Explanatory Writing Prompts: 25 Great Ideas for Students

Motivate students to express how well they understand an idea or concept using these high-interest explanatory writing prompts.

These prompts help children express their thoughts with greater clarity plus build stronger writing skills, which is useful for any school subject.

With explanatory writing prompts, learners need to clearly explain a topic. They may even need to do research and organize their thoughts.

Here are 25 explanatory writing prompts that students of any age can use to sharpen their writing skills.

Explanatory Writing Prompts

Elementary Students

Even your most reluctant 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will be excited to write using these engaging explanatory writing prompts.

1. What is your favorite season? Provide at least three reasons why it is your favorite season. You may want to discuss the activities or special occasions that occur during the season.

2. You save a genie from a magic lamp. The genie grants you three wishes. How would you use your wishes? Explain the reason behind each wish. After explaining a reason for a wish, predict what would happen after the wish comes true.

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Write a short history of the city or town, followed by a detailed explanation of the reasons why you chose it.

4. What is your favorite food? Imagine that you need to convince someone else to try the food. Explain the reasons why you love the chosen food. Write at least one paragraph for each reason.

5. You are going to be stranded on a deserted island for three years and can only bring three items. What three items would you bring and why? How would the items help you during your stay on the island?

6. What was the most interesting thing that you learned this year? Explain the reasons why it was interesting. Provide as much detail as you can.

7. You need to prepare someone for their first day at school. Provide advice for helping the person relax and get through the day with less stress.

8. What is one technology that you could not live without? Explain the reasons why you need this technology in your life and how your life would change without it.

Middle School

Prompt 6th, 7th, and 8th grade writers to develop their skills using these thoughtful explanatory writing prompts.

1. Explain the purpose of your teacher asking you to respond to explanatory writing prompts. Which skills are you learning and developing?

2. Write about an endangered species. Provide facts about the animal, such as its habitat and appearance. Discuss the reasons why the species is declining. Brainstorm conservation efforts.

3. What was the last book that you read? Write a synopsis explaining the basic plot and characters of the story. Follow the synopsis with your ideas for a potential sequel to the book.

4. Who is your role model? Explain why this person is your role model. It can be a person in your real life, a historical figure, or even a fictional character.

5. Imagine you won the lottery and received $1 million dollars. How would you spend the money? Explain the reasons for your purchases. Estimate the cost of each purchase.

6. You want a new pet but need to convince your parents that you will care for it. Write a report on the animal. Discuss its size, appearance, and habits. Explain the steps involved in feeding and caring for the pet. List the supplies you will need.

7. What was the most challenging task you accomplished in the past week? Imagine that you need to teach someone else to complete the same task. Explain the steps involved. Provide as much detail as possible.

8. What five qualities do you look for in a new friend? Explain why each quality is important. What qualities make you avoid becoming friends with someone? Explain.

9. You gain the ability to become invisible whenever you want. Would you try to help others? Would you use invisibility for your personal gain? Explain your reasons.

Explanatory Writing Prompts for High School

Motivate 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders to show what they know using these high-interest explanatory writing prompts.

1. Imagine you are elected president. What are three issues you want to address? Explain why these issues are important to you and what you would do to address them.

2. Explain your favorite hobby to someone that has never heard of it. Start with the basics of the hobby, such as the equipment or supplies that you use. Share why you enjoy the hobby.

3. Imagine you are about to start a business. What is the business? Which products or services would you sell? Why should customers choose your business?

4. Write a review of your favorite song. Discuss details of the song, such as the length, year of release, and artist or composer. Provide at least three reasons why the song is your favorite.

5. Imagine a technology that could solve a current problem. Explain how the technology would work and the benefits that it would provide.

6. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of living in an urban, suburban, or rural area. Give reasons why you would like to move or stay in one of the areas.

7. Imagine you could change the outcome of one historical event. Which historical event would you change and why? What impact would the change have on the world?

8. What is the biggest threat the world faces? Explain the potential dangers of the threat. What solutions do you propose?

9. Imagine that you need to convince someone to watch your favorite movie or TV show. Briefly explain the plot, setting, and characters. Give at least three reasons why you love it so much.

Now you have an assortment of explanatory writing prompts to use for writer’s workshop, homework, or as early finisher activities.

For support, teach students how to respond to explanatory writing prompts.

If you enjoyed these explanatory writing prompts, you might also likeexpository writing prompts and journal writing prompts for kids.