creative writing, (2) creative thinking, (3) writer identity, (4) learner motivation and engagement, and (5) knowledge and capabilities.

Personal views about creative writing

From our systematic review, we identified three articles exploring views about what creative writing is, and more specifically the role that it plays and the elements that make creative writing, in primary classrooms. One of these studies was focussed on the views and experiences of experts in writing (Barbot et al., 2012 ), whereas the other two investigated students’ perspectives and experiences (Alhusaini & Maker, 2015 ; Healey, 2019 ). Barbot et al’s ( 2012 ) work, for example, recognised that creative writing involves both cognitive and metacognitive abilities. This was determined by the expert panel of people whose work related to writing including teachers, linguists, psychologists, professional writers, and art educators. The panel were asked to complete an online survey that rated the relative importance of 28 identified skills needed to creatively write. Six broad categories were identified as a result of the responses and the rank given to each factor by the expert groups (See Table 2 ). They acknowledged that these features cross over various age groups from children to professional writers.

Findings suggested that each independent rater weighted different key components of creative writing as being more or less important for children. Overall, the findings showed.

a global ‘consensus’ across the expert groups indicated that creative writing skills are primarily supported by factors such as observation, generation of description, imagination, intrinsic motivation and perseverance, while the contributions of all of the other relevant factors seemed negligible (e.g. intelligence, working memory, extrinsic motivation and penmanship). (p. 218)

One factor that was ranked as critical by most respondents, but underemphasised by teachers, was imagination. Teachers’ work in classrooms around creative writing is complex due to the difficulty in defining imagination (Brill, 2004 ). Teachers also under-rated other aspects related to creative cognition.

Another study that explored students’ creativity in writing was conducted by Alhusaini and Maker ( 2015 ) in the south-west of the United States. Participants included 139 students with mixed ethnicities including White, Mexican American, and Navajo. This study involved six elementary/primary school teachers judging students’ writing samples of open-ended stories. To assess the work a Written Linguistic Assessment tool, which was based on the Consensual Assessment Technique [CAT] (Amabile, 1982 ) was implemented. According to Baer and McKool ( 2009 ), The CAT involves experts rating written artefacts or artistic objects by using their ‘sense of what is creative in the domain in question to rate the creativity of the products in relation to one another’ (p. 4). Interestingly, Alhusaini and Maker ( 2015 ) found the CAT to be effective in relation to interrater reliability. The authors do not share what the Judge’s Guidelines to Assess Students’ Stories entail. They mention the difference between technical quality and creativity and note that assessors were able to distinguish the differences between the two, but the reader is not made aware of the aspects of each quality. Overall, the study revealed that one of the most challenging problems in the field of creativity and writing is trying to measure creativity across cultures by using standardised tests. Such studies could have implications for other students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as teachers become more aware of cultural nuances in constituting ‘creative’ in creative writing.

The final study we identified in this category was by Healey ( 2019 ). Healey employed an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and explored how eight children (11–12 Years of age) experienced creative writing in the classroom. He shared how children’s writing experiences were based on ‘the affect, embodiment, and materiality of their immediate engagement with activities in the classroom’ (p. 184). Results from student interviews showed three themes related to the experience of writing: the writing world (watching, ideas from elsewhere, flowing); the self (concealing and revealing, agency, adequacy); and schooled writing (standards, satisfying task requirements, rules of good writing). The author stated that children’s consciousness shifts between their imagination (The Writing World) and set assessment tasks (Schooled Writing). Both of these worlds affect the way children experience themselves as writers. Further findings from this work argued that originality of ideas and use of richer vocabulary improved students’ creative writing. Vocabulary improvement included diversity of word meanings, appropriate usage of words, words being in line with the purpose of the text; while originality of ideas featured creative and unusual (original) ideas—which in many ways is difficult to define.

Overall, when concerned with personal views and attitudes in creative writing, the two studies by Healey ( 2019 ) and Barbot et al. ( 2012 ) show contrasting findings about ‘imagination’ captured through the view of students and teachers, respectively. While Healey’s ( 2019 ) study suggests that children shift between their imagination and set assessment tasks in creative writing, Barbot et al. ( 2012 ) highlight the lack of attention to imagination among their participated teachers. Although these results cannot be generalised, they highlight the significance of understanding personal emergent properties that both students and teachers bring to the classroom and the way that they interact to affect the experience of creative writing for learners. From this theme, we suggest the importance of educators acknowledging students’ imagination through their definition of creative writing as well as providing quality time for students to choose what they write through imaginative thought. We now turn to creative thinking and related pedagogical approaches to teaching creative writing from the research literature.

Creative thinking

We identified two articles that were focussed on creative thinking and its contribution to writing (Copping, 2018 ; Cress & Holm, 2016 ). Copping ( 2018 ) explored writing pedagogy and the connections between children’s creative thinking, or a ‘new way of looking at something’ (p. 309), and their writing achievement. The study involved two primary schools in Lancashire, one in an affluent area and one in an underprivileged area. Approximately 28 children from each school were involved in two, 2-day writing workshops based on a murder mystery the children had to solve. Findings from this study revealed that to improve students’ writing achievement (1) a thinking environment needs to be created and maintained, (2) production processes should have value, (3) motivation and achievement increase when there is a tangible purpose, and (4) high expectations lead to higher attainment.

