Writing Activities for Reluctant Writers

November 24, 2022


For many students writing can be intimidating and overwhelming. That's why it's essential to provide students with a variety of writing activities to make learning meaningful and rewarding. Here are a few of my favorite ways to make writing engaging for reluctant writers in your classroom.


Timed writing activities challenge students to race the clock as they write as much as they can during a fixed time period. Students are encouraged to “just write.” There is no pressure for perfection. In fact, the only parameter is that they need to write for the entire time. The fun nature of timed writing activities help students develop confidence as they experiment with the writing craft. Here are a few challenges to try...

*** In 5 minutes...make a list of 25 things you can do with a hula hoop.

*** In 10 minutes...write a fan letter to your idol persuading them to send you an autograph.

*** In 15 minutes...create a new kind of toy for toddlers that entertains busy toddlers.

CLICK HERE for 15 more!

WRITING HANDBOOK (with examples and prompts)

Another way to support reluctant writers is to teach short, targeted mini-lessons to help build students' writing skills. When students are provided with more support and examples of writing, their own writing improves. As their skills develop, so does their confidence. When developing writing mini-lessons, I like to include:

*** A specific topic like audience, voice, or word choice.

*** Written examples of the skill for students to analyze.

*** A writing prompt for students to practice the skill.

Find 26 writing mini-lessons HERE.


Reluctant writers benefit greatly from creative writing lessons. Not only are creative writing lessons highly engaging, they're also a lot less intimidating than formal writing genres. Also, creative writing lends itself to sharing. When students share their writing they build a community of writers and develop their skills as they listen to each others' writing. Here are some of my favorite FREE creative writing lessons:

*** Spooky Story Writing

*** Myth Writing Lesson

*** Limerick Writing Lesson


An essential part of writing instruction is guiding students through the writing process as they create different genres of writing. In my experience, the ideal writing unit is 2 weeks in duration and includes step-by-step instruction for each aspect of the writing process. To make longer writing units appealing to reluctant writers, the key is to make the topics engaging. For instance, here are some engaging topics for different styles of writing...
*** Descriptive Writing - Imaginary Pet Sketch (mystery animal)
*** Persuasive Writing - Write a roller coaster advertisement
*** Informative Writing - Create a historical news article


One of the best ways to help reluctant writers build their skills and confidence is with targeted writing instruction. I love mini-lessons that can be easily incorporated into writing workshop, writing units, writing centers, or everyday writing instruction. When developing writing mini-lessons, I try to make sure they are...
*** Quick and targeted
*** Fun and engaging
*** Filled with practice
Check out my 10 favorite writing lessons HERE.


Teachers have long known that choices are the key for engaging reluctant learners. The same holds true for writers. One of the easiest ways to motivate students is to give them choices when responding to writing. Grab this free choice board filled with writing prompts here.


Reluctant writers need lots of opportunities to write. The more they write, the easier it will get. The easier it gets, the more success they'll feel as they write. There are lots of ways to use writing prompts in the classroom...
*** Warm-up activity
*** Homework assignment
*** Learning station task
Grab a FREE set of 20 fun writing prompts HERE.


I hope you've found a few ideas for helping your reluctant writers transition into confident writers!

Thanks for stopping by,

Mary Beth

P.S. Check out this blog post filled with 3 secrets to fantastic writing instruction.

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