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writing help for 5th graders

5th grade writing doesn’t have to be a struggle! This blog post will provide all of my best tips and ideas for teaching your fifth graders to succeed as writers.

I’ve had classes where writing was a struggle allll yearrrr longggg. I’ve also had classes where I’d swear my students were one step away from writing professionally.

Your groups will never be the same and that’s ok. Just roll with it!

Take heart in the fact that when students leave your class at the end of the year, they will be MUCH better writers than when they entered in the fall.

No matter how good (or bad) my students are at writing when 5th grade begins, we always start at the very beginning and work on writing strong sentences.

This post will give you a step-by-step breakdown of how I help my students move from dull to dazzling sentences: How to Help Your Students Write Better Sentences

Once they’ve got the hang of writing an excellent sentence, then we move on. Your class may move slowly or quickly but be sure to watch their writing closely for clues that you may need to slow down.

You need to know where you’re going to know how you should plan the journey. So, the next section lays out my end-of-the-year goals for my 5th grade writers. Everything I do all year leads to the completion of these goals.

End of the year goals for 5th grade writers

My end-of-the-year goals for my 5th grade writers….

By the time my students walk out of my classroom for the last time…

1. I want them to be able to efficiently organize their ideas and plan/write a five paragraph essay.

2. I want my students to be able to construct narrative, informative, and opinion essays.

3. I want my students to be able to choose appropriate sources and write a simple research report. 

4. I want my students to be able to closely read two paired passages and write an essay in response to a prompt. 

If you’re looking for a hyperlinked pdf version of my pacing and sequence for 5th grade writing, click the link below to have it sent to your email address. As a bonus, you’ll become a member of my weekly VIP email club just for upper elementary teachers. 🙂

5th grade writing samples

Obtain a Writing Sample!  

Give students a simple prompt and ask for a response in a paragraph or two. Emphasize to students that you are not grading writing samples for grammar, spelling, or structure. You are interested in the quality of their ideas. 

This writing sample will be valuable as the year goes on. Your students will improve so much that their first samples will (hopefully) be pathetic compared to their new, improved writing pieces.

I usually whip out their first samples after we’ve written a few five paragraph essays. Students feel inspired to keep growing their writing skills when they see how far they’ve come in just a few months. 

Example Writing Sample Prompts: 

  • Describe a talent or characteristic that makes you unique and different.
  • Tell about a time when you set a goal for yourself and reached that goal.
  • Pretend you live in a society where children are required to choose their future career paths in the 5th grade. What path would you choose? Explain.

5th grade writing reference notebooks

Create Writing Reference Notebooks with students! 

I’ll admit it – I’m a little obsessed with writing reference notebooks. We use composition notebooks to create these amazing sources of knowledge and we use them all year long. 

So, where do we start with creating writing reference notebooks?

The beginning section of students’ notebooks hold reference materials. I want students to have plenty of resources at their fingertips to improve their sentence writing, including alternatives for overused words and my specialty, sparkle words. Sparkle words are words that are just a little bit special and make my students’ writing shine, like scandalous, embrace, and intriguing.

Other ways that my students use their writing reference notebooks:

  • Writing journal entries
  • Creating a personal thesaurus
  • Writing topics & ideas list
  • Taking notes on writing skills lessons
  • Writing first drafts of longer assignments

This resource will give you an idea of the printable pages that I use for students’ notebooks: Writing Interactive Notebook – Reference Pages

Do I take grades on students’ writing reference notebooks? Not really. I want these notebooks to be a safe space for students to jot ideas and take risks with their first drafts. I do sometimes take a participation grade on their notebooks. This encourages students to keep their notebooks organized and up to date.

5th grade sentence writing

Start with sentences!  

When teaching 5th grade, you can expect students to start the year writing complete sentences, right?! No, sorry. Whether it’s the long break or maybe your students’ 4th grade teachers never required a lick of writing, your 5th graders will often begin the year with less-than-stellar sentences. 

So, I just plan to start with sentences first every year. We work on building and expanding sentences for about two weeks. Yes, two weeks probably seems like a really long time, but spectacular sentences are the foundation for creating great writers.

To improve my students’ sentences, I take the basic, simple sentences that students write and we work on adding more specific details and interest. First, I give students a list of five nouns and ask them to write one sentence using each noun.

I usually get sentences similar to these:

  • Pie is my favorite dessert.
  • My dad’s car is red.
  • I wear my jacket when it is cold.
  • This school is a nice place to learn.
  • The tree is tall.

This is where I want students to get in their sentence-writing before moving on:

  • Pecan, cherry, apple, or pumpkin… any type of pie is delicious!
  • My dad spends his Saturdays washing and shining up his candy apple red Jeep.
  • A puffy, hooded jacket is the first thing I reach for on chilly mornings.
  • My school, North Hills Elementary, has the best teachers and students.
  • The tall Redwood tree in my front yard is a welcome sight to visitors and makes my house look spectacular.

Students should write every single day!

My students write every single day!  

I vividly remember being in 5th grade myself and writing long papers on the most boring topics ever, like “The Science of Light” and “The History of Mapmaking.” Snooze fest! I vowed to never do that to my students. Instead, I took a different route.

Students absolutely need to learn to write full reports and five paragraph essays, but they don’t need to do this every week. They do, however, need to continually practice writing. I find that if I make writing assignments engaging, my students don’t complain and actually seem to enjoy writing.

I assign Weekly Writing Choice Boards . This writing has made all the difference in my classroom! Students are now excited about writing class. They see writing as a treat and a fun way to express their thoughts and opinions.

I hand out a new choice board every week and students must complete three assignments from the board. I don’t grade these on perfect grammar, spelling, or punctuation, instead I look for ideas and effort. Even imperfect writing practice will improve your students’ writing skills tremendously!

Enter your first name and email address below for a free set of 6 Weekly Writing Choice Boards! The pdf file will be sent directly to your inbox. As a bonus, you’ll become a member of my weekly VIP email club just for upper elementary teachers. 🙂

If you teach social studies in addition to writing, this blog post will give you a bunch of engaging social studies journal entries that will help you tie social studies into your writing instruction.

Teach your 5th grade students to proofread and edit!

Train students in proofreading and editing!  

Student need to practice proofreading and editing their writing (and the writing of other students) near the beginning of the school year.

Repeatedly practicing the steps of the proofreading/editing process will help your students to internalize this procedure. You’ll find that they will start to catch their mistakes earlier and more independently.

I find it valuable to establish and consistently use a common “proofreading language” in my classroom. It takes a little time up front to teach students the markings and their meanings but having a common system for proofreading will save loads of time throughout the school year.

This resource will give you an idea of the proofreading marks and practice that I use in my classroom: Proofreading and Editing Activity Pack

Asking your students to proofread and edit their own writing is a must but it’s also a good thing to have students pair up and look over a partner’s writing also. Your students will receive valuable feedback on their writing, editing ideas, and they’ll get to see some writing styles that are a little different from their own.

Teach 5 paragraph essays one piece at a time!

Teach five paragraph essays one piece at a time! 

Simple Paragraphs

Once my students are stellar sentence writers, we move to simple paragraphs. The simple paragraphs that I use with students consist of a topic sentence, three detail sentences, and a closing sentence.

Starting with simple paragraphs is much less threatening than jumping straight into five paragraph essays, so I find that spending some time helping students write excellent simple paragraphs is the perfect bridge into essays.

Additionally, we color-code our simple paragraphs. This allows students to think critically about what sentence types they have written and provides a visual for students (and for me) to see that all required parts of the paragraph are included.

The color-code I use with students:

  • Topic sentence – green
  • 3 detail sentences – yellow
  • Closing sentence – red

Planning and Writing Body Paragraphs

Once students are able to write great simple paragraphs, we dive into the planning and writing of body paragraphs.

This isn’t too much of a jump for students because the body paragraphs are structured similarly to the simple paragraphs that we have practiced over and over. The only difference is that they are using one prompt to write three body paragraphs.

Many teachers think they have to start with the first paragraph of the essay, the introduction paragraph. This isn’t what I recommend. Starting by teaching students to write the three body paragraphs helps to steer the rest of the essay.

Adding an Introduction Paragraph

Now that students are able to write their three body paragraphs, it’s time to add the introduction paragraph.

The introduction paragraph contains a hook, commentary, and a thesis sentence.

The hook is a sentence (or two) that “hooks” readers and builds interest in the upcoming essay. I teach my students several types of hooks, including quotes, questions, bold statements, or sharing a memory.

After the hook, I ask students to write a sentence or two of commentary on the hook or on the prompt in general. This helps to “bulk up” their introduction paragraph a bit and make it more interesting.

The final part of the introduction paragraph is the thesis sentence. Because students already learned to write the body paragraphs, crafting a thesis sentence is so much easier.

The formula for writing a thesis sentence: Restate the prompt briefly + detail 1 + detail 2 + detail 3.

Additionally, I teach transition teams at this point. Students need to use a transition word or phrase at the beginning of each body paragraph, so that’s where transition teams come in. Transition teams are sets of three transition words or phrases that work well together.

Examples of transition teams:

  • First, Second, Finally
  • To begin, To continue, To end
  • One reason, Another reason, A final reason

Adding a Conclusion Paragraph

When conclusion paragraph day finally arrives, my students are so excited because they can finally write an entire five paragraph essay.

