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65 Expository Prompts for Kids
1. Write about what you think the world will be like in 100 years.
2. We are learning all the time. Write about something you have learned recently and how it has affected you.
3. You have been asked by your principal to recommend one course which will help you prepare for the job you want in the future. It could be a course your school is already offering or a new course. Write an essay to explain to your principal the course you would recommend. Be sure to give the reasons for your suggestion.
4. Explain the main reasons why you think students drop out of school.
5. Talk about your favorite music and why you like it.
6. Think of your favorite year in school. Explain why it was your favorite year.
7. Friends are important, but everyone has a different opinion of what makes a good friend. Explain what, in your opinion, makes a good friend.
8. Some teachers are special. Without giving any names, explain why one particular teacher in your life was special.
9. If you could change one thing about your school, what would you change? Explain why.
10. 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.
11. Friends sometimes experience conflicts. Explain why this happens.
12. If someone were new to your town, explain to him/her the highlights.
13. If you could make changes to your school lunchroom, what would you do?
14. Most people like one particular animal more than others. Explain why your favorite animal is your favorite animal.
15. Most people remember one day that really was special. Think about a special day you have had and write an essay explaining why that day was so special.
16. Your generation faces many problems. Identify one of these problems that you feel is the most important, explain it, and propose some possible solutions to the problem.
17. Much has been written about the negative effects of television on young people. Are all television shows bad for children? Write an essay describing a show you feel has a positive impact on today’s teens and explain how the show could be helpful.
18. Rules are important in our daily lives. We have rules for driving, rules for studying, and even rules for playing. Think about the rules you have in your school. What three rules should every school have? Write an essay explaining to the reader the three rules you selected. Give clear reasons why each one is needed.
19. 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.
20. Suppose you have been appointed to a neighborhood improvement committee. You must make recommendations on ways to make your neighborhood a better place to live. Think about some changes you would like to make in your neighborhood. Write an essay to inform your reader of changes you would recommend to improve your neighborhood and why these changes are important.
21. If you could choose any animal for a class pet, what would you choose and why?
22. What is your favorite time of the year? Explain why this is your favorite time.
23. Everyone has something or someone that is important to him/her. Pick an object, a person, or a feeling that is important to you and explain why it is so important in your life.
24. Eating healthy foods is very important. Write an essay explaining why it is important to eat healthy foods.
25. Explain why it is important to learn to read.
26. Think back to when you were little and had a favorite toy. Explain why you liked this particular toy.
27. Everyone has chores to do. Explain why you do the job or chore you have.
28. If you could be any other person for a day, who would you be? Explain why you would like to be that person for a day.
29. We are increasingly worried about our environment. Write an essay explaining about one environmental problem you think is important and propose some possible solutions to the problem.
30. Suggest one change that you think can make this country better.
31. If you had a time machine and could go to any time in the past or future, where you go? Explain why you chose that particular time.
32. Everyone has responsibilities. Write a paper explaining a responsibility you have now or will have in the future and why you shoulder that responsibility.
33. Write an essay explaining whether you prefer a big city or small town in which to live and why you prefer it.
34. Your class is making a box to be seen in 2096. Write an essay explaining the one thing you put in that box and why.
35. Think of your favorite year in school. Now write an essay explaining why it was your favorite year.
36. Most adults in this world have a job of some sort. Think of the ideal job for you when you complete your schooling. Now, think of some reasons why this would be your ideal job. Write an essay to explain why this is your ideal job.
37. Schools do not offer all the elective courses (like art and music) that students would like to take. Think of one elective course you want to take that your school does not offer at this time. Think of some reasons why you think this course should be offered. Now, write an essay explaining why you think that this particular elective should be offered in your school.
38. Everyone has a book that he or she enjoyed reading, whether it be a book recently read or one read as a small child. Think of one book you have read that you really enjoyed. Maybe it was your favorite book when you were little. Maybe it’s one you read recently. Think of some reasons why you liked that book. Now, write an essay explaining why you really like your favorite book.
39. Many writers, scientists, and politicians have a view of what the world will be like 50 years from now. What do you think the world will be like by the time you are in your 60’s? Think of the future and the direction you think the world is headed. Write an essay explaining what you believe the world will be like 50 years from now.
