If you’re looking for writing prompts for kids, I have something important to tell you: kids don’t need them! Here’s why.
Do you remember creative writing in school? If your experience was anything like mine, you took out a notebook or piece of paper and looked up at the board for the day’s writing prompt.
What is your happiest memory, and why?
Imagine that you looked out your bedroom window and saw an alien spaceship. What would you do?
Tell five things you did this weekend.
Write a story about the time it rained M & M’s.
Like me, you dutifully completed the prompt and checked it off your list.
But what if I told you that kids don’t need writing prompts? In fact, they’ll learn to be more proficient writers without them.
Prompts are limiting.
Writing to a prompt is like sitting in a cardboard box; our students can only stretch so far. When we assign prompts, our students aren’t inspired to grow as writers.
They just want to know how many sentences they have to write.
Students become invested in their writing when they choose their own topics.
Finding their own ideas and audience gives our students a sense of ownership. They have a reason to care about their writing when it’s about something that matters to them.
Choosing topics builds confidence.
When we tell our students that we trust that they’ll find their own meaningful topics, we’re telling them that their lives matter. Their experiences are important enough to write about.
If we rescue them each time they’re stumped for an idea, we’re telling them that they can’t solve their writing challenges.
Students need to learn the entire writing process.
We don’t do our students’ math work or reading assignments. Why would we do part of their writing work? After all, finding a meaningful topic is the beginning of the writing process. It’s what real-world writers do every day.
We expect our students to do the work of real writers because they are real writers.
But giving writing prompts is easier!
It’s true. Finding a free pack of prompts through Pinterest or buying a set on Teachers Pay Teachers takes just a few minutes.
And nobody likes to hear “I don’t know what to write about!” ten times a day.
I hear you.
Are writing prompts always wrong?
Like most educational tools, writing prompts are okay when used in moderation. Occasionally children benefit from a writing prompt to “get the juices flowing” or to prepare for a standardized writing test.
But if you’re teaching writing by giving a daily or weekly prompt, your students are missing out. (Big time.)
We can teach children to find their own writing ideas.
My ebook has over twenty ideas for teaching kids to find their own writing ideas – plus a variety of printables to help them do just that.
Stay tuned for next week’s writing post… I’ll share some of those ideas right here on the blog!
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