In my opinion, conclusion paragraphs are super easy to teach because they only have two parts. Here’s the conclusion paragraph formula: Write the thesis sentence in a different way + add a closing thought.

I allow students to be creative with their closing thoughts. I tell them that this is the final thought that your readers will take with them, so it needs to relate well to your entire essay while being engaging and thought-provoking for readers. Some examples of closing thoughts are calls to action, quotes, personal opinions, and brief personal experiences.

Teach, Discuss, & Practice with Rubrics

I inform my students that from this point on in their school journey, they will be graded with rubrics fairly often, so this is a good time to learn about rubrics and become familiar with them.

I create or find five paragraph essay samples that are good, bad, and in-between. We read and examine the samples as a class and circle the applicable parts of the rubric. If students are able to grade a few assignments using a rubric, it’s not this unknown, scary thing anymore. 

Are you grading every single word and making a million corrections on students’ essays? I give you permission to stop doing that! 🙂

You are going to burn yourself out and get to where you hate grading and teaching writing. To be honest, your students will not become better writers when their papers are marked all over with suggestions in the margins.

Help! I need more support…

Please visit the following blog post for in-depth explanations and examples of my five paragraph essay teaching and grading process: 

Tips for Teaching and Grading Five Paragraph Essays

This resource will provide you with a full, scaffolded unit that will help you to teach the five paragraph essay process to students! Five Paragraph Essay Instructional Unit

Teaching students to write narrative, opinion, and informative essays

Narrative, Informative, and Opinion Essays

As much as we’d like to just have our students write simple, straightforward five paragraph essays all year, that’s just not feasible.

But I promise, once your students can crank out those five paragraph essays on simple topics, moving to other modes of writing is no sweat! 

In my classroom, we spend time learning to write opinion essays, narrative essays, and informative essays. 

I start with opinion writing because my students have a lot of opinions, haha! We channel those opinions into five paragraph essay format. 🙂

Teaching research reports to 5th grade students

Research Reports

The skills involved in writing a research report are valuable for 5th graders. They need to be able to judge the reliability of a source and cite their sources properly. 

Research reports also teach students to organize their ideas, take notes, make an outline, write a draft, and create a final report. 

I’d like to point you to the following blog post where I detailed my entire process for teaching research reports.

The Step-By-Step Guide to Teaching Research Reports

Teaching paired passages to 5th grade students

Paired Passages

5th graders are too young to compare two passages and write a response. Right?! 

No, this is not true at all. I think that reading paired passages and using them to craft a written response is a valuable skill for 5th graders. 

Steps to analyzing paired passages and writing an essay to answer a prompt:

First, dissect the prompt.

Second, closely read the paired texts.

Third, organize thoughts using the prompt.

The following blog post explains my paired passage writing steps in detail. Take a moment to check it out. You’ll be glad you did! 

How to Teach Writing Using Paired Passages

Sequence & Pacing for Teach 5th Grade Writing

My Sequence & Pacing for Teaching 5th Grade Writing

Don’t stress! This sequence and pacing guide is hyperlinked and ready to be sent to your email address. Go to the bottom of this blog post to request the guide.

1st Month of School

We start school in the middle of the month, so I only have two weeks to teach during the first month of school.

This is the rundown for the remainder of the month:

Month 1, Week 3

The first week of the school year is all about teaching and practicing procedures. Teach it right or teach it all year! 🙂

Classroom Procedures – I recommend you check out this blog post:  5 Tips for Establishing Procedures in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Welcome Activities –  Welcome to 5th Grade: First Week of School Activities

Blog Post – Back to School Writing Prompts for 5th Graders

Month 1, Week 4

During this week, I review and continue practicing procedures with students but we do go ahead and start working on writing.

I establish my expectations and procedures for my students’ Weekly Writing Choice Boards.

We set up writing notebooks together, including the table of contents, cover page, and an  About the Author  page. 

Obtain a writing sample

We start working on improving sentences.

2nd Month of School

Month 2, Week 1

We continue working on improving sentences.

Start proofreading/editing instruction and practice.

Month 2 , Week 2

Review the process for writing excellent sentences.

Finish proofreading/editing instruction and practice.

Month 2, Weeks 3-4

Writing simple paragraphs (include color-code)

3rd Month of School

Month 3, Weeks 1-2

Planning & writing body paragraphs (include color-code)

Month 3, Weeks 3-4

Teach introduction paragraphs

Writing introduction plus body paragraphs (include color code)

Transition teams

4th Month of School

Month 4, Weeks 1-2

Teach students how to write conclusion paragraphs.

Students will write their first full five paragraph essays this week.

Month 4, Weeks 3-4

Write 5 paragraph essays with a variety of basic prompts.

Have students proofread/edit other students’ essays.

Provide mini-lessons on grammar structure or other issues you are noticing in students’ writing.

5th Month of School

This is where our winter break falls, so I only have two weeks to teach this month.

This is a great time to review what we’ve been working on all year and assign some fun journal prompts.

Also, writing mini-lessons are good fillers for this time.

This Winter Writing Project is a student favorite right before winter break!

6th Month of School

Month 6, Week 1

When we come back from winter break, I like to teach the research report process. I spend a week teaching the process and giving students time to research while I’m there to help.

Month 6, Week 2

Student complete their research reports, including outlines, citing sources, and etc.

I ask my students to do super quick presentations on their research topics. It’s 1-2 minutes max. I don’t want them to read their reports aloud because that’s boring. Instead, I want them to quickly highlight what they learned about their topics and what was fascinating to them.

Month 6, Week 3

We review the five paragraph essay process and write/proofread/edit an essay with a simple prompt.

Month 6, Week 4

I start opinion writing this week. You’ll find that students will slide into opinion writing easily because they already know five paragraph essay structure.

7th Month of School

Month 7, Week 1

Continue working on opinion writing. By the end of this week, students should be able to write an opinion essay using a prompt.

Month 7, Weeks 2-3

We spend two weeks on narrative writing. By the end of the second week, students should be able to write a narrative essay using a prompt.

Month 7, Week 4

This week, I teach the process of writing an informative essay.

8th Month of School

Month 8, Week 1

Continue working on informative essays. Students should be able to write an informative essay using a prompt by the end of this week.

Month 8, Weeks 2-3

Teach students how to write an essay using paired passages.

For more information on how I teach the steps above, visit this blog post: How to Teach Writing Using Paired Passages

Month 8, Week 4

Now that students know the process of using paired passages, I provide a set of paired passages and ask students to answer prompts in a variety of genres, like opinion, narrative, informative, poetry, and etc.

This resource makes it easy:

Paired Passages with Writing Prompts and Activities Bundle

9th Month of School

Month 9, Week 1

Continue working on using paired passages to write in a variety of genres.

Talk about last minute standardized testing tips to help students with their writing tests.

The rest of the month is taken up with standardized testing, so I do a lot of review activities, free writing, and etc.

I do have a set of suspense stories that my students love to write during this month. Check them out here: Suspense Stories Bundle

10th Month of School

During this month, we are wrapping up the year. Students participate in multiple activities and field trips, so there’s not much teaching time.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, don’t dismay. Instructing young, inexperienced writers is a challenge. Just work on one step at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself and your students. Once you’ve taught writing for a year or two, you’ll feel like an old pro. Promise! 

How I Teach 5th Grade Writing

If you’d like to keep this blog post for later, simply save this pin to your teacher Pinterest board!

Are you that teacher saying, “oh my goodness, please just give me the print ‘n go pages so that i can start teaching writing tomorrow” it’s all here for you:.

writing lessons for 5th grade

I’m not a teacher, perhaps in my heart I am. I am an older Mom who adopted late in life as God gave us our newborn in our 50’s! By His grace, we are healthy, fit, youngish 50’s LOL! I love your stuff and have always supplemented Fi’s education., for I find the California standards quite low. Now that I have her in a college-prep school (5th Grade) I find she is much more prepared because of your wisdom! Thank you. Sophia Joy is someone who has always had to work hard at school, but it is paying off! Thank you and God bless you richly for being so generous with your wisdom,it will all come back to you 100-fold! Sincerely, Susan, Sophia Joy’s Mom

Thank you so much, Susan! You certainly have a heartwarming story with your precious girl 🙂

Hello When you do the back to school journal prompts, where do you have students complete these? On single paper, google classroom?

Hi Sarah! Usually, I have students complete the prompts in their social studies interactive notebooks. This year, however, we were virtual at the beginning of the year, so I had students type their entries onto Google Docs.

Hi! I am a new 5th grade teacher, and I’m wondering if your school uses a particular writing curriculum? Your website has been so helpful – thank you!!

Hi Jenny! We don’t use a particular writing curriculum at my school. I use my own resources to teach writing. Please reach out to me at [email protected] if I can help or answer any questions for you 🙂

Do you have any resources in Spanish?

Hi Danielle! The only resources I have in Spanish are my Parent’s Guide to Reading resources, grades K-5.

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writing help for 5th graders

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5th Grade Writing Worksheets

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19 5th Grade Writing Worksheets

Active and passive sentences

In this language arts worksheet, your child learns about active and passive voice and gets practice rewriting sentences to change them from passive to active and vice versa.

Colons, semicolons, and dashes

In this grammar worksheet, your child learns how to write sentences using a colon, semicolon, or dash.

Compound sentences

Simple sentences can become compound sentences by adding a clause. In this writing worksheet, your child gets practice building and understanding simple, compound, and complex sentences.

