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Get Off to a Good Start with Story Starters

Person sitting at a desk and writing

We all know that the more kids write, the better writers they are, but sometimes it’s hard to get started. Here are some story prompt generators that will make getting started easy and fun.

Scholastic Story Starters generates writing prompts for grades K-6 that include direction on character, plot, and setting. Students choose from one of four themes (Adventure, Fantasy, Sci Fi, or “Scrambler”), then enter their first name, select their grade level, and pull the lever to get their prompt. They can spin any or all of the wheels again if they don’t like what they get. The complexity of the prompts is determined by student grade level, so upper grade students see more sophisticated suggestions than kindergarteners. Students may choose to do their writing directly on the Scholastic website, which also gives them the option to include a drawing; they can then print or download their story as a PDF. Of course, they could also do their writing anywhere they normally would: in a writing journal, in a Google doc, etc. Scholastic provides a teacher resource guide that includes a lesson plan.

If your students are older, you will want to take a look at DIY MFA’s Writer Igniter. Students can spin the wheels to generate prompts with a character, situation, and a prop, plus a photo to give them the setting. If students don’t like their prompt, they can generate a new one, but they don’t have the option of locking in any of the choices from their previous spin. The DIY MFA website also has several writing resources that your students may find useful. 

Other less flashy but equally creative story starters for older kids can be found at the Writing Exercises Random Plot Generator, where students click buttons to generate two characters, a setting, a situation, and a theme. Clicking a button again changes that element. (Note: This is a UK site and US students may not be familiar with an occasional British word, such as “registry office.”)

Looking for something even simpler? Consider the story plot generator at Big Huge Thesaurus, where each click of the button provides six unrelated opening sentences to choose from.

Happy writing!

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Nancy Minicozzi

Nancy is the coffee half of the TLC Ninja podcast. She began her career as a technology teacher and is now an instructional technology coach, helping other teachers meaningfully integrate new and shiny things into their classrooms. She loves collaborating with others, her family, coffee, and British comedy (not necessarily in that order).