Cress and Holm’s ( 2016 ) study described a curricular approach implemented by a first-grade teacher and their class comprised 13 girls and 11 boys. The project known as the Creative Endeavours project aimed to develop creative thinking by (1) creating an environment of respect with a positive classroom climate. (2) offering new and challenging experiences, and (3) encouraging new ideas rather than praise. The authors argued that through peer collaboration and the flexibility to choose their own projects, children can become more authentically engaged in the writing process. The children wrote about their experiences and their choices, and reflected upon the projects undertaken. In this study, it was revealed that the children showed diversity in their writing assignments including presentation through sewing, photography, and drama. While there were only two papers in this particular theme, their findings are supported by systematic reviews (Graham et al., 2012 ; Slavin et al., 2019 ) that emphasise not only new ways of exploring a range of concepts for learning but also the creation of motivating environments for improving writing (Copping, 2018 ). In addition to the significance of positive and encouraging learning environments, these two studies suggest that setting ‘high expectations’ or ‘challenging experiences’ are conducive to creative thinking however, teachers would need to set appropriate, reflexive conditions for this to occur.

Writer identity

Studies in this category revolve around choice and learner writer identity. The study carried out by Dobson and Stephenson ( 2017 ) focussed on developing a community of writers involving 25 primary school pupils from low socio-economic backgrounds. The project was offered over 2 weeks and featured a number of creative writing workshops. The authors applied the theoretical frameworks of practitioner enquiry and discourse analysis to explore the children’s creative writing outputs. They argued that the workshops, which promoted intertextuality and freedom for the children as writers, enabled a shifting of their ‘writer’ identities (Holland et al., 1998). Dobson and Stephenson ( 2017 ) showed that allowing students to make decisions and choices in regard to authentic writing purposes supported a more flexible approach. They recommend stronger partnerships between schools and universities in relation to research on creative writing, however, it would be important for these relationships to be sustainable.

The second paper on this theme is by Ryan ( 2014 ) who noted that writing is a complex activity that requires appropriate thinking in relation to the purpose, audience, and medium of a variety of texts. Writers always make decisions about how they will present subject matter and/or feelings through all of the modes. Ryan ( 2014 ) suggested that writing is like a performance ‘whereby writers shape and represent their identities as they mediate social structures and personal considerations’ (p. 130). The study analysed writing samples of culturally and linguistically diverse Australian primary students to uncover the types of identities students shared. It found that three different types of writers existed—the school writers who followed teacher instructions or formulas to produce a product; the constrained writers who also followed instructions and formulas but were able to add in some authorical voice; and the reflexive writers who could show a definite command of writing and showed creative potential. Ryan ( 2014 ) argued that teachers’ practices in the classroom directly influence the ways in which students express these identities. She stated that when students are provided choices in writing, they are more able to shape and develop their voices. Such choices would need to include quality time and support to be reflexive in the decisions being made by the students.

The Teachers as Writers project (2015–2017) was conducted by Cremin, Myhill, Eyres, Nash, Wilson, and Oliver. In a recent paper ( 2020 ), the team reported on a collaborative partnership between two universities and a creative writing foundation. Professional writers were invited to engage with teachers in the writing process and the impact of these interactions on classroom teaching practices was determined. Data sets included observations, interviews, audio-capture (of workshops, tutorials and co-mentoring reflections), and audio-diaries from 16 teachers; and a randomised controlled trial (RCT) involving 32 primary and secondary classes. An intervention was carried out involving teachers writing in a week long residence with professional writers, one-on-one tutorials, and extra time and space to write. They also continued learning through two Continuing Professional Development (CPD) days. Results showed that teachers’ identities as writers shifted greatly due to their engagement with professional authors. The students responded positively in terms of their motivation, confidence, sense of ownership, and skills as writers. The professional authors also commented on positive impacts including their own contributions to schools. Conversely, these changes in practice did not improve the students’ final assessment results in any significant way. The authors noted that assuming a causal relationship between teachers’ engagement with writing workshops and students’ writing outcomes was spurious. They, therefore, developed further research building on this learning.

Knowledge and capabilities

The role of knowledge and capability is central to the articles in this category. In Australia, Macken-Horarik ( 2012 ) reported on the introduction of a national curriculum for English. This article drew on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) by investigating the potential of Halliday’s notion of grammatics for understanding students’ writing as acts of creative meaning in context. Macken-Horarik ( 2012 ) argued that students needed to know deeply about language so that they could make creative decisions with their writing. She outlined that a ‘good enough’ grammatics would assist teachers in becoming comfortable with ‘playful developments in students’ texts and to foster their control of literate discourse’ (p. 179).

A project carried out by Edwards-Groves in 2011 highlights the role of knowledge about digital technologies in writing practices. 17 teachers in primary classrooms in Australia were asked to use particular digital technologies with their students when constructing classroom texts. Findings showed that an extended perspective on what counts as writing including the writing process was needed. Results revealed that collaborative methods when constructing diverse texts required teachers to rethink pedagogies towards writing instruction and what they consider as writing. It was argued that technology can be used to enhance creative possibilities for students in the form of new and dynamic texts. In particular, it was noted that teachers and students should be aware that digital technologies can both constrain and/or enable text creation in the classroom depending on a number of variables including knowledge and understanding, locating resources and logistical issues such as connectivity and reliability.

