Where Do You Find Released Writing Prompts?

Are you looking for a fabulous collection of released writing prompts from state writing assessments? Would 114 PAGES of these released writing prompts be enough? If so, you have landed on the right page! Below you will find the finest collection of released writing prompts available. Nearly all the prompts are appropriate for elementary and middle school students, and there are quite a few designed specifically for high school students.

What Types or Kinds of Writing are Students Required to Write on State Writing Assessments?

The best model for classifying writing is the Four Modes of Discourse model: Narrative, Descriptive, Expository, and Argument. These Four Modes of Discourse are the Four Main Genres of Writing. However, on state writing tests you are likely to find a variety of different types of writing and writing prompts: persuasive, informative, imaginative, summarize, and response to literature writing prompts. Keep in mind that all of these additional types of writing can always be classified as one the Four Main Genres (Four Modes of Discourse).

In the collections of released writing prompts below, you will find examples of all of these different types of writing prompts. (Please Note: You will not find many examples of “summarize” and “respond to literature” prompts. These two types of prompts are built around and connected to a reading passage. As such, I have included a few examples of these types of prompts at the bottom of this page.)

What is The Value and Benefit of Released Writing Prompts?

The value and benefit of these released writing prompts can be far-reaching. Spending just a little time dissecting and analyzing these released writing prompts will have a very large payoff. The truth of writing assessments is that many students are off track before they even place their pencil on the paper. Many students completely miss the mark on what they are supposed to write. They write about what they thought they were supposed to write about, or they write about what they wish they had been asked to write about. It’s SO FRUSTRATING to see good writers miss the purpose and intent behind a writing prompt and get a poor score.

In other words, these released writing prompts from state writing assessments have more benefit than simply providing interesting topics to write about. (Once again, be sure to read Writing Prompt Structure and Keywords for State Writing Tests.” As well, check back for upcoming posts dealing with state writing assessments.)

IMPORTANT NOTE

I’ve updated these links several times; people seem to move these files around quite a bit. As such, I’ve included a couple sample prompts from each collection so that you can do a Google search for the prompts in case the link becomes broken. Enjoy!

COLLECTION 1: If you teach 3rd-5th grade, you are going to love this collection! It’s from Florida’s fourth grade writing assessment, the FCAT. It’s just four pages, but it contains many, many excellent narrative, expository, and persuasive writing prompts.

Expository: Most teenagers have chores. Think about why it is important for teenagers to have chores. Now write to explain why it is important for teenagers to have chores.

Persuasive: The principal of your school does not agree with having students work in groups to do all their school work. Think about the reasons why students should work in groups to do all their school work. Now write to convince your principal whether students should work in groups to do all their school work.

Narrative: Everyone has done something that he or she will always remember. Think about a time you did something special that you will always remember. Now write a story about the time you did something special that you will always remember.

 

COLLECTION 2: Here is another fabulous collection from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. It’s 47 PAGES and has released writing prompts from the sixth grade, ninth grade, and eleventh grade writing assessments.

6th Grade Narrative: Your teacher comes into the room and places a book on the desk. The book begins to move. Write about what adventure occurs when the book is opened and tell what you learn from this adventure.

6th Grade Persuasive: Many public places do not permit skateboarding/ bicycling/ rollerblading. Do you agree or disagree with this rule? Write to persuade community leaders to support your opinion.

9th Grade Informational: High school is the time when some students begin to look for part-time employment. What is a good part-time job for someone your age? Why would this job be appropriate for a teenager?

 

COLLECTION 3: Here is a collection from Oregon. It’s 10 pages and includes prompts for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Elementary (Grades 3-4-5)

Narrative: Tell a true story about a time you really appreciated getting help from someone. You may have been given advice, given help with a project, been loaned something you needed, or given some other kind of help you appreciated.

Expository: Many people have an activity or hobby they like. Choose one of your favorite activities and explain it to someone who doesn’t know much about it.

Imaginative: Sometimes when people look at clouds in the sky they think they can see the shapes of animals, people, objects or other figures. Make up a story about one of these shapes coming to life.

Middle School (Grades 6-7-8)

Narrative: Many people influence us. Sometimes they introduce us to a new interest or hobby, or sometimes they affect our views on things. Think of someone who has had a significant influence on you and tell a true story about it.

Expository: Research shows that people communicate messages about who they are by the clothing they wear. Explain how and in what ways you think clothing sends messages to other people.

Persuasive: Think of something you would like to have changed or added in your school. It could relate to a school policy, a facility or building, or course offerings. Take a position on one specific issue and convince others to agree with you.

 

COLLECTION 4: Here is a collection just for high school students. It’s from the Georgia High School Writing Test; it’s seven pages and contains 57 detailed writing prompts. The prompts all seem to be argument writing prompts. Long before the Common Core State Standards placed argument in an elevated category, Georgia took argument writing very seriously!