Finding key points

In this reading worksheet, your child will read a short informational passage and then underline key points and answer questions about the language and content of the passage.

Following instructions

Can you do this experiment? In this worksheet, your child will read the instructions, put them in order by creating a flow chart, organize the elements of the experiment - and then do the experiment and write a report about it. Bonus: your child will do a little research to compare the experiment results with information from reference books or the internet.

Homophones and homographs

Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have a different meaning. Homographs are words that sound the same and are spelled the same but have a different meaning. In this language arts worksheet, your child will fill in the missing homophones to complete pre-written sentences and then write sentences to convey each homograph's alternate meaning.

Homophones: fun with puns

Puns are jokes that rely on homophones for their humor. In this writing worksheet, your child will write homophones for 24 words and then use those words to write puns.

Making metaphors

How many metaphors can you find in this poem? In this language arts worksheet, your child learns to spot metaphors, determine their meaning from context, write them as similes, and decide which metaphors are most effective and why. Bonus: your child gets practice writing poetry using metaphors.


Can you find the mix-up? Malapropisms are words that are similar in sound and often confused. In this language arts worksheet, your child will identify the malapropism in each sentence and then rewrite each sentence using the correct word.

Poems: opposites

Silly opposites! In this language arts worksheet, your child gets to practice word play and figurative language by writing opposite words that are real - and some that are jokes.

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Teaching with Jennifer Findley

Upper Elementary Teaching Blog

February 5, 2017 | 34 Comments | Filed Under: Writing & Grammar

How to Teach Writing in 5th Grade

Let’s be real for a moment. During my first year teaching I did a terrible, horrible, rotten job at teaching writing. My students (3rd graders at the time) were not assessed on writing, and I really didn’t know how to teach writing at that point in my career (especially since my students seriously struggled with all things literacy when they came to me).

I remember teaching it and having some fun lessons that I am sure helped the students a little. But mostly, we just aimlessly read read alouds, wrote to prompts, and shared our writing. I “did” all the right things but I didn’t do them very purposefully or effectively. I honestly feel like I should write a formal apology to my first group of students.

Fast forward a few years and a grade level change, and I finally feel like I have a handle on teaching writing. I am super purposeful and everything I do now has a reason behind it. Though my instruction is still not perfect (is anything in teaching ever perfect?), I feel much more confident that I am growing my students as writers and helping them to love writing.

In this post, I want to share how I teach writing in 5th grade (very applicable to 3rd and 4th grade as well).

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

I spend approximately 9 weeks on each main genre of writing (narrative, persuasive, and informational/expository).  I teach the writing genres in this order: personal narrative, fictional narrative, persuasive, how-to informational, compare and contrast, descriptive/explanatory informational.

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

Closer Look at Each 9 Weeks

Now, let’s take a closer look at what each of those 9 weeks would look like:

Two Weeks Explicitly Teaching Genre

I spend the first two weeks of my pacing explicitly teaching the aspects of the genre we are studying and writer’s craft as it relates to the genre we are studying. We do this by reading mentor texts and making charts about what we notice the author does well. These noticings then turn into mini-lessons. You can read more about how I come up with writing mini-lessons (and the three types of mini-lessons) by clicking here .

During these two weeks, the students are writing their first essays in this genre, but it is very guided. For example, we would read mentor texts to look for good beginnings, then we create a chart of good beginnings, then we choose a writing topic from our lists (read more about that here ), and practice writing good beginnings. I may have the students write 2-3 beginnings, then chose their favorite. We also spend a lot of time sharing during this time so the students can apply what they are learning and hear lots of examples from their peers.

Three W eeks of Writing Based on Lists and Specific Lessons Based on Students’ Writing  

After we have learned and applied all the strategies for a genre to one piece of writing, we are ready to try out some more. In this three week period, the students choose more topics from their lists to write about.

As the students are writing, they are referring to charts and examples from our previous mini-lessons to help them apply what they have learned. I also do a lot of conferences during this time, but mostly lean-in conferences because I want the students writing and trying out the new strategies.

The mini-lessons during this time frame are very specific to the students’ writing. While I am completing my lean-conferences, I jot down notes of struggles and strengths. At this point in the instruction, I am writing notes about conventions and mechanics for future mini-lessons, but my main focus is on the writer’s craft and getting the students to write and try out the genre.

At this point, it is also clear which students need extensive re-teaching. About 2-3 times a week, I pull small groups for re-teaching. However, I typically only pull the students who are seriously struggling at this point in instruction.

Three Weeks of Writing to On-Demand Prompts

At this point in our pacing, I have taught a lot of writing craft skills, and the students have several essays, applying what they have learned (usually 3-5 essays by this point). Now, it is time to get into perfecting their conventions and practicing on demand prompts .

The lessons during this three week period are very mini and focus mostly on conventions and mechanics. These lessons come from what I see as a need during my lean-in conferences and what I know will help move my students beyond their current writing (varying sentence lengths, using complex sentences, using introductory phrases, etc).

Also during this time, we typically have a longer share time, so the students can hear each other’s writing, give and get feedback, and learn even more writing strategies to use in their own writing.

As I mentioned above, this time is also spent primarily writing to on-demand prompts. These can be a simple prompt, a prompt that also uses a text stimulus (or paired text stimulus), or a prompt in response to a mentor text. This three week period is important because the students learn to write about topics that are not their choosing and they learn to stay on topic and follow the expectations of a prompt (which I explicitly teach them). However, I don’t recommend writing to prompts all the time because it doesn’t promote a love of writing with most students.

Remember how I said I did mostly lean-in conferences in the above section? Well, at this point, I have enough data to group my students into small groups for re-teaching or extension lessons. During independent writing time, I regularly pull small groups (about 1-2 a day) for reteaching. I also mix in independent conferences as well, as needed.

One Week of Publishing

For our final week in a genre, my students choose their favorite piece, meet with me for an independent conference and a final revise and edit, and then type it. We only publish (by typing) one story in each genre. However, we revise and edit every piece that we write. Ultimately, the students decide which of their essays are worth publishing. This essay is also taken as a final grade.


By the end of the 9-week period, my students have usually written around 6-8 essays in that genre. My expectation is an essay per week, and I do have them turn them in. I use these essays (along with my conferences) to guide my mini-lessons and reteaching groups.

Here is a recap of each 9-Week Period:

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

Note : I do modify this a bit for informational writing since I explicitly teach how-to writing, compare and contrast writing, and then explanatory/descriptive informational writing separately and then together.

What Does a Typical Writing Lesson Look Like?

The total time I have for writing is 60 minutes (I will share a modified schedule for 30 and 45 minutes, too). Here is how I typically segment my writing time. However, from reading the above section, you will notice that sometimes mini-lessons or share times are shorter or longer, depending on where we are in our pacing.

  • 15-20 minute mini lesson
  • 30-40 minutes for independent writing and conferences/ small groups
  • 5 minutes for closing, sharing, and reflecting

Modified Schedule for 45 Minutes

  • 15 minute mini-lesson
  • 25 minutes for independent writing and conferences/small groups

Modified Schedule for 30 Minutes

For 30 minutes, I recommend more of an A/B type schedule. Something like this:

A Schedule: – 15 mini-lesson and 15 minutes of independent writing where the students are directly applying the strategy to their writing

B Schedule: 20 minutes independent writing (continued from Monday) and conferences and 10 minutes for closing and sharing

Monday : A Schedule Tuesday : B Schedule Wednesday : A Schedule Thursday : B Schedule

Friday : Whichever schedule you need to meet the needs of your students. I have found that it is better to end the week with more independent writing to apply all they have learned. Likewise, I prefer to begin the week with the mini-lesson.

Materials I Use to Teach Writing

  • Mentor texts- For mentor texts, I use tradebooks (picture books and excerpts from longer works), released exemplars from state assessment, student stories (shared with permission), and teacher-written stories. You can read how I used one mentor text during my persuasive writing unit by clicking here .
  • Anchor charts – As a class, we create anchor charts for almost every writing mini-lesson I teach. Those anchor charts then provide an anchor for the students while they are writing. Want to see charts that I used to guide some my persuasive writing mini lessons? Click here to go straight to the post .
  • Student reference charts – My students use their writing notebooks to keep their writing lists and to keep reference charts for almost every lesson that I teach. We create an anchor chart together and then I give the students a printable copy of the chart that is already made or that I make after the fact. These charts are glued into their writing notebook and they refer to them regularly as they write.
  • Sentence stems -Most of my students are nowhere near proficient writers when they come to me. One way that I support my students is through sentence stems. Based on the needs of my students, I may provide sentence stems for beginnings, adding more details, using transitional phrases, or conclusions. The best part is that the stems give the students much needed confidence in their writing. As they become more confident, they will move away from using the sentence stems and create more original and unique sentences.

What About Early Finishers?

Since I use a workshop model and the students work through the writing process primarily at their own pace, I do need to have expectations and procedures in place for early finishers. Here are the three different procedures I have put in place over the years for my students who finish a writing piece early:

1. The easiest one is already embedded in my instruction: the students choose another writing topic from the list of topics we generate at the beginning of a new genre.

2. The other option is to request a peer conference with another student who is already finished. If you choose this, you need to have a clear procedure in my place for finding or requesting a student, what to do if no one is ready to hold a peer conference with you, and you need to explicitly teach the students how to hold peer conferences.