In addition, Mendelowitz’s ( 2014 ) study argued that nurturing teachers’ own creativity assisted their ability to teach writing more generally. She noted several ‘interrelated variables and relationships that still need to be given attention in order to gain a more holistic understanding of the challenges of teaching creative writing’ (p. 164). According to Mendelowitz ( 2014 ), elements that impacted on these challenges include teachers’ school writing histories, conceptualisations of imagination, classroom discourses, and pedagogy. Documenting teachers’ work through interviews and classroom observations by the researcher, the study found that teachers need to be able to define imagination and imaginative writing and know what strategies work best with their students. She noted that the teacher’s approaches to teaching writing ‘powerfully shaped by the interactions between their conceptualisations and enactments of imaginative writing pedagogy’ (p. 181) and that these may either limit or create a space for students to be more creative with their writing.

Such Personal Emergent Properties show that individual attributes of both teachers and students are important in learning creative writing. The next section of the paper explores the articles that shared various structural and cultural properties.

Structural emergent properties

In the subset of structural emergent properties, we mainly identified pedagogical approaches for creative writing that explored primary school learning and teaching (Christianakis, 2011a ; Christianakis, 2011b ; Coles, 2017 ; DeFauw, 2018 ; Hall & Grisham-Brown, 2011 ; Portier et al., 2019 ; Rumney et al., 2016 ; Sears, 2012 ; Steele, 2016 ; Southern et al., 2020 ; Yoo & Carter, 2017 ). These pedagogical approaches were aimed at addressing issues related to personal emergent properties such as motivation and engagement, and confidence in writing. The two categories of writing pedagogies were those that engaged professional authors and artists in teaching about creative writing, and the approaches that involved play(ful) activities, and use of visual arts, and drama.

Engaging professional authors and artists

Interestingly, many of the studies used literary forms and/or professional creative authors to spike interest and motivation in the students. Coles’ ( 2017 ) study, for example, used a garden-themed poetry writing project to support 9–10-year-old children’s creative writing in a London primary school. The 5-week project partnered with a professional creative writing organisation that facilitated the Ministry for Stories (MoS) writing centres across the USA. The study found that the social relationships created through this partnership allowed for a more inclusive and socially generative model of creativity. This meant that teachers should not just include creative aspects in assessment rubrics but rather recognise that creativity is encouraged through imagination and working with others. The researchers found improvements in the children’s participation in classroom writing activities as well as diversity in the ways they expressed their writing. The approach valued ‘rich means of expression rather than a set of rules to be learnt’ (p. 396). They also acknowledged issues associated with school–community partnerships including the sustainability of the practice.

Similarly, Rumney et al. ( 2016 ) found that using creative multimodal activities increased students’ confidence and motivation for writing. The study implemented the Write Here project with over 900 children in 12 primary and secondary schools. The study involved the children visiting local art galleries to work with professional authors and artists. Case studies were presented about pre-writing activities, the actual gallery work and post-gallery follow-up sessions. It aimed to improve students’ social development and literacy outcomes through diverse learning activities such as visual art and play in different contexts such as art galleries and classrooms. Like Coles’ ( 2017 ) study, this project showed that creative activities (e.g. talking about and acting out pictures; using story maps; backwards writing and planning) engaged students more than just teaching skills.

In addition, DeFauw’s ( 2018 ) study had student-centred learning and leadership at the core when working with a children’s book author for one year. The collaboration involved three face-to-face sessions with the author as well as online communication through blog posts. Data included recorded interactions, readings and pre and post interviews with teachers ( n  = 9), students ( n  = 36), and the author. The partnership showed that students’ interest was activated and sustained due to the situational context as well as the extended time given to students to interact with the author. The project improved students’ interest in and motivation to write as a result of engaging with authors and hearing about their own experience and writing strategies. It also found that teachers gained more confidence to support students’ exploration of writing in more creative ways. The creative pedagogies were also used in addressing issues related to creative writing outcomes for students, including teachers’ lack of confidence about pedagogies (Southern et al., 2020 ). Through a creative social enterprise approach, the authors facilitated professional development and learning involving artist-led activities for students. The program called Zip Zap had been implemented in schools in Wales and England, and data were collected through focus groups with teachers, students, and parents/carers. Observations of some of the professional development workshops were also video recorded. Third space theory was used to describe the collaborative practice between educators and artists that supported students’ creative writing outcomes. It was noteworthy that involving ‘creative’ practitioners largely focussed on the specific strategies that could be used in classrooms, to which our next section now turns.

Play(ful) activities, visual arts, and drama

Much research explores how to best support students who find writing difficult. Sears’ research ( 2012 ) is a case in point. The author shared how visual arts may be an effective way to improve struggling students with writing. They argued that the visual arts can provide ways of ‘accessing and expressing [student] ideas and ultimately opening a world of creative possibilities’ (p. 17). In the study, six third-grade students engaged with drawing and painting as pre-writing strategies, leading to the creation of poems based on the artworks. The students’ final poems were assessed and showed improved knowledge of all 6 technical categories in writing: ideas, organisation, fluency, voice, word choice, and conventions. The author also argued that students’ motivation to write increased as a result of the visual art activities.

A study by Portier et al. ( 2019 ) investigated approaches to teaching writing that were motiving and engaging for students. Involving 10 northern rural communities in Canada, the project implemented collaborative, play(ful) learning activities alongside sixteen teachers and their students. Interestingly, the study, like many others in our review, found a disconnect ‘between the achievement of curricular objectives and the implementation of play(ful) learning activities’ (p. 20); an approach valued in early childhood education. The students were supported through action research projects in creating texts with different purposes. Students’ motivation as well as samples of work were analysed and showed that student interest areas and collaborative approaches benefited both teachers and students. Further research on how reflexive thinking might have influenced these benefits is recommended.