40. Many students drop out of school before they graduate from high school. Think of some reasons why you think these students do not finish high school. Now, write an essay explaining why you think students drop out of school.
Alternative for younger students: Many students do not do their work in school and then later often quit school before they graduate. Think of some reasons why you think these students do not do their work and get bad grades. Now, write an essay explaining why you think these students do not work in school and often quit school before graduating.
41.High school English classes require students to read Shakespeare and other classics. Some students object to this practice. Think of some reasons why you think the state requires that Shakespeare and the classics be taught in high school English. Now, write an essay explaining why you think Shakespeare and the classics are required.
Alternative for younger students: In school, students must read classic books that the teacher picks. Some students do not like to be told what to read. They would rather pick their own books. Think of some reasons why your teachers require these classic books that are so famous. Think of some that your teacher has read to you or that you have read yourself. Now, write an essay explaining why you think the teachers insist that students read and listen to the famous classics.
42. Imagine that time travel to the past was possible. Think of where and when you would like to go for a visit. Write an essay telling where and when you would go in the past and explain why you choose to go there.
43. Imagine that you had no TV or radio for one week. Think of some activities that you can do instead to keep you busy and out of trouble. Write an essay to explain what you can do to keep occupied in a week of no TV or radio.
Or, alternatively, if your students are having trouble with this type of essay: Imagine that you had no TV or radio for one week. Think of one activity that you would like to do instead to keep you busy and out of trouble. Write an essay explaining one activity to replace the TV and radio for that week.
44. Teenagers (children) are faced with many problems today. School, home, society, peers all complicate your lives. Think of one problem that really bothers you. Now, think of some solutions to that problem that might make it easier to bear. Write an essay offering solutions to your worst problem.
45. Many teenagers (children) complain that adults expect too much of them. Many adults think that teenagers (children) do not help out enough at home, at school, or in society doing volunteer work. What do you think? Do adults expect too much of you? Think of some reasons to support your answer. Now, write an essay explaining whether or not you think adults expect too much of you.
46. Each year many teenagers are killed by driving under the influence of alcohol or by being in a car driven by another teen who has had too much alcohol. How can the number of alcohol-related deaths be reduced? Think of some solutions you and your friends could implement to solve this problem. What do you think would work to reduce the deaths? Now, write an essay proposing some solutions to help stop teenagers from risking their lives and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Alternative for younger students: Each year many teenagers are killed by driving under the influence of alcohol or by being in a car driven by another teen who has had too much alcohol. Think of what you and your friends, as younger persons who cannot yet drive, can do to keep your older brothers and sisters and friends from drinking and driving when drunk. Write an essay explaining your ideas to keep these teens out of the car if they drink.
47. Pollution, excessive garbage, toxic and industrial waste, using up nonreplaceable resources are all problems facing our environment. Think of one particular environmental problem that you believe could be solved. Now think of some possible solutions to that problem. Write an essay proposing and explaining your solutions to the environmental problem you chose.
48. We all have a place where we can imagine or go where we relax, let our troubles disappear, and have a good time. For some it is a place far away, and for others it is a place close to home. Think of your favorite place where you can feel an escape from the hassles of your world, a place you love to be, your favorite place. Now, write an essay explaining why this place is your favorite.
49. Everyone has something they do to relax and have fun. Some like to read; others prefer sports; still others like to chat with friends. What is your favorite thing to do to relax and have fun? Think of why you enjoy this activity so much. Now, write an essay explaining why your favorite activity is your preferred way to relax and have fun.
50. In the past few years, there have been more and more incidents of violence reported on school campuses. In fact, there have been many reports of violence even at the kindergarten level! What do you think is the cause of this rise in violence? Think of some possible reasons. Write an essay explaining why you think there have been more incidents of violence in schools in recent years.
51. By the time we reach high school, at least one teacher has made an impact in our lives. Think of a teacher you have had who influenced you and really helped you to learn and to mature. Think of some reasons why this teacher made such a positive impact on your life. Now, without mentioning the teacher’s name (use Mr. or Ms. X),explain why this teacher has had such a positive influence in your life.