3. For some students, they need a bit more structure when it comes to choosing an “early finisher” activity.  This is where my writing choice boards come in. I have one choice board per genre that I teach. As we learn about a genre, I print the choice board and place it on a ring. Over time, the ring will have several choice boards. Early finishers may grab a ring of boards (I make about 5-6) and choose any prompt from any of the choice boards.

Writing choice boards are a great way to get students about writing. Click through to read more about these choice boards and other ways to get your students to love writing.

These writing choice boards are available in my TeachersPayTeachers store. The resource includes 7 writing choice boards in all! Click here to see them now.

Preparing for Writing Assessments

The question I always get is: How do you use a workshop model and still prepare your students for very “unworkshop” like writing assessments? The answer is that I embed it throughout in an authentic way.  Let’s take a look at an example:

My students are expected to write essays in response to two texts. So, when my students are learning how to write compare and contrast essays, we pull up information, articles, and read alouds for them to integrate their information from. This is authentically preparing them for the writing assessment in a way that still engages them in the writing.

Here is another example:

While we are writing persuasive essays, we may read two articles from two different perspectives on the topic we are writing. Then we will use those articles (and our own reasons and experiences) to craft a persuasive argument. But I never do it in a this is “test prep” way. I always try to authentically and naturally introduce the text as a way to support and strengthen our writing-this makes a HUGE difference with the students’ mindset.

Another way that I prepare my students is by taking the last nine weeks of my pacing (or 6 weeks if the writing test falls sooner) to review and practice all three genres of writing together. I think it is very important that the students are exposed to writing in all three genres together and not just in isolation. This helps solidify the differences among the three types. A resource I use to jump-start my review of all three main types of writing is my Writing Test Prep Resource.

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

This resource has sorts, prompts, practice printables, teaching posters, and more. It is a great way to review all three genres of writing and teach students how to analyze and respond to writing prompts. I use this resource at the beginning of my  last nine weeks of instruction. It lasts about a week to go through the resources and review all the genres.

Want to take a peek at how others teachers teach writing? This post details exactly how one teacher teaches writing in 5th grade using a writing workshop model.

After using that resource , we move into more rigorous text stimulus writing (as required by my state assessment). However, because I have embedded this type of writing in my instruction all year, this is nothing the students haven’t already seen or done.  The activities from the Writing Test Prep Resource then go into a test prep writing centers to continue reviewing before the day of the test.

I plan to write another blog post about preparing your students for writing assessments all year (and in authentic, engaging ways). Stay tuned for that!

Is how you teach writing similar or very different from how I teach? I would love to hear your thoughts on writing instruction. Let me know in the comments.

P.S. Do you want to see how I teach reading? Click here to read a detailed post that breaks down how I teach reading in 5th grade.

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writing help for 5th graders

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This post shares practical and realistic tips to help teachers get students excited about writing and enjoying it. Must read for writing teachers!

Reader Interactions


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February 9, 2017 at 10:42 am

Thanks for this post! It is great to get a look behind the curtain into the way other teachers teach writing. Lots of schools are rolling out blanket approaches now and I really think it is best to leave it to the person that knows the class best – the teacher!

That said it helps no end to learn about other people’s practice.

Love your blog 🙂

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February 13, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Thank you for your kind words! Yes, it is great to have choice and to see how other teachers teach. I am always saddened when I hear that so many teachers don’t have the choice to do what they know is best for their students.

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February 16, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Thanks for sharing! It’s great to see what strategies and procedures other teachers are using in order to enhance what I’m doing with my students.

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February 18, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Hey I love this idea, what’s the best way or resource you have to get started!

February 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Hi Michelle, I am working on a resource for launching writers workshop, but it won’t be ready until next school year. Until then, I recommend Fountas and Pinnell Guiding Readers and Writers, which is where my philosophy and instruction is grounded.

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August 2, 2023 at 11:11 pm

Hi! Is a resource available?

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March 25, 2017 at 10:50 pm

I feel as if you are an answer to prayers, as a first year teacher of 5th grade, my writing instruction has not been successful as far as I can tell. I am nervous to the writing assessment, but I now have hope that I can make some changes and improve my teaching. Thank you for sharing your craft.

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March 30, 2017 at 10:42 pm

I definitely agree with your writing pacing. I like that you spend nine weeks on one genre. That makes total sense to me! My district requires us to teach all three genres, narrative, opinion, and informational, all in one trimester. There is just not enough time to really focus on one genre. I also agree that it is so important to use students’ own writing to guide instruction through mini-lessons. I’ve found this to be very valuable in my classroom.

April 1, 2017 at 11:09 am

So glad you found this helpful, Meghan!

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July 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Just a quick question- I loooove this format for teaching writing but just have a couple questions. How do you start the year? Do you just jump right in with narrative the first week, or do you teach any of the 6 traits? Or anything similar? Just curious how you map out the first few weeks with writing. Thanks!

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July 22, 2017 at 11:34 pm

This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your craft. Do you implement 6 + 1 writing traits at all? Or do you just do it without calling them that?

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August 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm

I have been teaching Lower Elementary for 17 years and am in my first year as a 5th grade teacher. The team I have joined has not been teaching writing and my background is writer’s workshop. This is a big help in figuring out how to implement Writer’s Workshop into my day since I’m going it alone.

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August 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm

I just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU for this. I have been struggling with writing instruction (last year was not good) and I have been searching for a post like this to help breakdown the workshop model. Thank you again for posting it! You are amazing.

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July 22, 2018 at 7:53 pm

My sentiments exactly!!!!

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August 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Hi!! First year 5th grade teacher but 13th year teacher. I can’ wait to really dive into this and read what great ideas you have!! My district uses a series and it lacks in some areas. I had a question about where you find inspiration for your mentor texts? Thanks

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September 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Thank you so much for sharing a modified schedule for 30 minutes!!!

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September 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Thank you for this post. I will take away much to break it in to smaller pieces for better organized conferences. I am curious though, what is a reasonable essay length to expect from a student? I would like to set a standard for a minimum on paper writing/typing page or word count for beginning year and end of year expectations. Maybe you have some reasonable amount you have expected for their age/grade level in each session and assessment? Some are gifted and can explain in detail their story, but putting into written form tends to stop up the creativity in my experience for a few.

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October 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Hi Jennifer,

Where do you get ideas for the on demand prompts that you use the last 3 weeks of the units? Thanks!

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November 14, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Thank you for this post! I just found your website, and have really enjoyed reading how you teach all your classes! I am new to 5th grade this year, and struggling to fit everything in. I work at a bilingual school, and I get one hour of English Literacy every day. In that time I am suppose to cover reading, writing, grammar, and spelling. Do you have any suggestions on how to divide the time?

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September 15, 2021 at 7:59 pm

I have that same questions. We are on a 9 period – 6 day rotation schedule with 2 groups we see ( AM and PM). Some days I see the kiddos for 80 mins and other days it could 120. Within that time frame some of those 80 min days its split. For example I have them for period 6 for 40 mins but don’t get them back until period 8 for another 40 mins. Any ideas on how to fit grammar, reading workshop, and writing workshop in would be HUGE! Thank you for your help.

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May 22, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Sister thanks for this sincere post you helped show me how to take responsibility for my teaching. I teach writing under some difficult situations 40 mins weekly. It started out as a special storytime/ shared reading/ read Aloud but and now creative writing. I have struggled for 4yrs and recently the Lord helped me to approach writing using Persuasive, narrative and expository. What about poetry? It gets confusing but reading your post helped out with some perspectives. God bless you dear.

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July 16, 2018 at 8:32 pm

Thank you so much for these tips and guides. I have been struggling to teach writing for five years now, especially with the way they expect students to cite text, use it appropriately and almost perfectly during their testing. Unfortunately at my school and most schools in my county writing is not taught until students get to fourth grade, where it is tested. In addition, the state does not release any mentor texts, only from the sampling year, which district personnel tell you to ignore as they are not good examples. I wanted to know where do you gather your mentor texts from? I love the idea of students learning from the other writers, but I don’t know where to find these resources. I would greatly appreciate any of your assistance. Thank you!

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November 11, 2018 at 7:53 pm

How would you differentiate for Learning Support Students in a 3rd Grade that can’t write a sentence independently?

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January 6, 2019 at 1:06 pm

I found this so helpful! Although I’ve taught for a number of years this is my first year teaching grade 5 writing. It was reassuring seeing your outline of the different genres of writing. We’ve done narrative and fictional writing so far. This gives me direction for the new year – persuasive writing. The links for anchor charts and mini lessons are so helpful – thank-you so much! I’m feeling inspired and excited to start up again after the break!

January 6, 2019 at 9:52 pm

Hi Jen, I am so glad you found this helpful! Thank you for your kind message!

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May 11, 2019 at 10:21 am

Thank you! This is very helpful! I teach 5th grade writing (and only writing-our students rotate and another teacher teaches reading) and started halfway through the school year. We just got a new writing “program” called SRSD for informational writing, and I really like it, but it’s more of a method of writing than a paced program, so this is really helpful for determining how much time to spend on each part. I have very limited resources currently for mentor texts, but use a lot of articles from Newsela- they have lots of articles on various topics and you can change the lexile level, which is really helpful! Since I don’t teach reading but all of our informational writing is based on texts, this has been a great resource!

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August 30, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Hi! I am absolutely in love with your resources. They have helped me tremendously! I was curious if you had resources similar to the reading/grammar resources for writing?