Similarly, Lee and Enciso ( 2017 ) highlighted the importance of motivation and engagement in their study. In a collaboration with Austin Theatre Alliance, Lee and Enciso ( 2017 ) investigated how dramatic approaches to teaching, such as through expanded imagination and improvisation, can improve students’ story writing. They argued that the students’ motivation to write was also increased. The study was carried out through a controlled quasi-experimental study over 8 weeks of story-writing and drama-based programs. 29 third-grade classrooms in various schools, located in an urban district of Texas, were involved. The study also pre- and post-tested the students’ writing self-efficacy through story building. The study found that students were more able to use their cultural knowledge such as ‘culturally formed repertoires of language and experience to explore and express new understandings of the world and themselves…’ (p. 160) for creative writing purposes but needed more quality resources to support opportunities such as the Literacy for Life program. A most important finding was that for children who experience poverty, drama-based activities developed and led by teaching artists were extremely powerful and allowed the students to express themselves in entertaining ways. We do note that ‘entertainment’ and or engagement might mean different things for different students so reflexive approaches to deciding what these are would be necessary.

Steele’s ( 2016 ) study also looked at supporting teachers’ work in the classroom. Involving 6 out of 20 teacher workshop participants in Hawaii, this exploratory case study utilised observations, interview, and portfolio analyses of teacher and student work. Findings from the study showed that some teachers relished moving away from everyday ‘typical’ practice and increased student voice and choice. Other teachers, however, found it difficult to take risks and hence respond to student needs and ideas.

Dobson and Stephenson’s ( 2020 ) study focussed on the professional development of primary school teachers using drama to develop creative writing across the curriculum. The project was sponsored by the United Kingdom Literacy Association and ran for two terms in a school year. Researchers based the research on a collaborative approach involving academics and four teachers working with theatre educators to use process drama. Data sets included lesson observations, notes taken during learning conversations, and interviews with the teachers. The findings showed that three of the four teachers resisted some of the methods used such as performance; resulting in a lack of child-centred learning. The remaining teacher could take on board innovative practice, which the researchers attributed to his disposition. The study argued that these teachers, while a small participant group, needed more support in feeling confident in implementing new and creative approaches to teaching writing.

The final study, identified as addressing creative pedagogies for creative writing, was carried out by Yoo and Carter ( 2017 ) as professional development for teachers. Data included teacher survey responses and field notes taken by the researchers at each workshop (note: number of workshops and participants is unknown). The program aimed to investigate how emotions play a role in teachers’ work when teaching creative writing. The researchers found that intuitive joint construction of meaning was important to meet the needs of both primary and secondary teachers. A community of practice was established to support teachers’ identities as writers (see also Cremin et al., 2020 ). Findings showed that teachers who already identified as writers engaged more positively in the workshop.

These studies presented some approaches for teachers to consider how to teach creative writing. For example, the need to value unique spaces for students to write, including authentic connections with people and places outside of school environments was shared. Further, the need for quality stimuli and time for writing was acknowledged. Several other studies identified that blended teaching approaches to support student learning outcomes in the area of creative writing is important for schools and teachers to consider. We do acknowledge there may be other methods available to support students in creative writing, however, understanding what types of SEPs are impacting on teaching creative writing is an important step in determining improvements in schools.

Cultural emergent properties

Christianakis ( 2011a , 2011b ) wrote two papers about children’s creative text development with an emphasis on the cultural aspects. The first was an ethnographic study across 8 months with a year five class in East San Francisco Bay. The study included audio recording the students’ conversations and analysing over 900 samples of work. In the classroom, students were involved in a range of meaning-making practices including those that were arts-based and multimodal. The conversations with the students involved the researcher asking questions such: tell me more about this drawing, how did you come up with the idea? or why did you make this choice? The study found that there was a need for schools to reconceptualise the teaching of writing ‘to include not only orthographic symbols, but also the wide array of communicative tools that children bring to writing’ (p. 22). The author argued that unless corresponding institutional practices and ideologies were interrogated then improved practice was unlikely.

Christianakis’ ( 2011b ) second article, from the same project, explored more specifically the creation of hybrid rap poems by the children. She explicated how educators needed to negotiate and challenge dominant practices in primary classroom literacy learning. Like many studies before, a strong recommendation was to be more inclusive of youth popular cultures and culturally relevant literacies for students to be more engaged in creative writing practices. For Christianakis, culturally relevant literacies meant practices that embraced diversity in class and race and accounted for, and challenged, the dominant hegemonic curriculum that ‘privileges a traditional canon’ (p. 1140).

In summary, we found several themes under PEPs that could be considered for further research including those outlined in Table 3 below.

Discussion and implications for classroom practice

From this systematic literature review, several positions were exposed about the personal, structural, and cultural influences (Archer, 2012 ; Ryan, 2014 ) on teaching creative writing. These include limited teacher and student knowledge of what constitutes creative writing (Personal Emergent Properties [PEPs]), and no shared understanding or expectation in relation to creative writing pedagogy in their context (Cultural Emergent Properties [CEPs]). The negative impact of standardised testing and trending approaches on how teachers teach writing (CEP; Structural Emergent Properties [SEPs]) could also be considered (see AUTHORS 1 and 3, 2014 for example). In addition, teachers’ poor self-efficacy in terms of teaching creative writing (PEP); a paucity of quality professional development about teaching and assessing creative writing (SEP); and issues related to the sustainability of creative approaches to teach writing (SEP; CEP) need to be considered by leaders and teachers in schools. Our literature review advances knowledge about creative writing by revealing two interconnected areas that affect creative writing practices. Findings suggest that a parallel focus on personal conditions and contextual conditions—including structural and cultural—has the potential to improve creative writing in general. Below, we share some implications and recommendations for improved practice by focussing on both (1) personal views about creative writing and (2) the structural and cultural aspects that affect creative writing practices at schools.