52. Many kids hear their parents and grandparents talk about “the good old days.” Is this just a figment (imaginary thought) in older people’s minds as they remember their youth? Was life really better twenty or forty years ago? What do you think of this statement? Is life for teens harder now or when your parents and grandparents were young? Now, write an essay explaining your answer to this question.
53. Philosophers have written books and books about the meaning of life. Each one is different. What is your philosophy of life? What is life all about? Decide what you think are the most important elements that make us human, that are the ideas (philosophies) of the way you run your life. Write an essay explaining your philosophy of life.
Alternative for younger students: There are many books that talk about the meaning of life. Your teacher talks about living a “good” life. What do you think are the most important things to remember to follow in the years to come? What do you think are the most important things to do in your life that will lead to your happiness? Now, write an essay explaining what will make life good and meaningful for you.
54. We all have different personalities, different ways of dealing with life, different points of view. What are the main elements of your personality? What kind of a person are you? What are you really like inside? Write an essay explaining your personality to your reader.
55. Life is filled with conflicts, conflicts of interest, conflicts of opinion, conflicts of life styles, etc. Most good novels have some sort of conflict in them to add to the interest. Resolving that conflict is what the novel is about. Think about some of the conflicts in your life. Now think how you resolve those conflicts. Write an essay to explain how you usually resolve conflicts. What is your method?
56. Everyone, no matter how young, has a year in his or her life that was not so good. Think of the worst year of your life. Think of reasons why it was your worst year. Write an essay explaining why that particular year was the worst year of your life. (Or conversely)
57. Your school (the United States, your state, etc.) is not perfect. No matter how good something is, there are always ways to make it better. Think of one problem your school (the United States, your state, etc.) has that might be improved with some clever plans. Now, think of some solutions, some ways to make that improvement. Write an essay explaining your solutions to the problem.
58. Imagine that going to the future was possible. Think how far ahead into the future you would like to visit. Think about your reasons why you would like to choose that particular time. Write an essay telling how far into the future you would like to go and explain why you chose that particular time.
59. When we are young, we play games—board games, imaginary games, sports games. Think of some reasons why you really liked this game. Now, write an essay explaining why this game was your favorite as a younger child.
60. Medical studies have shown that exercise is a necessary part of our daily routine. What do you think? Do you exercise? Think about some reasons why you exercise. Exercising is important. Write an essay why it is important to exercise regularly.
61. We consider certain people (real or made up) to be our heroes. Think about a real or made-up person and why he or she is your hero. Now write an essay explaining why that person is your hero.
62. Imagine if you could do anything you wanted for an entire week. Pick one thing you would like to do that week of freedom. Now write an essay to explain why you chose to do that one thing in a week in which you could have done anything you wanted.
63. You have been told for years by your parents and teachers to eat healthy foods instead of junk food. Think of some reasons why eating healthy foods is important. Now write an essay explaining why eating healthy foods is important.
64. At school, at work, and at play we have to work in teams in order to achieve our goals. Think of some attributes that make a good team player whether it be in a sport, at work, or at school when working in groups. Now write an essay to explain what makes a person a good team player.
65. Your parents and teachers insist that respect for others is very important. Think of some reasons why this might be important. Now write an essay explaining why respect for other people is important.
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10 thoughts on “ 65 Expository Prompts for Kids ”
Thank you but i would do something more fun for a little one.
these are fun
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61 General Expository Essay Topic Ideas to Practice Academic Writing
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Expository essays discuss topics by using facts rather than opinions, requiring students to evaluate and investigate while setting forth their arguments clearly and concisely. Teachers often include expository essays as part of assessments , especially in college-level courses, so students can help themselves succeed by practicing writing these types of essays. When teachers are integrating writing throughout the curriculum, students can use expository essays to demonstrate what they've learned in other courses.
Sample Expository Essay Topics From Students
Tenth-graders wrote the following general expository essay topics. Students can practice writing these topics or use the list to come up with topics of their own. The important thing to remember is that these expository essays are based on facts rather than the writer's beliefs or feelings.
- Explain why you admire a particular person.
- Explain why someone you know should be regarded as a leader.
- Explain why parents are sometimes strict.
- If you had to be an animal, which would you be and why?
