One of the best ways to ensure you stick with a daily writing habit is to have plenty of prompts on hand. Teens thrive when they are given boundaries with generous margins. The twenty writing prompts in this free printable January writing prompt calendar provide the perfect amount of structure to stimulate your high schooler while allowing for plenty of creative expression!
The calendar is not dated, so you can use it year after year whenever you need writing inspiration for your middle school or high school student. Each week features five different categories of prompts so your tween or teen isn’t stuck in a rut of only expository or only persuasive topics.
Example writing prompts from a week of the teen January writing prompt calendar
- persuasive — Write a paragraph or two in which you persuade a friend to break a habit that is harmful to their physical, emotional, or financial health. Back up your argument with logic, examples, and facts.
- creative — Imagine you’ve washed up on a South Seas island. Are you happy to remain here, or do you want to be rescued? You decide to send five different messages in a bottle, either asking for help or explaining your decision to stay. What will you write in each message?
- argumentative — Do you think receiving an allowance promotes financial responsibility, or does it contribute to a sense of entitlement? Should an allowance be given with no strings attached, or should it be earned through chores or good grades? Explain your reasons why parents should or should not give an allowance to their teens.
- expository — Think about some of the ways you like to spend your free time. Choose one, and write an essay describing this activity.
- reflective — Write about your first name: Does it suit you? What is its significance? Do you like it?
Key to the 5 prompt types
The PERSUASIVE essay attempts to sway the reader to accept the writer’s position. Key Words: Persuade, convince, sway, argue, convert.
The CREATIVE essay tells a story or describes a situation, person, or location. Key Words: imagine, story, tell, describe, detail.
The ARGUMENTATIVE essay is developed from a thesis in which the student takes a stance/gives an opinion. Key words: Justify, prove, take a stance, agree or disagree, argue for or against, should you or should you not, why or why not.
An EXPOSITORY essay explains a premise. Key words: Define, describe, demonstrate, tell how, illustrate, explain, outline the steps needed, compare or contrast, distinguish between, show cause and effect, give examples.
The REFLECTIVE Essay encourages students to analyze and write about their life, personality, and/or experiences. Reflective essays are much less academic in nature. Key words: your, you.
Ideas for using your teen January writing prompt calendar
There is no single way to use the calendar. It’s flexible, so you can make it work for you and your teenagers! Here are a few options.
- Let your tween highlight or cross off the prompts as she uses them.
- Number the pages with the dates she has homeschool lessons in January.
- Let your teen skip around on the calendar, choosing the prompts out of order.
- Pin the calendar to a bulletin board where it will be seen daily.
- Assign a certain number of the twenty prompts, letting your high schooler select the ones she prefers.
- Tape or glue the calendar into a composition notebook or journal.
- Focus on a different type of writing each week or month, choosing only those particular prompts.
- Each month, select one or two of your teens’s daily journal entries to take through the full writing process for composing a complete essay.
Download the January prompt calendar here or use the preview below.
If you would like to share this prompt with others, please link to this post instead of linking directly to the PDF file. Feel free to save and print this PDF file for your own personal use. Please do not sell or host these files anywhere else.
Receive daily writing prompts via email
Would you prefer to have these prompts delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our teen prompt of the day emails, and that’s exactly what you will get. Each morning, Monday through Friday, you will receive a new message with a writing prompt you can use that day in your homeschool writing lessons.