Focussing on personal views about creative writing

School leaders and teachers must clearly define what creative writing is, what key skills constitute creative writing.

From our search it was apparent that schools and their educators often do not have a clear idea or indeed a shared idea as to what constitutes creative writing in relation to their own context. Without a well-defined focus for creative writing students may find it difficult to know what is required in classroom tasks and assessment. In addition, when planning for creative writing in school programs, teachers should consider flexible learning opportunities and choice for their students when developing their creative writing skills. Such flexibility should also involve choice of topic, ways of working (e.g. peer collaboration, individual activities etc.), and open discussions led by students in the classroom as shown throughout this paper. It would also be important for leaders and teachers to interrogate current approaches to teaching writing which we argued in the introduction to be formulaic and genre based.

Improve teacher self-efficacy, confidence, and content knowledge in teaching writing

Many of our studies showed that teachers who lacked confidence about writing themselves had less knowledge and skills to teach writing than those that may have participated in projects encouraging ‘teachers as writers’. Further, improved knowledge of grammar (as highlighted in Macken-Horarik’s, 2012 work); talk about writing in the classroom and other spaces (Cremin et al., 2020 ) and the writing process (see Ryan, 2014 ) could assist teachers in becoming more confident to take risks in the classroom with their students. Above all being playful about writing through extended conversations and practices is required.

Focussing on the structural and cultural resources

Improve training and further professional development and learning about teaching and assessing creative writing.

In order for the above personal attributes to be improved, further professional development and learning are required. Many of the papers presented throughout this review demonstrated the powerful impact of immersive professional learning for teachers. Working alongside professional authors, researchers, drama practitioners, visual artists, poets, for example, provided positive opportunities for teachers to learn about writing but also to feel more confident to teach it without imposing strict boundaries on students. We argue for professional development to be both formal and informal including such approaches as coaching and mentoring in the classroom. Demonstrated practice alongside the teacher is also recommended. This, in turn, would address the ongoing issue of creative writing being stifled for students in the classroom context.

Consider sustainability of creative pedagogic approaches and spaces for creative writing in curriculum planning

Many of the studies throughout this paper shared creative approaches to teaching writing but there were concerns that some of these methods may not be sustainable. It is important for school leaders to support the work of teachers in relation to teaching creative writing. We acknowledge that there is increasing uncertainty and scrutiny surrounding teachers’ everyday work (Knight, 2020 ), however, continued engagement in learning about and participating in creative pedagogy for writing is highly recommended. In addition, the studies suggested the provision of appropriate and authentic spaces in which students could creatively write and these often included spaces outside of the normal classroom environment and arts-based approaches implemented in such spaces. Teachers should be encouraged to collaborate and take risks rather than follow predetermined strategies for every lesson. A whole of school practice can be developed with important conversations about the ideologies that inform the school’s approach to writing.

Schools should not stifle creativity in the classroom due to the infiltration of standardised and/or trending approaches to teaching and assessing writing

It is evident that pedagogical approaches to teaching writing have been stifled by more formulaic methods aiming to meet expectations of standardised tests despite other evidence showing the benefits of more productive, engaging, and creative approaches to teaching writing as highlighted above. This can be particularly the case for students from non-dominant backgrounds where writing about cultural and life experiences through innovative practices has been proven to empower their voices (Johnson, 2021 ). The research shows that when students are offered rigid structures of texts, no choice of genres, and indeed word lists, their own decisions about writing are diminished (Ryan & Barton, 2013 ). It has been proven that students’ engagement and motivation to write can increase when they are able to write directly from their own experience or in social groups. It is therefore recommended that school leaders and teachers reconsider their ideologies about writing and explicitly indicate the importance of real-world purposes for writing—not just formulised, quick writing as usually included in external tests—but also those that encourage students’ growth in imagination, creativity, and innovative thought.

This systematic review used a lens of reflexivity to situate writing as a process of active and creative design whereby students make conscious decisions about their writing, with guidance from their teachers. As explained, we see creative writing as writing that engages a reader and, therefore, requires knowledge of authorial voice and appropriate word choice. This involves reflexive decisions relating to personal, structural, and cultural emergent properties. Predominant in the literature was the striking influence of CEPs or the values and expectations ascribed to writing, which in turn influence the strategies and resources (SEPs) and the experiences and motivations of students and teachers in the classroom (PEPs). Writing is about more than a series of perfectly formed sentences in a recognisable structure, which dominates conceptions of writing through high-stakes testing globally. It is about engagement with the expressive self, emergent identities, and relationships to places and people and above all communicating to and/or entertaining a reader. Without quality education in creative writing, society is at risk of losing an art form that is important for cultural practice and expression (Watson, 2016 ).