- Explain why you especially enjoy a particular teacher.
- Explain why some cities have curfews for teens.
- Explain why some students are forced to leave school once they are sixteen.
- Explain how moving from place to place affects teens.
- Explain why getting a driver's license is an important event in the lives of many teenagers.
- Describe the major stressors in teens' lives.
- Explain why you like or don't like working in a team.
- Describe some nonmaterial things that make you happy.
- Explain why some teens commit suicide.
- Explain how music affects your life.
- Explain the impact of different music genres on society.
- Explain why students listen to a particular type of music.
- Explain why some teens skip school.
- Explain the likely consequences of skipping school.
- Describe the likely consequences of doing poorly in school.
- Explain why teens do drugs.
- Describe the likely consequences of selling drugs.
- Describe the likely consequences of taking drugs.
- Explain why teens smoke cigarettes .
- Explain the likely consequences of being kicked out of school.
- Explain the likely consequences of skipping classes.
- Explain the likely consequences of brothers and sisters constantly fighting.
- Explain why teens wear makeup.
- Explain the consequences of having alcohol on the school campus.
- Explain the likely consequences of being sexually active without using protection.
- Explain why some teens' parents do not like to be alone with their child's boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Explain the likely consequences of increasing the time between classes from five to 15 minutes.
- Explain why some teens join gangs.
- Explain the difficulties some teens have once they are in gangs.
- Explain how life for a teenager changes once she has a baby.
- Describe what you feel a boy should do if he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant.
- Explain why you should or should not laugh at embarrassing moments.
- Describe the effects of marijuana.
- Explain the likely consequences of teens becoming sexually active.
- Explain why it is helpful to organize your materials and activities.
- Explain why your schoolwork is important.
- Describe the ways you help out at home.
- Explain the likely consequences of abolishing capital punishment.
- Explain the consequences of adopting a pass/fail grading system.
- Explain the likely consequences of enforcing an 11:00 p.m. curfew.
- Explain the likely consequences of ending forced busing.
- Explain why some teenagers dislike saying the pledge to the flag.
- Explain why some schools don't have open lunch policies.
- Explain why most teenagers are materialistic.
- Explain why some teens get jobs.
- Explain the consequences of having a job while in high school.
- Explain the likely consequences of dropping out of school.
- Describe some productive ways students can spend their leisure time.
- Explain why dealing with their parents' divorce can be difficult for many teens.
- Explain why teens love their parents even when family situations are difficult.
- Describe the things that bring you the greatest happiness.
- Describe three things you would like to change the world and explain why you would change them.
- Explain why you prefer living in an apartment (or house).
- Describe the likely consequences of requiring a childbearing license.
- Describe three objects that symbolize our culture and explain why you selected them.
- Explain why you are interested in a particular career.
- Explain the likely consequences of requiring students to wear school uniforms.
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How to Write an Expository Essay for Grade Three
How to Make an Outline for a Fourth Grade Research Paper
Third grade is often the year when students first begin to experiment with structured writing, such as the expository essay. Writing an expository essay in third grade is a lot like making a sandwich. Just as a good sandwich has three parts -- the top bun, fillings and bottom bun -- a good expository essay also has three parts: the introduction, details and conclusion.
Choose a Topic
You write an expository essay to tell or teach the reader about a topic. Start by choosing a topic that you think is interesting and that you already know a lot about. You might choose to write about an animal you like, a place you have visited or a person whom you have read about. If you have too many ideas, make a list and then close your eyes and pick.
Do Some Research
Research is when you look for more information on a topic. Start your research by choosing and reading a book about your topic. Pick a book that is nonfiction, as it will have factual information that you can use in your essay. As you read, take notes. Use a notebook to copy down the facts that you think are most important and to write down questions that you have. You will refer to these notes as you write your essay.
Write the Introduction
The beginning of your expository essay is your introduction -- where you capture the reader's attention and tell her what the main idea of the essay is going to be. Make the introduction as interesting as possible so that the reader wants to keep reading. A good way to start an introduction is with a question or with an amazing fact. For example: "Did you know that great white sharks can eat up to 11 tons of food a year? Sharks are amazing and important fish."
