Engaging Writing Prompts for 3rd Graders

3rd Grade Writing Prompts
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Students in 3rd grade should be writing regularly in a variety of styles and for a variety of audiences. Useful writing projects for 3rd graders include opinion, informative, and narrative essays, as well as short research projects.

For many students, the most difficult part of writing is facing the blank page. The following grade-level appropriate writing prompts provide plenty of inspiration to help your students get started on a number of different writing assignments.

Narrative Essay Writing Prompts

Narrative essays tell a story based on real or imagined events. Students should use descriptive writing and dialogue to tell their tale.

  1. Scary Stuff. Think of something that scares you and explain what makes it so frightening.
  2. Grouchy Pants. Describe a day when you were grouchy. What made you so grumpy and how did you get in a better mood?
  3. School Rules. If you could make a new school rule, what would it be? How would your rule change an average day at school?
  4. Snappy Travel. Imagine you could snap your fingers and be anywhere else in the world. Write about where you’d go.
  5. Family Tales. What is the most interesting story that a family member has ever told you about their life?
  6. Food Forever. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
  7. Book Bound. If you could be the main character from your favorite book, who would you be? Write about an adventure you might have.
  8. Seeing Double. Imagine that you have an identical twin who is a different class than you. What pranks would you play on your teachers and classmates?
  9. Nessy's Life. Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster? Imagine you’re the monster. Describe your life under the sea.
  10. Lost. Have you ever been lost? Write about your experience.
  11. Perfect Party. Describe what the ultimate birthday party would look like if you could do anything you wanted.
  12. Kindness Counts. You’re given $100 to do random acts of kindness for others. What do you do?
  13. Memory Eraser. Describe something that happened to you that you wish you could forget. Explain why.

Opinion Essay Writing Prompts

When writing an opinion essay, students should clearly state their opinion, then back it up with sound reasons and facts. Opinion essays should close the essay with a concluding paragraph and a summary of the argument. 

  1. Be a Friend. What does it mean to be a good friend?
  2. Growing Up or Down. Would you rather be older than you are right now or younger? Why?
  3. Hello? Some kids in 3rd grade have cell phones. Do you? Do you think that’s good or bad?
  4. Best Pets. Which animal makes the best pet? Give at least three reasons for your opinion.
  5. Tattletale. If you saw one of your friends doing something that you knew was wrong, should you tell on them? Why or why not?
  6. School Favorites. What do you think is the best subject in school? What makes it the best?
  7. Off Limits. Is there a TV show that you’re not allowed to watch or a video game that you’re not allowed to play? Explain why your parents should allow it.
  8. Summer School. Should your school be in session year ‘round with more breaks throughout the year or continue to give students the summer off? Why?
  9. Junk Food Fans. Should candy and soda machines be available to students on school property? Why or why not?
  10. School Supplies. What is the most important tool in your classroom? What makes it so useful?
  11. School Pride. What is the best thing about being a student at your school?
  12. What’s in a Name? If you could change your name, what would you choose and why?

Informative Essay Writing Prompts

Informative essays introduce a topic, explain a process, or describe an idea, then provide facts, definitions, and details. Students should organize related information into paragraphs in order to write the most logical essay possible. Remember that they should also include introductory and concluding paragraphs.

  1. Real Superheroes. Superheroes in movies and comics can do some pretty amazing things, but think of someone you consider to be a real-life hero. What do (or did) they do that makes them a hero? 
  2. Liar, Liar. Someone told your best friend a lie about you and your friend believed them. Explain how you’d handle the situation.
  3. Student Teacher. Think of something that you found difficult to do at first (such as multiplication or tying your shoes), but that you now understand. Explain the process so that someone else could learn to do it.
  4. Holidays. What is your favorite holiday? Explain how you celebrate it.
  5. Pet Sitter. Your family is going on vacation and a pet-sitter is coming to care for your pets. Write a note explaining how to care for them.
  6. PB&J. Write out the step-by-step process for making the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  7. Chores. What is a household chore for which you are responsible? Explain how to do it.
  8. Emergency Drills. Think of one emergency drill that your school practices. Write a paper describing exactly how to do it as if you were explaining it to a brand-new student.
  9. Allergies. Do you have a serious allergy to something like peanuts or milk? Write an essay explaining why it’s so important for you not to come into contact with the allergen.
  10. Color Wheel. What is your favorite color? Choose an animal or object that is that color and describe it.
  11. State Fun Facts. Describe some interesting facts about your state to someone who has never visited.
  12. Family Traditions. Describe a unique family tradition that your family has.
  13. Game On. What's your favorite game? Explain the rules to someone who has never played it before.

Research Writing Prompts

Students in 3rd grade can conduct simple research projects that build on their knowledge about a topic. They should use digital and print media to explore the topic, take simple notes, and create a basic outline before beginning the writing process.

  1. State History. What is the history of your state? Research the history and write an essay about one key event in your state's past.
  2. Marsupials. Marsupials are animals who carry their babies in pouches. With the exception of the opossum, all marsupials live in Australia. Choose one of them to learn more about.
  3. Insects. They may be small, but insects play an important role in our environment. Choose an insect to research and write an essay about its characteristics.
  4. Jaws! Are Great White sharks really man-eaters? Research this question and write an essay about your answer. 
  5. Bat Signal. How do bats use echolocation?
  6. Explorers. Choose a famous (or not-so-famous) explorer to research.
  7. Comic Book Heroes. When was the first comic book published and what was it about?
  8. Extreme Weather. Choose an extreme weather event such as a tornado, hurricane, or tsunami, and explain its cause.
  9. International Space Station. Learn more about the International Space Station: how it's used, who visits it, and why it's important. Write an essay about your findings.
  10. Ben Franklin, Inventor. Many people know Benjamin Franklin as a Founding Father and statesman, but he was also an inventor. Learn about some of the things he invented.
  11. Legends. Research a popular legend such as the Lost City of Atlantis, Big Foot, or Paul Bunyan. Write an essay describing the evidence for or against the legend.
  12. Presidential History. Research the childhood of one American president and write an essay about what you learn.
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Bales, Kris. "Engaging Writing Prompts for 3rd Graders." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/3rd-grade-writing-prompts-4172725. Bales, Kris. (2020, August 27). Engaging Writing Prompts for 3rd Graders. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/3rd-grade-writing-prompts-4172725 Bales, Kris. "Engaging Writing Prompts for 3rd Graders." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/3rd-grade-writing-prompts-4172725 (accessed June 5, 2023).