We do foresee several limitations with such a review, largely related to the positive nature of the studies in relation to creative approaches to teaching writing as well as the relatively small numbers of participants in some of the studies. Most of the studies reported favourably on the approaches taken by teachers to influence student motivation towards writing with limited comments about adverse effects. In terms of contributions, the notion that students need to draw on creative thought and ideas when writing means that teachers and leaders must think about diverse ways to teach writing. We argue, on the basis of the findings, that inquiry-based and reflexive professional learning projects about creativity are crucial for primary classrooms: what creativity means in different contexts and for different writers; how it is enabled; and the decisions and actions that emerge when creative and reflexive design guide our approach to classroom writing. Without quality knowledge and understanding of what creative writing is and how it is taught, we would be at risk of diminishing students’ self-expression and ability to communicate meaning to others in literary forms.

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Essay for Primary School: Simple Guide for Kids [with Samples]

The age of primary school students ranges from 5 to 11 years. At this stage of education, children start developing their writing skills. They make their first steps to analyzing and proving their points of view. Besides, they study how to write an essay for elementary school.

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Correctly preparing all types of homework, from creative to persuasive writing, is something they should learn how to do. Surely, they need assistance in completing the first tasks. Right now, we will present to you the essentials of a good essay for primary school:

  • A captivating topic;
  • A precise and clear thesis statement;
  • Several introductory sentences;
  • Several supporting sentences;
  • A strong concluding part.

If now you are looking for some hints for writing primary school essays, you have come to the right place. Especially considering the fact that children may approach the task in a variety of ways depending on how they prefer to study (which is easy to find out by taking a learning style quiz for kids). Below, our team has prepared tips and tricks for kids to nail their primary-level academic papers.

💡 How to Write an Essay for Primary School

An essay is one of the first written assignments you may get. So, we advise you to pay special attention to what your teacher says. Before assigning such a task, they give you explanations for preparing a primary school essay.

Usually, elementary school essays are meant to fire up kids’ imagination and expose their writing skills. No matter what the purpose is, you should approach the task with care.

What should an essay for primary school include?

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  • A captivating topic ; Selecting a topic is the first thing you will do after you get your assignment. Carefully examine the task’s details and think about something appropriate for your elementary level. Brainstorming your ideas is an excellent place to start.
  • A precise and clear thesis statement; Make sure your thesis statement is accurate and brief. Without a clear thesis, your essay will not have a central idea and will be hard to develop. A precise statement tells the reader what your writing is about. Besides, it exposes how good your grip on the central idea is.
  • Several introductory sentences; A great introductory paragraph can help you grab your readers’ attention. You can start by including a quote, telling an anecdote, or asking a question. In the introduction, the author also identifies the purpose of the essay and the topic. The paragraph ends with a thesis statement and prepares the reader for the supporting sentences.
  • Several supporting sentences; This part of your essay will include the position you presented in the thesis statement. It will either offer an idea or defend it. It can be done in several ways: you can include reasons, examples, and supporting points.
  • A strong concluding part. The conclusion wraps up the essay, but it emphasizes all the principal points you have argued throughout your essay. It is the last chance to sway your reader by explaining why the topic is relevant to them. Ending your essay with a strong concluding part shows that the thesis statement has been defended.

Essays for primary schools do not require research or analytical data. All you need is to present your ideas on the specified or chosen topic. Mind the proverb, “the written word remains” while writing your first elementary level essay.

The thing is:

The essay structure explained above will work for assignment kids will face in elementary school, middle school, high school, and up to college level. Teaching kids to write a traditional five-paragraph essay is essential for their academic success. It helps explain to them how to argue their ideas in a coherent and structured manner.

If you need more help with writing essays or with essay proofreading , you are welcome at our site.

✨ Topics for Primary School Essays

See the primary school essay topics that are manageable for an elementary level. It should be interesting for a kid but also informative and engaging for the readers.

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These topics will get an A+ for your next school assignment:

  • Our world in 50 years;
  • My first day at school ;
  • Future profession; 
  • My summer holidays ;
  • My family ;
  • My journey through primary school ;
  • When I grow up… etc.… 

You can find a good topic but have no idea how to write a good paper on it. These five essay prompts can be helpful if you need some inspiration.

  • What is your favorite day of the week, and why? Think about a day of the week you enjoy the most. Why do you like it? Most of us wait for weekends to rest and spend time outside and with our families and friends . If that’s your case, describe how your usual Sunday looks and explain why you enjoy it.
  • What do you like the most about winter ? This is another great topic to consider, especially for creative writing. Everyone can pick at least several things they enjoy about winter. Whether it’s the snow, the winter sports, the holidays, or the winter break, write about something you like. It’s a fun and engaging topic for everyone.
  • Who’s your hero ? All of us have a person they admire. It can be your father, your friend, or a celebrity. Think about the qualities or their actions that make them so special. You can try to tell a little bit about their biography and explain how they influenced you.
  • What’s a good friend? You probably have a best friend. In this essay, you can try to explain what qualities do you personally appreciate in them. If you haven’t found a best friend yet, you can try to think about what kind of people you enjoy interacting with. 
  • Your biggest dream . People are born with the ability to dream. What is your biggest dream? Is it to learn how to drive a boat or visit savanna and see the big five? This essay lets your imagination and your creativity run wild.
  • The car I dream about .
  • Explain what friendship means to you.
  • Describe your parents .
  • How do you understand happiness ?
  • Write how you help your classmates with autism to feel included.  
  • The most important event of my childhood.
  • Discuss why physical activity is important for children and what types of activity you like best.  
  • Do you like to take part in competitive sports ?
  • Explain why you like or don’t like figure skating .
  • A person who inspires me: my mother .
  • What dog would you like to have?
  • Describe your visit to Disneyland or any other theme park.
  • My travel to Dresden .
  • What challenges did you face in primary school ?
  • Do you believe in online- friendship ?
  • What do you do when you feel stressed ?
  • Tell about your puppy and how you take care of it. 
  • The reasons my teacher is the brightest figure in my life. 
  • Describe the kindergarten you went to and explain why you liked or didn’t like it.
  • How did you deal with bullies in the kindergarten .
  • How I won the fight by losing it .
  • Write about your favorite primary school teacher.
  • Why everyone should have a pet .
  • Explain how you interact with other kids at school.
  • Tell about the most exciting event in your life.
  • Explore how eating healthy food can help you to do better at school.  
  • Describe your first visit to a museum .
  • The difference of being a child in the past and today .
  • Write about your trip to Yellowstone National Park and what you liked the most about it.  
  • What makes a good parent ?
  • How does your dream home look like?
  • Do you remember what difficulties you faced while learning to write?  
  • Tell about your favorite holiday .
  • What do you like about Christmas ?
  • How I learned to ride a bicycle.
  • Describe the lessons you have in primary school and which of them is your favorite.
  • Write about your physical education teacher .
  • Discuss the pre-school education facility you’ve visited.  