Add Some Details
Once you have hooked the reader's attention, tell him more about your topic. Details are individual facts that provide more information about a topic. The best details give sensory information. That means that they give more information that helps your reader imagine how things feel, smell, sound, taste or look. Try to include at least three details in your expository essay. For example: "Sharks might look smooth when they are in the water, but their skin is actually very rough. Sharks are often called silent hunters, because the only sounds they make are crunching sounds -- after they've caught their prey."
Write a Conclusion
The final part of your expository essay is the conclusion where you return to the main idea of your essay and restate it in different words. The conclusion helps tie the whole essay together and reminds the reader of the most important points. Conclusions often start with phrases like "in conclusion," "as you can see," "finally" or "in the end."
Proofread Your Work
If you wrote your essay on paper, reread it and look for spelling, punctuation and capital letter mistakes. If you find any, fix them. If you wrote your essay on the computer, print out a copy and read it on paper, looking for the same kinds of mistakes. Before you hand in your work, check that your name is on the paper. You want to get credit for the hard work you did.
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A lifetime resident of New York, Christi O'Donnell has been writing about education since 2003. O'Donnell is a dual-certified educator with experience writing curriculum and teaching grades preK through 12. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters Degree in education from Mercy College.
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How to Write an Expository Essay | Structure, Tips & Examples
Published on July 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
“Expository” means “intended to explain or describe something.” An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a particular topic, process, or set of ideas. It doesn’t set out to prove a point, just to give a balanced view of its subject matter.
Expository essays are usually short assignments intended to test your composition skills or your understanding of a subject. They tend to involve less research and original arguments than argumentative essays .
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Table of contents
When should you write an expository essay, how to approach an expository essay, introducing your essay, writing the body paragraphs, concluding your essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about expository essays.
In school and university, you might have to write expository essays as in-class exercises, exam questions, or coursework assignments.
Sometimes it won’t be directly stated that the assignment is an expository essay, but there are certain keywords that imply expository writing is required. Consider the prompts below.
The word “explain” here is the clue: An essay responding to this prompt should provide an explanation of this historical process—not necessarily an original argument about it.
Sometimes you’ll be asked to define a particular term or concept. This means more than just copying down the dictionary definition; you’ll be expected to explore different ideas surrounding the term, as this prompt emphasizes.
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An expository essay should take an objective approach: It isn’t about your personal opinions or experiences. Instead, your goal is to provide an informative and balanced explanation of your topic. Avoid using the first or second person (“I” or “you”).
The structure of your expository essay will vary according to the scope of your assignment and the demands of your topic. It’s worthwhile to plan out your structure before you start, using an essay outline .
A common structure for a short expository essay consists of five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Like all essays, an expository essay begins with an introduction . This serves to hook the reader’s interest, briefly introduce your topic, and provide a thesis statement summarizing what you’re going to say about it.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.
In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
The body of your essay is where you cover your topic in depth. It often consists of three paragraphs, but may be more for a longer essay. This is where you present the details of the process, idea or topic you’re explaining.
It’s important to make sure each paragraph covers its own clearly defined topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Different topics (all related to the overall subject matter of the essay) should be presented in a logical order, with clear transitions between paragraphs.
Hover over different parts of the example paragraph below to see how a body paragraph is constructed.
The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.
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The conclusion of an expository essay serves to summarize the topic under discussion. It should not present any new information or evidence, but should instead focus on reinforcing the points made so far. Essentially, your conclusion is there to round off the essay in an engaging way.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a conclusion works.
The invention of the printing press was important not only in terms of its immediate cultural and economic effects, but also in terms of its major impact on politics and religion across Europe. In the century following the invention of the printing press, the relatively stationary intellectual atmosphere of the Middle Ages gave way to the social upheavals of the Reformation and the Renaissance. A single technological innovation had contributed to the total reshaping of the continent.
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An expository essay is a broad form that varies in length according to the scope of the assignment.
Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case a five-paragraph essay of around 800 words may be appropriate.
You’ll usually be given guidelines regarding length; if you’re not sure, ask.
An expository essay is a common assignment in high-school and university composition classes. It might be assigned as coursework, in class, or as part of an exam.
