First Grade Writing Prompts

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

Introduce your first grade students to writing with prompts designed to help spark their imagination while also developing their narrative and explanatory writing skills. You'll also discover some additional resources you can use to supplement writing and literacy instruction in your classroom.

How Can I Introduce My First Graders to Writing?

First grade will likely be one of the first chances young students have to fully immerse themselves in schoolwork, not to mention express themselves through writing. To ease them into this process, consider the following ideas for writing prompts:

  • When I Grow Up: One of the go-to questions for adults when talking to children, 'what do you want to be when you grow up' also makes for an instant writing assignment. Children are free to imagine what they intend to do once they reach adulthood, and the only limit at this point in their lives is their imagination.
  • What Talents Do You Have: This exercise also works as a self-esteem booster for children. They get the chance to talk about something they do well, and seeing their own thoughts on paper can help reinforce confidence in their abilities. The power of positive thinking cannot be underestimated in first grade.
  • What Toys Would Say: Every child has a favorite toy, and now the imaginary conversations they've had with these objects can be discussed in writing. This will be another exercise in creativity where they can let their minds run wild.
  • If I Were Invisible: Let this be a chance for first graders to really brainstorm and see what kinds of crazy activities they would get into if they could never be seen. Encourage them to think of all the different places and times when they could wind up as an invisible person.
  • Favorite Things: Ask your first graders to describe something they're especially fond of, whether it be a time of year, a pet or a room in their house. Have them include plenty of details explaining why a particular place or thing is their favorite.
  • Adventures in Story Telling: Encourage students to imagine themselves on an incredible adventure. Where would they go? What would they do? Ask them to tell the story of their exploits.

What Other Resources Can I Use?'s course on Effective Instructional Strategies for Teachers includes a video lesson specifically tailored to teaching first grade students in addition to a lesson on techniques for teaching writing.

Literacy Instruction in the Elementary School is another course you might find useful. Vocabulary instruction, writing development patterns, the writing process and activities for developing writing skills are just some of the lessons you can use to help students draft responses to the writing prompts you give them in class.

In addition to five-minute video lessons, both courses include quizzes and practice tests to help check your understanding of the instructional strategies being discussed. Plus, materials are delivered in a mobile-friendly format that allows you to access them on your tablet or smartphone.

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