Sometimes such prompts can help you better than primary school essay writing samples. First of all, it gives you a direction by leaving you with the questions that only you can answer. Second, it shows you a variety of topics and themes available. Nevertheless, we still encourage you to look at some simple essays for primary school for better results.

All in all:

Essays are the most common academic paper that might seem easy to a writer. Our free tips will help you to get through any kind of paper. Still, if you are stuck on essay writing, you can always ask us for help!

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

Thank you for reading the article! Share it with peers and leave a comment below to let us know your opinion.

Further reading:

  • Essay Topics for Grade 8, 9, 10, 12
  • What Does an Excellent Essay Look Like?
  • 1000-Word Essays: Quick Answers
  • Breaking Down the Types of Essays
  • A Complete Guide to Essay Writing
  • How to Write a Good 5 Paragraph Essay
  • The Basics of Effective Essay Writing: Becton Loveless, Education Corner
  • 50 Writing Prompts for Elementary School Children: Janelle Cox, ThoughtCo
  • Student Writing Models: Thoughtful Learning K-12
  • Elementary Archives:
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Being a primary school teacher of English language, I have discovered that many students leave primary school without basic essay writing skills. This is because as teachers, we do less to help and guide the learners in this aspect. We do less because we lack the knowledge and ability to guide the learners perfect this writing skills yet it is considered the production stage of language learning. Kindly help me. Guide me further so that I can also guide my learners.

A great suggestion for primary teachers and parents!

This is a very good method to preach the acknowledgments on report writing towards people.

Thank you for your great effort and help. Your blog has taught me many things! Thanks for this fantastic blog post on writing primary school essays.

Thanks for the post on writing essays for primary schools. It’s a real help for me and my son, who just starts to learn how to write essays.

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  1. ️ Examples of good creative writing. Useful Creative Writing Examples

    creative writing examples for primary school

  2. Creative Writing Curriculum Writing

    creative writing examples for primary school

  3. 200+ Printable Writing Prompts for Kids

    creative writing examples for primary school

  4. 5 examples of creative writing

    creative writing examples for primary school

  5. 10 of the best creative writing resources for teaching plot and setting

    creative writing examples for primary school

  6. Creative Writing Rubric For Elementary

    creative writing examples for primary school


  1. रचनात्मक लेखन अनुच्छेद लेखन |(Creative writing paragraph writing) (Hindi Grammar) |Six Class

  2. How to start #creative writing to our kids step by step

  3. Children's writing: Pictures, words, sentences and beyond! by Lucy Crichton

  4. Pre-Writing Activities for Primary Students

  5. An Introduction to the Oxford University Creative Writing Summer School

  6. Visual Writing Prompts for Students (Fun Creative Writing & Story Topics)


  1. Hundreds of Awesome Creative Writing Topics for kids

    61. Create a new food/or meal and make a recipe to teach others how to make it. Have the kids draw a picture of the new food/meal. 62. Create a new game and describe how to play. This writing topic lets children use their imaginations. Have the children draw out the game on paper.

  2. 300 Creative Writing Prompts for Kids

    Which is better, winter or summer? Write about the reasons why you think winter or summer is better. #4. Write about what would it be like if you had an alligator as a pet. #5. If you had $1,000, what would you buy and why? #6. Write a story using these 5 words: apple, train, elephant, paper, banjo. #7.

  3. Creative writing techniques for kids: a step-by-step guide to writing a

    Story language. Ask your child to think of some fabulous words to use in their story writing. They might be long words or simple ones, or they might be great descriptive words or words that help create pace and tension. Encourage them to jot these down and refer to the list as they write their story.

  4. 51 Creative Writing Activities For The Classroom: Comics, Prompts

    By figuring out what elements make stories great, this is sure to help them in their own creative writing assignments! Learn More: Little Lifelong Learners. 33. The Best Part of Me. Probably my favorite creative writing activity, this one is infused with social-emotional learning and self-esteem building!