September 8, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Hi Brooke, I don’t for writing. For 5th grade language, I do have some resources which you can see here:

Thanks for asking!

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March 3, 2020 at 12:20 pm

HI there. I have been using a lot of your resources for ELA during this school year and decided to research how you teach writing. I have never been a very strong writing teacher and realize that I am doing my students a disservice in this area.

I need some ideas on how to do an effective writing review in 5 weeks time to prepare the students for the state assessment, which is at the end of April. Mind you, I have not been teaching writing as effectively as you have during the year. I currently have a 90 minute ELA block which includes reading, writing, grammar, etc. I think I may only be able to do 30, maybe 45 minutes per day.

What do you recommend? Feel free to email me your response if you would like.

Thanks so much!

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September 30, 2020 at 6:11 am

This article is EVERYTHING right know! I am currently teaching 4th Grade ELAR as a first year teacher, I am struggling to teach writing well! My student are all very low, and struggling to provide good writing- do you have any tips? Thanks for all writing this?

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March 10, 2021 at 10:49 am

I love every one of your resources and they have been a huge hit in my classroom. We have totally adopted your math centers and resources while I was departmentalized so I am eager to add in ELA when we go back to self-contained with our fifth graders. I would love to hear about how you organize the ELA instruction for students – how many notebooks, folders, what they are called, what gets turned in daily, weekly, how many and which ELA grades are weekly and which ones are final project grades. Love how real you are. Any attempt to add structure to this crazy ride of education is so greatly appreciated

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April 25, 2021 at 2:54 am

Hi Jennifer, I was happy to come across your Anchor Charts for persuasive essay on your website when searching on how to teach my son to write a persuasive essay. I would love to have your anchor charts for narrative and informative writings. Do you have a digital package I can purchase where you have the anchor charts information all together to help out homeschooling moms by any chance? Thank you.

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June 5, 2021 at 7:52 am

Love your resources and posts. Thank you! How do you balance reading and writing lessons? Through a week or another time period, what’s your schedule for when you teach writing and when you teach reading? Hoe do you successfully plan for both?

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August 4, 2021 at 8:36 am

Excellent information!- I am a tutor and was trying to gauge my pace with what typically happens in schools- I do not think you are typical- you are a 99%ile teacher I can tell- but still extremely helpful. Thank you so much!!!

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writing help for 5th graders

Welcome friends! I’m Jennifer Findley: a teacher, mother, and avid reader. I believe that with the right resources, mindset, and strategies, all students can achieve at high levels and learn to love learning. My goal is to provide resources and strategies to inspire you and help make this belief a reality for your students. Learn more about me.

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Writing: 5th Grade

Learn about the writing assignments to expect in 5th grade and find activities you can do at home..

Fifth graders build on the skills they learned in 4th grade to become clearer and more developed writers as they write many different kinds of pieces — about a variety of topics — and use details and organization to write strong pieces. Students are taught to use their writing to share their own unique ideas and perspectives, not just those of others. They are taught to use connected and specific details in their writing, as well. Students are shown specific ways to do this and spend much of their writing time in class working on their own individual writing pieces.  

In order to build writing skills, your 5th grader :

  • Writes opinion pieces, including:
  • An introduction and conclusion
  • A logical and clear structure
  • Reasons, proofs and ideas that support the author’s opinion.
  • Writes informational pieces, which:
  • Explain a topic using specific details such as definitions, quotations and facts
  • Include an introduction and conclusion.
  • Writes narrative pieces, which:
  • Introduce and describe an event in a logically ordered way
  • Use details such as dialogue, thoughts and emotions
  • Include a conclusion.
  • Plans, revises, and edits his writing.
  • Thinks about the best way to approach her writing and tries different ways to do so. For example, writes in a different tense, or from a different perspective, such as 1st or 3rd person.
  • Uses technology (under adult guidance) to publish writing, research, and communicate with others.
  • Types at least two pages of text in one sitting.
  • Uses multiple sources to write and create a research project.
  • Takes notes on information and cites the sources used.
  • Writes over a range of times including long (over weeks) and short (one sitting or a couple of days) periods of time.

Writing Activities

  • Practice Typing : There are a variety of ways your child can practice his typing. He can play typing games, he can type something you or he has written, or he can type out a conversation you have together.
  • Revise Someone Else’s Work : Practice revising pieces of writing. You and your child can both write your own pieces, or your child can choose another short piece of writing from another source. Your child can then “revise” that piece, trying to improve it by adding more detail and descriptions.
  • Pick a New Perspective : Use either a piece you or your child wrote or pick a text written by someone else, such as a short story or article. Ask your child to re-write the piece from a different perspective, like that of another character or person in the story or a person who witnessed an event. Talk to your child about the difference in perspectives.
  • Become Investigators : Pick an event or moment such as a family meal, preparations in the morning, or a car ride. Ask your child to silently observe the scene and take detailed notes on what he observes, writing down things that were said and things people did. Your child can then read back his notes to everyone who was at the event. You can take this even further and by asking your child to develop ideas about the event that he observed (for example, “Getting ready in the morning is a very hectic time in our family. Maybe we should all wake up earlier or have assigned jobs.”) and use evidence to support these ideas. 


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4 Simple Secrets: How To Improve 5th Grade Writing Skills

Nothing takes a toll on a teacher’s heart more than seeing her class struggle. On the other hand, empowering student achievement can bring great joy.

Whether your students arrived to 5th grade unprepared for the course material, they have stresses outside of school, or your lesson plans just aren’t getting through to them, you’ll know when it’s time to optimize your teaching strategy.

English writing is one of the most challenging subjects to teach.

Instead of hesitating over how you will help your students catch up to speed, dig in and remind yourself that there are no magic tricks . It takes skill to nurture each child’s development and help them to discover their writing voice.

The fifth grade is also an exciting time for students who are learning to write more complex assignments. Writing instruction at this stage of a child’s education focuses on:

  • Writing conventions
  • Revision and editing

You need a practical strategy to elevate student writing achievement. By practical, we mean, simple, effective, and economical. Here’s a preview of what this blog offers:

Teacher Tips To Improve 5 th Grade Writing

  • Encourage More Reading: Schedule class time at the library, and keep a collection of paperbacks in your classroom.
  • Make Writing Fun:  Incorporate games into your lesson plans that get students thinking about words and context.
  • Add Spark To Your Classroom:  Children are more likely to grow as writers in a pleasant and motivating writing environment.
  • Assign More Papers:  Assigning more papers – and giving feedback – is the secret to how to teach kids to write.

Evolving your teaching methods can have a positive impact on your class. Read on to learn more about these simple secrets for how to improve 5 th grade writing skills.

Tip #1: Encourage More Reading

The library is a valuable resource for 5 th graders. Often, you can schedule class visits with your school or local library so that students can learn how to find book s they need to write papers, learn about subjects on their own, and read for pleasure.

Accompany your class during these library sessions, and help your students develop a life-long love of libraries . Borrowing books and reading as much as possible will help students to become proficient writers.

Another strategy to get your students reading more is to keep a small collection of paperbacks in your classroom . If you search thrift stores, used book stores, and community library sales, you can often find children’s paperbacks for pennies.

These will come in helpful during silent reading periods, which you should practice with your class every day. Students can choose out books from your collection if they don’t have one handy to read.

Tip #2: Make Writing Fun

Anyone who’s taught a group of 5 th graders knows that they can be full of energy, laughter, and emotions . After all, they’re children. Sitting at a desk working all day is a recipe for a fidgety, unhappy class.

Here are some examples of fun writing activities you can do with your class:

  • Create comic strips
  • Complete themed word searches
  • Do crossword puzzles as teams
  • Fill in Mad Libs as a class

By incorporating these activities into your lesson plans, you’ll help students to see writing as more than just a subject their teacher says they have to learn.

Writing can and should be fun . Students who understand this at a young age will find the path to success in high school and college writing.

Tip #3: Add Spark To Your Classroom

By enlivening your classroom and lesson plans, you can create an ideal space for your students to learn writing skills .

You may consider decorating your classroom with writing-themed bulletin boards and giving students a space to track their achievement.

Experts advise implementing three central strategies to create a pleasant and motivating environment in your classroom.* Try the following methods:

  • Give extended opportunities to write
  • Create routines where students plan, draft, revise, and edit their work
  • Offer individual assistance and feedback

The key is to inspire students to improve and set out a clear way forward. Students should feel comfortable being challenged and encouraged to explore.

Tip #4: Assign More Papers

“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice.” – Ray Bradbury

The best writers advise young students to practice writing as much as possible. In 5 th grade, children should learn how to compose and revise papers .

The more they write, the more easily students will find their writing voice.

Students should complete writing assignments in many different subject areas. For example, they can write a summary of a science project, or they can write a report on a historical event. Conducting research and writing about a particular topic will also increase their knowledge in that area.

One problem stands out for 5 th grade teachers with limited bandwidth for grading papers: Students need feedback to learn what they do well and what needs improvement in their writing.

You may be thinking – “How am I going to score more papers on top of my lesson plans and all of the work I already have to grade?”

If scoring assignments takes you hours each week, consider using a paper grader tool for teachers.

By promoting more reading, fun word games, a motivating environment, and writing practice in your classroom, you can take your students to the next level of academic excellence .

As a teacher, you invest so much of your time and emotional energy into each student’s success. Every day brings its rewards and challenges. Putting new teaching strategies into play helps keep each school year fresh and full of possibility .

