Writing Prompts for 5th Grade

fifth grade male student uses a pencil to write in a notebook
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By fifth grade, students are developing basic fluency as writers. In order to hone their skills, fifth graders should practice supporting claims with factual information, conveying information clearly, and writing narratives in a logical order. The following fifth grade writing prompts encourage students to develop their skills through topics that are meaningful to them.

Narrative Essay Writing Prompts

Narrative essays tell a story based on a student’s personal experience.

They encourage students to use descriptive writing to reflect on their experiences, explain them in a logical manner, and draw conclusions from them.

  1. New Beginnings. This is your last year of elementary school. What are you most excited or most nervous about when you think of starting middle school?
  2. Betwixt. Students in 5th grade are often referred to as “tweens,” meaning that they are between the young child and the teen years. What is the hardest part about being a tween in today’s society?
  3. Besties. What is the best book you’ve ever read? What made it so special?
  4. Reflections. Do you remember your first-ever day of school? Describe one vivid memory from that day.
  5. Bullies. Have you ever witnessed someone bullying another student? What happened and how did it make you feel?
  6. Man’s Best Friend. Do you share a bond with your dog or other pet? Describe your pet, and explain what makes your relationship unique.
  1. Families. A family isn’t always a mom, a dad, and their children. Write about the ways your family is the same as and different from other types of families and what makes your bonds so strong.
  2. Holiday Memories. Think about one of your favorite holiday-related memories. Write an essay describing it and tell why it is so unforgettable.
  1. Guilty. Think about a time you did something that made you feel guilty. Describe what happened.
  2. The Ultimate Field Trip. If you could choose anywhere in the world to go on a field trip, where would you choose and why?
  3. Family Game Night. Do you enjoy playing games with your family? Describe your favorite family game or activity.
  4. Tasty Treats. What is your favorite food? Describe it as if you were introducing it to someone who has never seen or tasted it.
  5. Someday. Have you thought about what you want to be when you grow up? Write an essay explaining why you think you’d like that career.

Persuasive Essay Writing Prompts

Persuasive essays are those written to convince another person to agree with the writer or take action. These persuasive essay prompts inspire 5th graders to share their passions with an audience.

  1. Pets Day. You’ve just gone to work with your parent for “bring your child to work day.” Write an essay convincing your school to have a “bring your pet to school” day.
  2. Yuck. What is your least-favorite cafeteria food? Give three compelling reasons why your school should quit serving it.
  3. Let’s Trade. Your friend’s lunches from home always look better than yours. Write an essay convincing your buddy that you should start swapping meals every day. Be sure to highlight the benefits of the food you bring!
  1. Home Alone. Write an essay convincing your parents that you are old enough and responsible enough to stay at home alone.
  2. Sunny Day. The weather outside is beautiful for the first time in weeks. Persuade your teacher not to assign any homework so that you’ll have time to go out to play.
  3. The Sequel. The long-awaited sequel to your favorite book or video game is now available. Convince your brother or sister to do your chores this week so that you have plenty of time for reading or gaming.
  4. Seating Chart. Because of your teacher’s seating chart, you’re not going to be able to sit next to your friend all year! Persuade your teacher to let students choose their seats.
  5. Birth Order. Are you an only child, the oldest sibling, the youngest, or the middle? What makes your birth order the best?
  6. The Ultimate Game. What is the best video game on the planet? Explain why it’s better than similar games.
  1. Life Lessons. What are the three most important lessons parents should teach their children and why?
  2. Test Time. Do you think standardized tests are helpful or harmful? Explain your answer.
  3. Tunes. Some studies have shown that listening to music can help students concentrate. Should students be allowed to listen to music using headphones during independent work times at school? Persuade the reader of your answer.
  4. Catch-22. You’re not a big fan of writing. Write an essay convincing your teacher that you shouldn’t have to write any more essays this year.

Expository Essay Writing Prompts

Expository essays are often called how-to essays. They usually teach the reader something or provide facts about a particular topic.

  1. Let’s Play. Your family frequently attends community theater productions, but your friend has never seen one. Write an essay describing what he or she can expect during the evening.
  2. Band. You're graduating elementary school, and a younger student is taking your spot in the school band. Explain to him or her how to clean and care for your musical instrument.
  3. Lessons Learned. Write an essay to a younger sibling explaining two or three key strategies for having a positive 5th grade experience.
  4. Class Pet. You’ve cared for your class pet this week, but now it’s another classmate’s turn. Explain how to feed and care for the pet properly.
  5. Upgrade Ahead. You have an idea to improve your school. Explain it.
  6. Safety Zone. Explain three of the best steps kids can take to be safe online.
  7. Family Traditions. Does your family have any customs or traditions that might be unfamiliar to a classmate? Describe them.
  1. Pen Pal. Describe for your pen pal who lives in another state an animal native to your area, including its physical characteristics, behaviors, and any sounds that it makes.
  2. Creepy Crawlies. Compare and contrast two insects or animals that are similar, but have different characteristics such as a bumblebee and a yellow jacket or a horse and a mule. How are they alike and how are they different?
  3. Clean Up. Your class is going to spend a day cleaning up at a local park. You’ve done this with another group before, but some of your classmates haven’t. Explain the process.
  4. Action. Your favorite book was made into a movie. Compare and contrast the film and book versions.
  5. Team Players. Explain how contributing responsibly helps or how it hurts a group when someone doesn’t do his part.
  6. Tell and Show. Your class is having a “tell and show” day. You have to describe your item in as much detail as possible without naming it. Only when the class guesses or gives up can you show your item. Write out the description of your item.

Creative Writing Essay Prompts

Creative writing allows students to engage their imaginations and story-telling skills while also practicing vital writing skills such as sequence and description.

  1. Magic Lamp. You’ve just found a magic lamp. What happens when you rub it?
  2. Say Cheese. You are given an exceptional camera. Everything you take a picture of becomes yours, but you can only take three pictures. Tell a story about the photos you take. 
  3. Invisible Man. One morning, you glance in the mirror and realize that you don’t have a reflection. You’ve become invisible! Write a story about your day.
  1. Gone to the Dogs. Write a story from your pet’s point of view.
  2. All Hail the King. Imagine that you discover an uncharted land that you claim as a new country. And, you’re the ruler! Describe your country, its people, and your newfound position of power.
  3. Part of the Story. One night, you doze off after reading the latest book in your favorite series. When you wake, you discover that you’re in the story! Write about your adventures.
  4. Before or After. Imagine that you live either 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future. What is your life like?
  5. Dr. Doolittle. You’re walking through a pet store when you discover that you can talk to the animals. What happens next?
  6. Meet and Greet. Imagine that you can meet anyone you’re studying in school right now from famous scientists to historical figures to the characters in the class read-aloud. Write a story about your meeting with that person.
  7. Switcheroo. If you could switch lives with anyone in your school, who would it be? Write about your day in the life of that person.
  8. Holiday Loop. Imagine you get to relive your favorite holiday every day. What’s that like?
  9. Tall Tales. Tall tales are possibly true stories that contain highly exaggerated actions or events. Create a tall tale about something that happened in your family.
  10. Teacher's Pet. Imagine that your teacher is actually your parent. Describe a day in class.