21 Amazing Visual Writing Prompts for Students of All Ages

For reluctant writers who struggle to express their ideas and thoughts, use these motivating visual writing prompts.

What Are Visual Writing Prompts?

Visual writing prompts are prompts that use images in addition to or instead of words to help writers launch a piece of writing. These story starters provide students a visual framework from which to start their writing.

Moreover, visual writing prompts spark imagination, sharpen writing skills, foster a growth mindset, instill a love for writing, and encourage students to experiment with new vocabulary.

So if you want to motivate students to think critically while showcasing their creativity, include a few of these visual writing prompts story starters into your writer’s workshop lesson plans this week.

Visual Writing Prompts for Students

Following you will find an assortment of visual writing prompts for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Cat and Dog

visual writing prompts
  • How did the cat and the dog meet each other?
  • What do they think about each other?
  • Where are they?
  • What are they doing?

Grocery Shopping

visual writing prompts
  • What special meal is this family making soon?
  • Is there a special occasion?
  • Why is the store empty-looking?
  • What is the girl thinking or wondering as she looks at the box?
  • Where will the family go after leaving the grocery store?

Food Items

visual writing prompts
  • What is the person baking and why?
  • Who is preparing this treat?
  • Is there a special occasion happening? If so, what?
  • How will the baker accommodate people with allergies or picky eaters?

Drawing On Man

visual writing prompts
  • Is the boy playing a prank? If so, why?
  • Who is the man?
  • Where does this take place?
  • What will happen when the man wakes? How will he feel?

Camels in the Desert

visual writing prompts
  • Where are they headed?
  • What country is this?
  • How would you describe the weather/climate?
  • Who is part of this group? Tell about the people.

Happy Woman

visual writing prompts
  • What does the woman see on her phone?
  • Why is she reacting this way?
  • Where is she?
  • With whom is she communicating?

Bridge in the Forest

visual writing prompts
  • Where is this bridge located?
  • Who lives or travels there?
  • What adventures can one do in this place?
  • How would you describe this scene?
  • What type of animals live in this environment?

Disaster Strikes

visual writing prompts
  • What happened?
  • What was the woman trying to cook and why?
  • Who is going to help her clean up the mess?
  • What do you think is going to happen next?

Playing Instruments

visual writing prompts
  • What are the two women doing?
  • Why are they in this place?
  • Who are they?

Beautiful Wave

visual writing prompts
  • How does it feel to ride this wave?
  • What would happen if a boat got caught in this wave?
  • How would you describe this scene to someone?
  • What does this image represent? How does it make you feel?

Family Time

visual writing prompts
  • Who are these people?
  • Where are they?
  • Why are they here?
  • What things are they going to do?
  • How did they arrive here?

Tornado Weather

visual writing prompts
  • How do the people in this town feel?
  • What things are they doing to stay safe?
  • What type of damage will this storm cause?
  • When you see this visual, what emotions or connections do you experience?

Listening to Music

visual writing prompts
  • To what type of music is she listening?
  • Why does she seem so happy?
  • If someone suddenly walked in on her singing, how would she react?
  • How is her singing voice?
  • What is she imagining as she sings?

Faucet Running

visual writing prompts
  • Who left the faucet running?
  • Why is it turned on?
  • What will happen if it isn’t turned off soon?
  • How long has it been on?

Science Class

visual writing prompts
  • What activity are the two kids performing and why?
  • Who is helping them?
  • Where are they?
  • Why are they wearing goggles?

Fetching A Stick

visual writing prompts
  • Why is the dog holding the stick?
  • How do you know the dog has a good owner?
  • Who is accompanying the dog?
  • Where is the dog?

Cooking

visual writing prompts
  • Who are these people?
  • What are they talking about?
  • Where are they?
  • What are they preparing and why?

Spilled Milk

visual writing prompts
  • How did this happen?
  • Who will clean it up?
  • When did this occur?
  • What was the person eating?

Head Down

visual writing prompts
  • Why is the boy’s head down?
  • Where is he?
  • What happened?
  • Could this be a prank?

Happy Waiting

visual writing prompts
  • To whom is she speaking?
  • Where is she going?
  • What’s inside of her bags?
  • Why is she so happy?

Sprained Ankle

visual writing prompts
  • Where are these two ladies?
  • What happened?
  • When during the day did this occur?
  • What do you think will happen next?

Final Thoughts

Now you have a ready-supply of visual writing prompts to use with students.

These “tell this story picture prompts” spark the imagination, sharpen writing skills, and motivate even the most reluctant writers to move their pens!

Download a PDF of these visual writing prompts.

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