It’s time to decide what’s best for your 5 th graders. What will you do to help them become better writers?

GraderAide is the most advanced scoring system for written assignments available to teachers. To learn more, visit .

*A Path to Better Writing, Evidence-Based Practices in the Classroom” Steve Graham & Karen Harris; The Reading Teacher vol. 69 Issue 4 pp. 361-362

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Grade 5 Writing

Discover grade 5 writing standards.

writing help for 5th graders

Fifth grade writing requires young writers to be confident with all the fundamental language arts skills . They should now have a strong foundation in spelling , grammar , punctuation , and reading comprehension, and should also be broadening their vocabulary with ease.

Now is the time for fifth graders to make a leap towards writing articles where they display critical and creative thinking skills, whilst writing with a pace and fluency to interest and excite their reader. This is a difficult leap for most children to make, and it’s therefore important that you provide your child with plenty of opportunities to practice and hone their writing skills .

Here are some ways you can ensure your child’s writing progression in fifth grade:

  • Create a permanent writing station at home where your child can write whenever the inspiration grabs them.
  • Encourage reading whenever possible. Your child will pick up invaluable tips and tricks from other authors.
  • Model good writing habits. You can sit down and write a story alongside your child and then read your drafts to one another.

Mother and child, writing together.

To meet fifth grade writing expectations, your child should be able to:

  • Write a strong narrative with a clear structure.
  • Use a broad range of interesting and technical vocabulary.
  • Write informative articles and express clear opinions in their work.
  • Use parts of speech accurately, such as adverbs, conjunctions, adjectives, and pronouns.
  • Write with a clear purpose.
  • Complete research projects and insert key facts into their articles.
  • Understand the key differences between writing styles (Opinion, Narrative, Informative).
  • Write clear introductions and conclusions within their articles.
  • Follow a writing process such as: Plan > Draft > Edit > Redraft > Publish
  • Provide critical commentary on writing produced by a peer.

The Writing Process

This writing process is universally used when teaching children how to produce a high quality written piece at this grade level. It provides a simple method to ensure that children are comfortable with a more complex approach to writing!

Here are the stages that make up the process:

Stage 1 - Planning and Research

This includes everything from researching facts about a specific topic, to brainstorming and organizing ideas in order to create a clear plan.

Stage 2 - Creating a First Draft

Once all the research and planning have been completed, it’s now time to draft the first version of the writing piece! Ensure that your child has clear instructions on the type of writing piece they’re expected to complete, as the type will determine lots of characteristics about the piece. Drafting their daily routine, for example, will be very different from drafting a narrative writing piece!

Stage 3 - Review and Edit

After your child has finished drafting their piece of writing, it’s always good to proofread it and make any corrections, changes or additions that will improve the quality of the text. Once these are completed, we recommend reviewing these changes with your child, and editing (your child, or together) the draft accordingly.

Stage 4 - Write the final edit

Now your child is ready to finalize their text by writing it in full, using all the previous steps to help them create a better informed and structured piece of writing!

Practice Tip

Get your child to discuss their ideas out loud before writing them down. Sometimes when we speak, ideas flow in a more natural way, which can really help!

Opinion Writing

Fifth graders are expected to give their opinion on different topics and texts. They should give reasons for their point of view and include supporting details. Opinion writing will be most effective when structured clearly with information organized into groups.

In opinion pieces, it’s very important to start with a clear introduction on the topic at hand, as it will help the reader understand the writer’s stance.

The introduction should then be followed by the writer’s opinion, supported by reasons, facts, and details.

Young writers are expected to link their opinions and reasons using a variety of words, phrases, and clauses. In fifth grade, children should understand the differences between facts and opinions .

When their introduction is perfected, their opinion is clearly stated, and their reasons are given and supported with details, children need a winning concluding statement:

  • Mention the main topic discussed
  • Summarize the most important points made
  • Finish with an impactful statement

Children debating in classroom.

Informative Writing

Informative writing should be factual and accurate. When examining a topic, young writers need to organize their material logically so it supports their purpose.

Topics in informative texts should be developed to include facts, definitions, details, and quotations . The facts, definitions, details, and quotes that are included in informative writing need to be linked using a variety of words, phrases, and clauses. These links between sentences and paragraphs help to organize the writer’s ideas.

In Grade 5, using topic-specific language and structural techniques are important features of informative texts. Drafting a clear introduction, followed by paragraphs demonstrating factual knowledge about the topic and using correct terminology, and finishing with a strong conclusion will set your child up for success!

Narrative Writing

The following narrative writing techniques should help students think creatively about this writing process, as well as provide them with a clear structure to follow:

Sequence of events

The story should follow a logical sequence of events. This doesn’t mean that all stories your child writes must be in chronological order of events, but the actions should make sense to the reader and guide them to a clear conclusion.

It’s important to have a clear introduction, main body (which should consist of structured paragraphs) and a conclusion or resolution.

Literary devices

Encourage your child to try out different techniques such as dialogue , imagery, figurative language , similes and metaphors!

Similar to other forms of writing, the events within a narrative should be linked using a variety of words, phrases and clauses. These help the reader to understand when different events are happening.

Using language that incorporates the senses is a technique that helps readers to understand experiences and events within a story. Focus particularly on adjectives that relate to the senses - these words can then be used within your child’s narrative writing.

How Night Zookeeper can help is a language arts program that has been designed to provide fun ways for your fifth-grade child to practice writing skills. Our award-winning content has been developed by expert elementary school teachers to support your fifth grader in their learning journey. There are thousands of different activities and resources available on the program, including writing assignments and lessons, printable writing worksheets, challenges, creative writing prompts , and much more!

Start your free trial today to make writing fantastically fun for your child!

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75 Creative Fifth Grade Writing Prompts (Free Slides!)

Get them excited to write every day!

What three qualities do you think are most important in a friend? Why?

Fifth grade is such an exciting time! For many kids, it’s the last year of elementary school, and so many exciting things lie ahead. Fifth graders have accumulated some interesting stories to tell by now, and they’re building stronger writing skills. These fifth grade writing prompts encourage kids to imagine, explain, persuade, and reveal—improving their writing abilities day by day.

If you’d like even more upper elementary writing prompts, check out the Would You Rather questions we post regularly on the Daily Classroom Hub . Kids will get a kick out of these, for writing or discussion!

(Want this entire set of fifth grade writing prompts in one easy document? Get your free PDF or Google Slide bundle by submitting your email here .)

1. How important is it to finish what you start?

1. How important is it to finish what you start?

2. What does it mean to be honest? Give one solid example of what honesty looks like.

What does it mean to be honest? Give one solid example of what honesty looks like.

3. What three qualities do you think are most important in a friend? Why?

What three qualities do you think are most important in a friend? Why?

4. Since fifth grade is the top grade in elementary school, should fifth graders get special privileges? If so, write in detail about one privilege you think they should get. If not, why not?

Since fifth grade is the top grade in elementary school, should fifth graders get special privileges? If so, write in detail about one privilege you think they should get. If not, why not?

5. Vincent van Gogh said, “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” Describe one of your favorite places in nature in detail.

Vincent van Gogh said,

6. Are fifth graders old enough to babysit little kids? Why or why not?

Are fifth graders old enough to babysit little kids? Why or why not?

7. Write about three qualities that make a good leader.

Write about three qualities that make a good leader.

8. Should teachers assign homework? Why or why not?

Should teachers assign homework? Why or why not?

Get My Fifth Grade Writing Prompts!

What are your favorite fifth grade writing prompts? Come share your ideas on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook !

Plus, check out 50 fifth grade math word problems of the day ..

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Writing Prompts for 5th Grade

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writing help for 5th graders

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.

  • 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 ?
  • 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 thing about being a tween in today’s society?
  • Besties . What is the best book you’ve ever read? What made it so special?
  • Reflections . Do you remember your first-ever day of school ? Describe one vivid memory from that day.
  • Bullies . Have you ever witnessed someone bullying another student? What happened and how did it make you feel?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Holiday Memories . Think about one of your favorite holiday-related memories. Write an essay describing it and tell why it is so unforgettable.
  • Guilty . Think about a time you did something that made you feel guilty. Describe what happened.
  • The Ultimate Field Trip . If you could choose anywhere in the world to go on a field trip , where would you choose and why?
  • Family Game Night . Do you enjoy playing games with your family? Describe your favorite family game or activity.
  • Tasty Treats . What is your favorite food? Describe it as if you were introducing it to someone who has never seen or tasted it.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Yuck . What is your least-favorite cafeteria food? Give three compelling reasons why your school should quit serving it.
  • 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!
  • Home Alone . Write an essay convincing your parents that you are old enough and responsible enough to stay at home alone.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Birth Order . Are you an only child, the oldest sibling, the youngest, or the middle? What makes your birth order the best?
  • The Ultimate Game . What is the best video game on the planet? Explain why it’s better than similar games.
  • Life Lessons . What are the three most important lessons parents should teach their children and why?
  • Test Time . Do you think standardized tests  are helpful or harmful? Explain your answer.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 .
  • Lessons Learned . Write an essay to a younger sibling explaining two or three key strategies for having a positive 5th-grade experience.
  • 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.
  • Upgrade Ahead . You have an idea to improve your school. Explain it.
  • Safety Zone . Explain three of the best steps kids can take to be safe online.
  • Family Traditions . Does your family have any customs or traditions that might be unfamiliar to a classmate? Describe them.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Action . Your favorite book was made into a movie. Compare and contrast the film and book versions.
  • Team Players . Explain how contributing responsibly helps or how it hurts a group when someone doesn’t do his part.
  • 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.