Sometimes you might not be told explicitly to write an expository essay. Look out for prompts containing keywords like “explain” and “define.” An expository essay is usually the right response to these prompts.
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
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Reading Worksheets, Spelling, Grammar, Comprehension, Lesson Plans
Informative / Expository Writing Prompts
Expository writing, sometimes called informative writing, seeks to relay information to the reader. It is one of the main modes of writing and includes such formats as reports, instructions, term papers and even business letters. Since this is the type of writing that most students will use in their adult lives, it is important that they learn to convey information clearly and concisely. To use the expository worksheets below, click on the title. You may then view the details and download it for free for home use or the classroom. Check out all of our writing prompts .
An Interesting Animal – Writing Prompt
Your student will practice informative writing with this worksheet.
In this writing worksheet, your student will write about something green.
Write About a State
In this worksheet, your student can practice writing informational text.
My Hometown – Writing Prompt
This writing prompt has your student writing an informative piece on her hometown.
A Local Organization
This writing worksheet will help your student with informational writing.
Rules of the Game – Writing Prompt
Your student will practice informative writing in this worksheet about explaining the rules of a game.
Two People in History – Writing Prompt
This worksheet on informative writing asks your student to compare two people in history.
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Released Writing Prompts for State Testing
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.
You May Also Enjoy Reading:
- Writing Prompt Structure and Keywords for State Writing Tests
- Elementary Writing Samples, Middle School Writing Examples, Sample Essays
- How to Prepare Students for State Writing Assessments
If you are looking to improve student writing FAST, be sure to check out the Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay homepage.
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 we can always classify all of these additional types of writing as one of 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.)
I’ve updated these links several times; people seem to move these files around quite a bit. As such, I’ve included a couple of sample prompts from each collection so that you can do a Google search for the prompts in case the link becomes broken. Enjoy!
- FCAT 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.
- Pennsylvania Released Writing Prompts
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?
- Oregon Released Writing Prompts
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!
- Georgia High School Writing Prompts
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. Please note that although they do not state that they are released writing prompts from state testing, they are.
Here is the main page, along with the four files you want to download. If this main page changes, you will still be able to find the prompts by Google searching these four terms. The doc files will almost certainly be in the number one position.
• Main Page
- 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: Quick and Easy Essay ! It is the fastest, most effective way to teach students organized multi-paragraph writing… Guaranteed!
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How to Write Excellent Expository Essays
In this guide, we will take you through a complete understanding of an expository essay is how to structure an expository essay so you can write one like a pro. You can then explore some expository essay writing examples and writing prompts. Let’s get started.
WHAT IS EXPOSITORY ESSAY WRITING?
A significant clue lies in the word itself. Expository writing ‘exposes’ something to the reader.
Though the term is sometimes used to include persuasive writing , a proper expository text does not allow the writer’s personal opinion to intrude into the text.
An expository text aims to explain, inform, or describe a topic logically and straightforwardly.
types of expository essay
There are many different types of expository texts (e.g. encyclopaedias, travel guides, information reports , etc.), but there are also various expository essays.
The most common types of these expository essays are:
- Process Essays
- Cause and Effect Essays
- Problem and Solution Essays
- Compare and Contrast Essays
- Definition Essays
- Classification Essays
Let’s take a quick look at each of these in turn. In the following section, you’ll find a brief description of each expository essay type. Some notable features have been listed, and a suggested expository essay title has been provided for each.
And remember, if you are looking for expository essay topics, check out our essay writing prompts page here .
THE PROCESS ESSAY
This how-to essay often takes the form of a set of instructions. Also known as a procedural text , the process essay has some very specific features that aim to guide the reader on how to do or make something.
If you want to learn more about this type of writing, check out our information-packed article here .
Features of a process essay
Some of the main features of the process essay include:
- ‘How to’ title
- Numbered or bullet points
- Time connectives
- Imperatives (bossy words)
- List of resources
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THE CAUSE AND EFFECT ESSAY
The purpose of a cause-and-effect essay is to explore the causal relationships between things. Essays like this often bring the focus back to a single cause. These essays frequently have a historical focus.
As an expository essay, the text should focus on facts rather than assumptions. However, cause-and-effect essays sometimes explore hypothetical situations too.
