78 Ideas for writing across the curriculum

These ideas for writing across the curriculum make writing practical and fun. Love how project-based writing let kids write in the ways they learn best.

Writing. It’s everywhere! If you’re home right now, let your eyes wander over the room in search of words. What do you notice? A shopping list, perhaps? Mail? Picture books? Birthday cards? Cereal boxes?

Maybe you’re in a coffee shop. Look around and take in the menu, food packages, a stack of magazines, or the community bulletin board.

Breaking Out of the Rut

Even though there are many kinds of writing, we often get in a rut by limiting our children to stories and reports. When I was homeschooling my own kids, I wanted them to have all sorts of writing experiences. Unit studies were perfect for writing across the curriculum.

I still assigned more “traditional” writing, of course. But we also had fun with short, targeted, project-based writing activities that dovetailed writing with other subjects such as science, nature, and history.

These activities took the form of brochures and book jackets, magazines and diaries, obituaries and editorials, charts and posters. Tying our writing—both formal and informal—to our studies made writing practical. It also helped cement concepts and gave the kids many opportunities just to have fun with words.

Benefits of Writing Across the Curriculum 

Explore a topic in greater depth.

These different projects and writing activities encouraged my children to dig deeper. My son, for example, created a newspaper about the Victorian era. He included news articles, advertisements, letters to the editor, human interest stories, and cartoons. Each required different kinds of research, helping him learn more about this time period than a report alone would accomplish.

Appeal to your kids’ interests and learning styles.

I don’t have to tell you that children learn differently.

  • The kinesthetic child learns better when he can build, work with textures, or use various media.
  • The auditory learner might like writing and performing songs, poems, speeches, or plays.
  • Projects that include art, photography, or computer-related activities appeal to the visual child.

Children absorb information through their senses. The more ways a child handles information, the better he retains it. When assigning writing, it’s wise to offer lots of choices that develop well-rounded writers. Project-based writing gives all students the chance to write in the ways they learn best.

Make writing more fun.

Don’t get me wrong: reports are important. But I bet your child will be less resistant if, from time to time, he gets to write an advertisement, create a trivia game, or make a brochure about Pompeii or Ancient Egypt or Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Activities like these help him see that writing can be fun!

Ideas for Writing Across the Curriculum

Journals, book reviews, glossaries, and recipes can all find a place in your homeschool writing diet. Explore this list of 78 writing genres. Many don’t require much planning, so pluck out a few ideas and try them this very week!

  1. Advertisements
  2. Alphabet book
  3. Animal stories (fiction or nonfiction)
  4. Autobiographies
  5. Banners
  6. Blogs
  7. Biographies
  8. Book jackets
  9. Brochures
  10. Bumper stickers
  11. Business cards
  12. Cartoons
  13. Catalogs
  14. Comics
  15. Coupons
  16. Day in the life
  17. Descriptive writing
  18. Dialogs
  19. Diaries
  20. Dictionaries and glossaries
  21. Displays
  22. Editorials
  23. Expository or informative writing
  24. Fact sheets
  25. Flyers
  26. Food packages
  27. Games (board games, trivia games, vocabulary games)
  28. Greeting cards
  29. Guidebook
  30. Handbook
  31. Headlines
  32. How-to articles
  33. Index
  34. Instruction manuals
  35. Interviews
  36. Journals
  37. Lab reports
  38. Lapbooks
  39. Letters (friendly letters, business letters, complaints, requests, thank-you notes)
  40. Lists
  41. Magazines
  42. Maps
  43. Math word problems
  44. Menus
  45. Narratives
  46. Newsletters
  47. Newspapers
  48. Obituaries
  49. Observations
  50. Opinions
  51. Outlines
  52. Petitions
  53. Photo essays
  54. Picture books
  55. Plays
  56. Poetry
  57. Postcards
  58. Posters
  59. PowerPoint presentations
  60. Proverbs and sayings
  61. Questionnaires
  62. Quizzes or test questions
  63. Recipes
  64. Responses to literature
  65. Reviews
  66. Rules
  67. Scrapbooks
  68. Signs
  69. Slogans
  70. Songs
  71. Speeches
  72. Sports articles
  73. Stories
  74. Summaries
  75. Surveys
  76. Timelines
  77. Tweets
  78. Want ads

Which of these sound like fun to you? Where will you start?

These ideas for writing across the curriculum make writing practical and fun. Love how project-based writing let kids write in the ways they learn best.

Photos: Seier+Seier (texture), Jimmie (lapbook), courtesy of Creative Commons

2 Comments

  • Posted October 22, 2014

    Janet Terrero

    Love your posts. I am in my first year of homeschooling a second grade boy who is a reluctant writer and your posts have helped tremendously!

  • Posted October 22, 2014

    Kim Kautzer

    Thanks for saying so, Janet! I’m always encouraged by readers who have discovered nuggets on the blog.

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