  5. 50 Writing Prompts for Elementary School Children

    Good writing prompts get students' creative juices flowing, help them write more freely, and ease any anxiety they may feel about the writing process.To integrate writing prompts into your lessons, ask students to choose one writing prompt each day or week. To make the activity more challenging, encourage them to write without stopping for at least five minutes, increasing the number of ...

  6. Model Composition for Primary School

    Good English Composition Examples for Primary School. The model compositions compiled here are written by our students. These are good English composition examples and they give you an idea of what primary school students are capable of writing. We take in a wide range of students in our weekly writing classes and online courses. Some of them ...

  7. 20 Creative Writing Activities for Elementary Students

    This narrative writing activity can teach students to write events clearly and in sequence from their real life. 12. For a creative writing project that's just plain fun, try this Roll a Story activity. 13. This nonfiction project helps children learn to write a letter as they write to a loved one of their choice. 14.

  8. Free English Writing Resources for Primary School

    Here are 88 Awesome IDIOMS that you can learn and apply immediately. Boost your language marks for compo writing and WOW your teacher! Simple & Easy-to-use. Minimal Memory Work. Examples provided. Learn the meaning of these idioms! Click here to Download.

  9. Creative writing prompts for KS1 and KS2 English

    Try these story starters, structures, worksheets and other fun writing prompt resources for primary pupils…. by Laura Dobson. DOWNLOAD A FREE RESOURCE! Creative writing prompts - 5 worksheets plus word mats for KS1 and KS2 pupils. Download Now.

  10. Primary English: Creative writing

    4 x fun and flexible creative writing lessons which will excite even the most reluctant writers; fun activities which guide your pupils through the key elements of narrative writing (descriptive settings, developing characters and structuring a story); creative writing competition linked to the less...

  11. 150 Inspiring Picture Writing Prompts (Free Google Slides)

    150 Inspiring Picture Writing Prompts To Spark Creativity (Free Google Slides) Use a picture to write a thousand words! Creative writing is a challenge for many students, often because they can't come up with anything to write about. That's why we love picture writing prompts. Each one sparks the imagination and helps young writers jump ...

  12. Student Writing Models

    Student Models. When you need an example written by a student, check out our vast collection of free student models. Scroll through the list, or search for a mode of writing such as "explanatory" or "persuasive.".

  13. 9 strategies for improving writing skills in primary school

    8. Get creative with the teaching. Where possible, try to connect what the children are interested in with their writing. For example, if you have learners interested in Minecraft, they could write a letter of persuasion to the Prime Minister to persuade him to allow Minecraft lessons in school.

  14. Creative writing tips for teachers: ideas and activities to inspire

    I've had great success in helping the children to build up their vocabulary and to create exciting emotional writing using this method. For example, I worked with my year 6 class on the theme of ...

  15. Writing

    3. Try some real-world writing. Writing for a real purpose can be a great way to fit in some practice. Writing cards, shopping lists, or letters or messages to relatives can be motivating real-life reasons for writing, and can show children how useful it is to be able to write well. They will also learn that we use different writing styles in ...

  16. 13 Creative Writing Topics For Your Primary 3 To Try at Home

    11. Hard Work Pays Off. Write about a character who wanted something very much, and how he or she worked hard to get it. Purpose: Creative writing for primary 3 students should draw from the child's imagination to construct an inspiring story. Read more: How to Make Creative Writing for Primary 3 Easy for Children. 12.

  17. What is creative writing?

    Narrative or creative writing will be developed throughout a child's time at primary school. This table gives a rough idea of how story structure, sentence structure, description and punctuation are developed through story-writing lessons at school. (Please note: expectations will vary from school to school.

  18. Teaching creative writing in primary schools: a systematic review of

    Interestingly, many of the studies used literary forms and/or professional creative authors to spike interest and motivation in the students. Coles' study, for example, used a garden-themed poetry writing project to support 9-10-year-old children's creative writing in a London primary school. The 5-week project partnered with a ...

  19. PDF How to Teach Creative Writing

    Primary/Elementary School Creative Writing Activities for Primary School How to Teach Creative Writing to Elementary School Students ... For example, have the students write a story on what they would do if they found a bag of money or gold on the way home from school. With older students, use the prompt as inspiration for short stories not

  20. Teaching creative writing in primary schools: a systematic review of

    T eaching creative writing in primary schools: a systematic . ... creative writing. For example, the need to value unique spaces f or students to write, G. Barton et al. 1 3.

  21. Writing Skills

    Narration - the voice that tells the story, either first person (I/me) or third person (he/him/she/her). This needs to have the effect of interesting your reader in the story with a warm and ...

  22. Essay for Primary School: Simple Guide for Kids [with Samples]

    Essay for Primary School: Simple Guide for Kids [with Samples] (44 votes) The age of primary school students ranges from 5 to 11 years. At this stage of education, children start developing their writing skills. They make their first steps to analyzing and proving their points of view.

  23. Creative Writing for Primary School: Module 1

    Our experts have curated 4 key genres of writing which are central to creative writing and mostly used in academic exams and writing assessments. They are as follows: story writing, descriptive writing, persuasive writing, and formal letter writing. The structure of the course has been carefully crafted in a way to make the learning experience ...

  24. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.

  25. The Young Writers Annual Showcase 2024

    For Schools. The school who submits the best set of entries is awarded The Young Writers Award of Excellence! PLUS every participating school receives a free copy of the book their students feature in! (Remember, you receive 1 free copy for every 30 entries you submit! E.g. 1-30 entries you receive 1 copy, 31-60 entries you receive 2 copies, etc)