There are two main ways to structure a cause-and-effect essay.
The Block Structure presents all the causes first. The writer then focuses on the effects of these causes in the second half of the essay.
The Chain Structure presents each cause and then immediately follows with the effects it created.
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THE PROBLEM AND SOLUTION ESSAY
In this type of essay, the writer first identifies a problem and then explores the topic from various angles to ultimately propose a solution. It has many similarities with the cause-and-effect essay.
While the problem and solution essay can use the block and chain structures as outlined above – substitute cause with problem and effect with a solution – it will also usually work through the following elements:
- Identifies a problem
- Contains a clear thesis statement
- Each paragraph has a topic sentence
- Supports with facts, examples, evidence
- The conclusion summarizes the main points
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THE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
In this type of essay, students evaluate the similarities and differences between two or more things, ideas, people, etc. Usually, the subjects will belong to the same category.
The compare-and-contrast expository essay can be organized in several different ways. Three of these are outlined below.
In the three structures outlined, it is assumed that two subjects are being compared and contrasted. Of course, the precise number of paragraphs required in the text will depend on the number of points the student wishes to make and the number of subjects being compared and contrasted.
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This type of essay provides a detailed description and definition of a word or phrase. This can be a concrete term such as car or glass or a more abstract concept such as love or fear .
A definition essay comprehensively explains a term’s purpose and meaning. It will frequently contain some or all of the following elements:
- A definition of the term
- An analysis of its meaning
- The etymology of the term
- A comparison to related terms
- Examples to illustrate the meaning
- A summary of the main points
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Similar to a definition essay, a classification essay sorts or organizes things into various groups or categories. This type of essay then explains each group or category in detail.
Classification essays focus on:
- Sorting things into functional categories
- Ensuring each category follows a common organizing principle
- Provides examples that illustrate each category.
Suggested Title: Vacation Destinations
TYPES OF EXPOSITORY ESSAYS SORTING ACTIVITY
To help students gain some experience identifying the features of the different expository essay types, gather together a selection of different essays and challenge students to work together in groups to classify each essay according to the criteria above.
EXPOSITORY ESSAY STRUCTURE
TEXT ORGANIZATION Organize your thoughts before writing.
CLARITY Use clear and concise wording. There is no room for banter.
THESIS STATEMENT State position in direct terms.
TOPIC SENTENCE Open each paragraph with a topic sentence.
SUPPORTING DETAIL Support the topic sentence with further explanation and evidence.
LINK End each body paragraph by linking to the next.
EXPOSITORY ESSAY TYPES
PROCESS Tell your audience how to achieve something, such as how to bake a cake.
CAUSE & EFFECT Explore relationships between subjects, such as climate change and its impact.
PROBLEM & SOLUTION Explain how to solve a problem, such as improve physical fitness.
COMPARE & CONTRAST Compare and contrast two or more items, such as life in China life vs life in the United States or Australia.
DEFINITION Provides a detailed definition of a word or phrase such as self-confidence.
CLASSIFICATION Organizes things into categories or groups such as types of music.
THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF AN EXPOSITORY ESSAY
While there are many types of expository essays, the basic underlying structure is the same. The Hamburger or 5-Paragraph Essay structure is an excellent scaffold for students to build their articles. To learn more about this essay format, check out our detailed article here .
But let’s take a quick look at the expository essay outline.
This is the top bun of the burger, and here the student introduces the topic of the exposition. This will usually consist of a general statement on the subject, providing an overview of the essay. It may also preview each significant section, indicating what aspects of the subject will be covered in the text. These sections will likely relate to the headings and subheadings identified at the planning stage.
If the introduction is the top bun of the burger, then each body paragraph is a beef patty. Self-contained in some regards, each patty forms an integral part of the whole.
Each of the body paragraphs deals with one idea or piece of information. For more complex topics, these may be grouped under a common heading, and the number of paragraphs will depend on the complexity of the topic. For example, an expository text on wolves may include a series of paragraphs under headings such as habitat, breeding habits, what they eat, etc.