Writing Situation: Many adolescents have difficulty making the move to high school. In response to this problem, the board of education has decided to require that all first year high school students attend an orientation workshop just before school begins. You have been selected to serve on the committee which will plan the orientation activities. Directions for Writing: Write a report to be presented to the workshop planning committee in which you make recommendations for the activities and information that should be part of the program to prepare students for high school. Support your recommendations.

Writing Situation: The business world has adopted the idea of cooperation and team work to increase productivity and solve problems. The belief is that teams can accomplish more than one person alone. Your English teacher has announced that your class might do major projects working in teams. If you had a choice, would you choose to work as a team or to work alone? Directions for Writing: Write a letter to your teacher convincing him or her that students should or should not work in teams. Include reasons and examples in support of your position.

 

COLLECTION 5: These collections are all Word docs, so you will be prompted to save them. It will be easier for you (and less confusing) if I just give you the keywords and have you do a Google search. Google search these terms and the doc files will almost certainly be in the number one position:

  • 60 Persuasive Prompts – Shiocton
  • 40 Descriptive Prompts – Shiocton
  • 75 Expository Prompts – Shiocton
  • 45 Narrative Prompts – Shiocton

Persuasive: Some schools have graduation ceremonies in the fifth and eighth grade before students have completed their education. What do you think of this?  Should students have graduation ceremonies before they finish all of their education? Think of some reasons to support your opinion. Now, write an essay to convince the reader of your point of view.

Persuasive: Many people are convinced that violence on TV influences children and teens to be violent in real life. Do you think that this is true? Do you think that the violence on TV is responsible for increased violence among today’s youth? Take a stand on this issue, and write an essay to convince your reader of your position on whether TV causes violence in real life.

Descriptive: Every person has a favorite place to play. Think of your favorite place to play. It may be your backyard, or a playground, or a nearby woods, or an open field. What does this place look like? What are the sounds you hear there? What does it feel and smell like? Describe your favorite place to play so that your reader can see it without being there.

Descriptive: Every child enjoys playing on a playground. Think of the playgrounds you have played in. Think of what makes them better. Maybe you’ve already seen it, but think of what makes the perfect playground. Think of how it looks, sounds, feels, and smells. Now, describe your idea of a perfect playground so that your reader can see it clearly.

Expository: We all get angry at times, but different people react in different ways. Some people show their anger openly, and some hide it within themselves. Explain and describe what you do when you get mad and how it affects you.

Expository: Games are fun and often teach us something as well. Think about your favorite game. Write a paper telling about your favorite game. Explain to the reader your reasons for enjoying it.

Expository: Everyone has responsibilities. Write a paper explaining a responsibility you have now or will have in the future and why you shoulder that responsibility.

Imaginative Narrative: On your birthday, a strange-looking lady came to your door and handed you a wrapped present. You rattled it. It made a noise. Write a story about this present.

Personal Narrative: Your teacher one day announced that your class was going on a wonderful field trip. Write a story about this field trip. In your story, you can have your class go anywhere you wish.

Summarize and Respond to Literature Prompts

Once again, you will not find many, or possibly any, of these two types of writing prompts in the collections of writing prompts found above. State writing assessments seldom ask students to respond to literature or summarize a text. That being said, both responding to literature and summarizing texts are extremely important writing skills. Furthermore, district writing assessments often require students to address these two types of writing prompts, and district writing assessments are considerably more common than state writing assessments.

As such, here are a few examples illustrating what these writing prompts usually like look like on writing assessments. Remember, both of these types of writing prompts require that students read an article or passage. It’s interesting to note that the actual prompts are usually quite short and quite simple. Reason being, reading and analyzing the text is an added layer of complexity. For this reason, the prompts ALWAYS ask students just ONE THING. Take a look!

Respond to Literature Example Prompts

♦  Read the story. What message about life is the author trying to communicate to the reader? Be sure to use specific examples from the story to support your answer.

♦  Based on the story “Down and Out,” how can the reader tell that life during the Great Depression was a struggle? Use specific examples from the passage to support your answer.

♦  Do you think “Time for Tea and Crumpets” is a good title for this story? Why or why not? Be sure to use details from the story to support your answer.

Write a Summary Example Prompt

♦  Write a summary of the article. Be sure to:

  • state the main idea or ideas of the article
  • tell the important details that support the main idea
  • use your own words when writing your summary .

 

Important Note: Good writing prompts are not a substitute for effective writing instruction, so here is a plan for writing success. First, download these writing prompts and then immediately check out Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay. Every day more and more teachers are discovering how much quicker and how much easier teaching writing is once they understand Pattern Based Writing!

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