  • Magic Lamp . You’ve just found a magic lamp. What happens when you rub it?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gone to the Dogs . Write a story from your pet’s point of view.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Before or After . Imagine that you live either 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future. What is your life like?
  • Dr. Doolittle . You’re walking through a pet store when you discover that you can talk to the animals. What happens next?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Holiday Loop . Imagine you get to relive your favorite holiday every day. What’s that like?
  • 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.
  • Teacher's Pet . Imagine that your teacher is actually your parent. Describe a day in class.
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100 Fun Writing Prompts for 5th Grade: Journal Prompts

Kids Reading Books

  • Prompts for Narrative Essays
  • Prompts for Informative Essay Writing
  • Prompts for Research Writing
  • Funny Fifth Grade Writing Prompts
  • 5th Grade Poetry Writing Prompts
  • Prompts for 5th Grade Fiction Writing
  • 5th Grade Animal Writing Prompts
  • 5th Grade Emotion Writing Prompts
  • Journal Writing Prompts for Fifth Graders
  • 5th Grade Descriptive Writing Prompts

As parents and teachers, we recognize the significance of writing as a fundamental skill that enables children to express their thoughts, emotions, and ideas. However, generating ideas and inspiration for writing can be challenging for many 5th-grade students. To aid students in this process, 5th grade writing prompts prove to be a valuable resource. Furthermore, Science Daily published an article that highlights the crucial connection between handwriting and brain activity. Writing can increase brain activity, leading to better memory retention and cognitive development. This is particularly important for students as it can positively impact their academic performance.

“Writing is the painting of the voice.” – Voltaire

By using writing prompts, children can explore various topics, develop their imagination, and hone their writing skills. In this collection, we have compiled various writing prompts that are engaging, entertaining, and sure to inspire creativity in 5th grade students. This collection has something for everyone: Persuasive writing, descriptive essays, narrative stories, and imaginative writing. Fifth grade journal prompts can help inspire creativity and reflection in their writing. So, let’s get started and explore these exciting 5th Grade writing prompts.

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Explore 5th Grade educational resources !

10 Prompts for Narrative Essays

Writing Narrative Essays? Here Are Ten 5th grade narrative writing prompts:

“A great story can lead us to new worlds, new ideas, and new ways of thinking.” – Neil Gaiman
  • Write about a time when you faced a difficult decision.
  • Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island. Describe what you would do?
  • Create a narrative about a magical adventure.
  • Write about a time when you learned something important.
  • Think about the prospect of time travel. How would you react, and where would you go?
  • Develop a narrative about a superhero you create.
  • Describe a time when you overcame a fear.
  • Imagine you can do whatever you want. Tell me what it would be and how you’d use it.
  • Create a narrative about a day in the life of your pet.
  • Write about a time when you had to stand up for what you believe in.

10 Prompts for Informative Essay Writing

A list of ten 5th grade writing prompts to get you started on an informative essay:

  • Write an essay about a famous person who inspires you.
  • Research and write an essay about a historical event that interests you.
  • Write about the benefits of physical activity and exercise.
  • Write an essay about the effects of technology on society.
  • Research and write an essay about a country you would like to visit.
  • Write about the importance of reading books .
  • Write an essay about the positive and negative effects of social media.
  • Research and write an essay about an animal species that is endangered.
  • Write about the importance of recycling and conserving natural resources.
  • Please write an essay about the role of education in shaping our future.

10 Prompts for Research Writing

Here are ten Research writing prompts for 5th grade:

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” -Zora Neale Hurston, author and anthropologist.
  • Research and write about your favorite historical figure.
  • Choose a famous landmark and research its history and significance.
  • Investigate and write about an important event in history.
  • Research and write about a unique and interesting animal species.
  • Study and write about famous inventors and their inventions.
  • Research and write about the culture and traditions of a country you are interested in.
  • Explore and write about a current scientific discovery or innovation.
  • Investigate and write about the effects of climate change on a particular region or ecosystem.
  • Research and write about a famous artist and their artwork.
  • Study and write about a significant moment in space exploration history.

10 Funny Fifth Grade Writing Prompts

Kids laughing in a classroom

Here are ten prompts for Fun Writing Prompts for 5th Grade:

  • Write a funny story about a talking animal.
  • Imagine speaking to your pet and writing about what you would say.
  • Write a comic dialog between two unlikely characters.
  • Write a humorous story about a mischievous character getting into trouble.
  • Create a funny story using three random objects.
  • Write a funny kids’ poem . This can be about your favorite food.
  • Imagine a world where everything is opposite, and develop a narrative about it.
  • Develop a narrative about a silly superhero with extraordinary power.
  • Create a funny dialog between a parent and a child.
  • Develop a narrative about a funny and unexpected event that happened to you.

10 5th Grade Poetry Writing Prompts

The following are ten writing topics for 5th graders seeking poetry writing prompts:

  • Write a poem about your favorite season.
  • Imagine you are a raindrop falling from the sky. Write a poem describing your journey.
  • Write a poem about a place that makes you happy.
  • Choose an object in the room and write a poem about it.
  • Write a poem about a dream you had.
  • Create a poem that includes the words “whisper,” “twist,” and “moon.”
  • Write a poem about a memorable moment with a friend.
  • Describe a beautiful sunset in a poem.
  • Write a poem about the ocean and all its wonders.
  • Create a poem about your favorite animal.

10 Prompts for 5th Grade Fiction Writing

Opinion writing prompts 5th grade to help encourage critical thinking and self-expression in young students. Here are ten 5th grade writing prompt ideas to get them started:

  • Create a story about a mysterious package that arrives in the mail.
  • Develop a narrative about a person who can time travel.
  • Create a story about a magic tree that grants wishes.
  • Imagine being lost in the forest and creating a story about your adventure.
  • Develop a narrative about a group of friends who discover a hidden treasure.
  • Create a story about a person who can talk to animals.
  • Create a narrative about a family vacation gone wrong.
  • Imagine you could shrink to the size of an ant. Develop a narrative about your adventures.
  • Create a story about a person who wakes up one day with superpowers.
  • Develop a narrative about a group of people stranded on a deserted island.

10 5th Grade Animal Writing Prompts

Here are ten writing ideas for 5th grade for animal-themed assignments:

  • If you could be any animal for a day, which animal would you choose and why?
  • Create a narrative told from the point of view of a bear family as they emerge from their hibernation period.
  • Describe the life of a whale in the deep sea.
  • Write a persuasive essay on why zoos are important for conserving endangered animals.
  • Describe the life of a squirrel gathering nuts for winter.
  • Write a fictional story about a fox trying to outsmart a group of chickens.
  • Describe the life of a butterfly from caterpillar to butterfly.
  • Write a research paper on the migration patterns of birds.
  • Describe the life of a lion in the savannah.
  • Write a poem about the beauty of nature and the animals that live in it.

10 5th Grade Emotion Writing Prompts

Here are ten prompts for 5th grade writing prompts About Emotion:

  • Describe a moment when you experienced a strong sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment.
  • Describe a moment when you felt scared and how you overcame your fear.
  • Create a narrative about a character who overcomes a difficult challenge.
  • Describe a time when you felt happy for someone else.
  • Write a letter to your future self about your dreams and aspirations.
  • Describe a time when you felt angry and how you managed your anger.
  • Develop a narrative about a character who learns the importance of forgiveness.
  • Describe a moment when you felt grateful for something or someone.
  • Write a poem about the different emotions that people feel.
  • Describe when you felt sad and how you coped with your sadness.

10 Journal Writing Prompts for Fifth Graders

The following are ten suggestions for 5th grade journal prompts to use:

  • Describe an instance where you successfully conquered a challenging obstacle.
  • Describe a moment when you felt proud of yourself and why.
  • Write about a place that is special to you and why it is important.
  • Describe a time when you helped someone else and how it made you feel.
  • Write about your favorite book and what you learned from it.
  • Describe an instance where you made a mistake and what you learned from it.
  • Write about a person who inspires you and why.
  • Describe a time when you felt grateful for something or someone.
  • Write about your favorite hobby and why you enjoy it.
  • Describe when you tried something new and what you learned from the experience.

When choosing 5th grade journal topics, consider selecting prompts that encourage students to explore their interests, emotions, and experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

10 5th Grade Descriptive Writing Prompts

Here are ten topics to consider when looking for descriptive writing prompts for 5th grade:

  • Describe your favorite outdoor place and explain why it is special to you.
  • Write a descriptive paragraph about a delicious meal you recently enjoyed.
  • Imagine you’re walking through a spooky forest. Describe what you see, hear, and feel.
  • Describe the view from your bedroom window. What can you see in the distance?
  • Write a paragraph describing a character from your favorite book. What do they look like, and what makes them interesting?
  • Describe your dream bedroom. What colors would you use, and what kind of furniture would you have?
  • Imagine you’re on a deserted island. Describe the island and the environment around you.
  • Write a paragraph describing a memorable moment from a family vacation.
  • Describe a special item you keep in your room. Why is it important to you?
  • Imagine you’re in a bustling city. Describe the sights, sounds, and smells you experience.