Each paragraph should open with a topic sentence indicating to the reader what the paragraph is about. The following sentences should further illuminate this main idea through discussion and/or explanation. Encourage students to use evidence and examples here, whether statistical or anecdotal. Remind students to keep things factual – this is not an editorial piece for a newspaper!
EXPOSITORY PARAGRAPH EXAMPLE
“I hate mosquitoes because they annoy me while I am outside. For example, whenever we have barbeques, they want to swarm all around the food. Also, when I go fishing with my Dad, we always have to wear bug spray. The bug spray always stinks to high heaven! Then, if you do not want to use bug spray, the only other way to get them to leave you alone is to wear long sleeves. Yet, who wants to wear long sleeves when it is hot outside? Nothing ruins your day like bloodsucking mosquitoes” – This paragraph uses a first-person perspective to identify a problem. (mosquitoes.)
Generally, the conclusion of any essay should neatly close the circle by summarizing the information through restating the main ideas in a unique way. This bottom bun of the hamburger essay is no different. Remind students that a proper expository essay is objective in nature and to beware of injecting their opinion or bias into the piece. The purpose here is to inform rather than persuade.
FEATURES OF EXPOSITORY WRITING
Expository writing is usually not the place for flowery flourishes of figurative imagery! Students should be encouraged to select a straightforward language that is easy for the reader to understand. After all, the aim here is to inform and explain, and this is best achieved with explicit language.
As we’ve seen, there are several variations of the expository essay, but the following are the most common features that students must include.
The title should be functional. It should instantly inform the reader what they will learn about in the text. This is not the place for opaque poetry!
A table of contents in long essays will help the reader locate helpful information quickly. Usually, the page numbers found here will be linked to headings and subheadings to be found in the text.
HEADINGS / SUBHEADINGS:
These assist the reader in finding information by summarizing the content in their wording.
Usually listed in alphabetical order, the glossary defines unusual or topic-specific vocabulary and is sometimes accompanied by pictures, illustrations etc.
The index allows the reader to identify where to find specific information in longer texts. An index is much more detailed than a table of contents.
VISUAL FORMS OF INFORMATION
Expository essays sometimes support the text with visuals, such as:
- Pictures / Illustrations / Photographs:
These can be used to present a central idea or concept within the text and are often accompanied by a caption explaining what the image shows. Photographs can offer a broad overview or a close-up of essential details.
Diagrams are a great way to convey complex information quickly. They should be labelled clearly to ensure the reader knows what they are looking at.
- Charts and Graphs:
These are extremely useful for showing data and statistics in an easy-to-read manner. They should be labelled clearly and correspond to the information in the nearby text.
Maps may be used to explain where something is, or was, located.
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EXPOSITORY ESSAY EXAMPLE
One of the best ways to understand the different features of expository essays is to see them in action. The sample essay below is a definition essay, but it shares many of its features with other expository essays.
EXPOSITORY WRITING PROMPTS
Your students will need a good understanding of the basic features of expository writing and a firm grasp of the hamburger essay structure itself. As with any writing genre , the prewriting stages are essential too. This is particularly true for expository writing.
As this genre of writing is designed primarily to inform the reader, sound research and note-taking are essential for your students to produce a well-written text. Expository writing offers excellent opportunities for students to develop these critical skills, skills that will be very useful to them as they continue in their education.
Likewise, the redrafting and editing of their texts are very important. Facts and statistics should be checked and rechecked, and the language is edited tightly to ensure that language is clear and concise throughout.
The ability to produce a well-written expository essay is a highly beneficial skill for a student to possess as they move through life. It encourages good organizational skills and enriches students’ understanding of the world around them.
And, while we grade their efforts, we might even learn a thing or two ourselves!
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EXPOSITORY ESSAY TUTORIAL VIDEO
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The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh. A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here. Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.
Expository Essay Prompts for 3rd to 5th-grade Students
In the journey of nurturing young minds, one pivotal skill stands out as a cornerstone of effective communication and critical thinking – the ability to craft a compelling expository essay. As educators, guiding our 3rd to 5th-grade students through the art of explanatory writing not only fortifies their linguistic abilities but also lays the groundwork for lifelong skills in research, analysis, and self-expression.
This packet includes 20 prompts, a reusable graphic organizer, and a suggested rubric.
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