Encourage Fifth Graders in Becoming Writers

Writing is a significant skill that is essential for communication, expression, and personal growth. As highlighted in an article published by UCONN , writing prompts play a crucial role in engaging students’ interest in a particular topic and encouraging them to write thoughtfully and creatively. While effective prompts should introduce and limit the writing topic, they should also provide clear instructions about the writing task. It is imperative to equip 5th graders with resources and guidance to help them develop their writing skills. 

Educators and parents can provide 5th grade journal prompts and creative exercises to assist students in exploring various forms of writing and finding their unique voice. Additionally, feedback and constructive criticism can help students improve their strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, teaching 5th graders to write improves their academic and personal lives by promoting self-expression, creativity, and critical thinking.

Fifth Grade Writing Prompts for Developing Young Writers

Teacher Teaching in Classroom

5th-grade writing prompts can be a powerful tool for parents and teachers to help students develop their writing skills and creativity. By providing a starting point for writing, prompts can help students overcome writer’s block and find inspiration for their ideas. The prompts in this collection cover a wide range of topics and genres, encouraging students to explore their interests and experiences through writing.

“A well-crafted writing prompt can spark creativity and lead to a deeper understanding of oneself and the world around us.” – Laura Robb

Parents and teachers can inspire students to develop regular writing habits and enhance their skills by utilizing 5th grade journal prompts. According to an article published by the Journal of Instructional Research , both approaches of writing i.e. direct and indirect, have positive effects on students’ writing abilities. This article dived into exploring these approaches for promoting writing. The direct approach focuses on teaching writing skills explicitly and providing feedback on children writing. The indirect approach, on the other hand, emphasizes creating a supportive environment that encourages writing.

We can motivate students to write on a variety of topics, experiment with different writing styles, and share their work with others. By nurturing a passion for writing, we can help our students become confident, creative, and effective communicators. Why not give these prompts a try and see where they take you? Let’s encourage our young writers to unleash their creativity and express themselves through the power of writing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are these prompts suitable for all 5th class students.

These 5th grade writing prompts are designed to be accessible to most students, but they may need to be modified or adapted for students with special needs or English language learners.

How can I implement these ideas into my lesson plans?

Creative writing prompts 5th grade to use it for anything from journal entries to class discussions. Teachers can also have their students use these as a springboard for creative thinking and topic development.

Can these prompts be used for other grade levels?

Yes, many of these prompts can be adapted for other grade levels depending on the level of complexity and difficulty. Teachers can also modify the prompts better to fit the interests and abilities of their students.

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5th grade reading & vocabulary

Unit 1: imaginative worlds, unit 2: athletes in action, unit 3: inventing progress.

55 Writing Prompts For 5th-Graders That Are Enjoyable to Write

The fifth grade is a year of incredible change and growth for students.

For many, it is the last year of elementary school, and for some, it is the beginning of middle school.

In the fifth grade, learners are developing a more mature awareness of right and wrong and are more able to think abstractly.

The writing prompts for 5th-grade students below will not only be a fertile playground for curious minds but will be a way for learners to develop their own voices and ideas that will help shape their foundational skills.

Descriptive Writing Prompts

These are 5th-grade writing prompts that often contain the keywords “describe in detail” or “talk about how something felt, smelled, looked, or tasted”.

senses associated with descriptive writing prompts

Fifth graders show more interest in independent work, so it’s best to include independent descriptive writing tasks in your lessons. Here are some creative prompts that your 5th-graders can try.

  • Describe what you consider a good pet.
  • Describe someone that you envied.
  • Describe a famous person.
  • Describe your dream job.
  • Describe something you were scared of and how it made you feel.
  • Describe your elementary school.
  • Describe the favorite hang-out place of fifth graders.
  • Describe a fifth-grade classmate who loves to help others.
  • Describe your first best friend.
  • Describe the most beautiful place you’ve been to last year.

Narrative Writing Prompts

These are 5th-grade writing prompts that tell a fictional or personal narrative.

types of narrative writing

Keywords such as “tell about…” or “write a story” are often used for these creative writing prompts.

  • Write a story about an embarrassing moment that happened during 5th grade.
  • Tell a story that involves a superstitious belief.
  • Tell a story about an accident you’ve witnessed.
  • Write about your favorite moment so far in 5th grade.
  • Write a fictional story about a day in your life 10 years from now.
  • Write a story about a time you made a big mistake.
  • Write a story about a time you’ve forgotten something important.
  • Write a story about a funny moment in your life.
  • Write a fictional story inspired by a true event. Use real people in history as your main characters.
  • Imagine that your favorite teacher is a secret superhero. Write how you discovered their secret.

Expository Writing Prompts

student writing in school

These expository essays are written with a set purpose and a voice that fits an audience in mind.

These prompts use the keywords “why, how, what, and explain”. Essays that address problems and give solutions, tell cause and effect, and teach processes (how-to) are all subtypes of expository writing.

Problem and Solution Prompts

  • How can you solve the problem of heavy traffic in a big city?
  • Talk about a situation that annoys you and how you deal with it.
  • What’s one thing that can make you smile in the midst of a bad day? Explain why it makes your day better.
  • How can you encourage people to use less of their cell phones?
  • Your principal is seeking ideas on how to improve your school. Pick one change that will benefit fifth-graders and write why this is important.

Cause and Effect Prompts

  • What effects does having a best friend have on your life?
  • What are the effects of procrastination before an exam?
  • What are the effects of peer pressure?
  • Write an essay describing why some students cheat and the effects of it.
  • What happens when you sleep late for a week?

How-to Prompts

  • Give tips on how to make new friends and how to deal with new classmates.
  • Give tips to fourth-grade students on how to prepare for the fifth grade.
  • Give tips on how one can overcome being lazy on a busy day.
  • What do you do to overcome fear? Share tips with your fellow students.
  • How can a person fall asleep quickly?

Compare and Contrast Writing Prompts

Here are some prompts your students can discuss:

  • Football versus basketball
  • Ice cream versus cake
  • Pet cats versus pet dogs
  • Movies versus cartoons
  • Online class versus offline class

Persuasive Writing Prompts

These are writing prompts for 5th-grade students that attempt to convince an audience to take a specific point of view or action.

These essay topics for 5th graders should discuss both sides of an issue and express a preference for one. These opinionated writing prompts use the keywords “‘persuade”, “convince” and “why”.

  • Convince the Board of Education why beginning classes at a later time is a good or bad idea.
  • Convince the Board of Education why increasing or decreasing screen time during classes is beneficial.
  • What is the best way to spend an hour of free time without spending money? Try to convince your readers why this activity is the best among the rest.
  • Persuade your classmates on why they should stop teasing a fellow student. Explain why it’s important to treat others kindly and be considerate of others’ feelings.
  • What is the best pet to get? Persuade your 5th-grade classmates to your choice.
  • Your parents are thinking of sending you to a sports summer camp. Convince them why this is a good or a bad idea.
  • Persuade your parents why having cell phones can be beneficial for kids like you.
  • Persuade a special person in your life to buy you something that you consider “the perfect gift”.
  • Convince the school board that the new dress code policy is a good or bad idea.
  • Suggest one solution to the citizens’ committee to solve the littering problem in your area and persuade them to take action.

Bonus: Funny Writing Prompts

These funny essay topics for 5th-graders are for the difficult days when you just want your learners to have fun writing.

  • Make up a tale about the origin of thunder.
  • Imagine that you are someone’s pet animal. Write a story about your owners.
  • There’s a magical door in your room. Where does it lead to?
  • Write about running away with the circus that came to your town.
  • There was once a little girl who ate nothing but bananas. What happened to her?

Asking Students to Check Their Work

Before submitting their finished work, ask your students to make sure they’ve included all the necessary parts of an essay or story. Ask them to refer to this checklist:

  • Did I write the introduction?
  • Did I add details to my main points?
  • Did I write the conclusion?
  • Did I choose the best words?
  • Were my ideas properly organized?
  • Did I express myself clearly?

Jump In : Complement your 5th graders’ reading skills with reading comprehension activities to further motivate their creativity. Read my blog here — 11 Enjoyable 5th-Grade Reading Comprehension Activities That Smash Learning Goals .

Related Questions

How can i help students with writer’s block.

Add a few more keywords to your journal prompts. An anchor chart displaying the basic essay or story outline can also help.

How can I help students who struggle to finish writing on time?

Use a visible timer in class so students can manage their time while writing.

What can I do to help students who struggle to write the introduction or conclusion of their essays?

Encourage them to create an outline prior to actual writing so they can visualize how their essays will begin, develop and end.

How long should a writing activity take?

I suggest giving students ample time to write, about 30 minutes to one hour at the minimum.

How can I bring out and enhance the creative skills of my students?

Along with your written 5th-grade journal prompts, you can also show picture prompts and even play related background sounds or music to set the mood for creative writing.

Final Thoughts

I hope you come back over and over again to these writing prompts for 5th-graders to give your students lots of opportunities to practice writing.

To give your students a good start at creative writing, practice setting specific parameters with clear instructions to work with. You’d be surprised how this will significantly improve their writing skills.

And finally, remember to only choose prompts and writing assignments that align with your learning objectives.

Last Updated on July 24, 2022 by Emily

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Emily is an active mother of two and a dedicated elementary school teacher. She believes the latest technology has made a huge impact on the quality of early learning and has worked hard to upgrade her classroom and her own children’s learning experience through technology.

Follow her on Twitter , Pinterest , and Instagram for more teaching fun!

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