Developing good writing skills is an essential part of learning a new language, but many students struggle as they begin trying to write ESL essays. However, encouraging ESL students to write not only helps them learn to write coherently but aids in the development of vocabulary and grammar skills.
Although you don’t want their writing practice to be boring, sticking with easy prompts is recommended for ESL students. Creativity is a critical party of English composition, but it’s not always a good idea to ask these students to come up with their writing topics as they’re learning a new language.
Offering a framework, even if it’s something as basic as a title or short prompt, can help your ESL students open up, exploring themes and ideas they may not have thought of on their own.
To begin with, it’s a good idea to get students started with short writing assignments of about 100 words. Over time, they can work up to writing longer pieces. Here are a few helpful ESL writing topics that will help your students begin to build their writing skills.
49 ESL Writing Topics
- Discuss your favorite holiday.
- Describe your childhood pet.
- Talk about your happiest memory.
- Describe your favorite place using as much detail as you can.
- Describe a famous person, such as an athlete, actor, or singer. Describe their appearance.
- Choose a hobby and talk about how you do it.
- Pick a favorite food and describe the smell, taste, and enjoyment of eating it.
- Give a detailed description of your best friend or a family member.
- Explain how to cook your favorite dish.
- Describe how to brush your teeth.
- Describe the best way to pack a suitcase.
- Write about a goal you want to achieve and how you will achieve it.
- Discuss your earliest memory as a child.
- Describe your dream house.
- What is your favorite movie or book? Why?
- Write about something funny that happened to you this week.
- What is friendship?
- What do you do when you’re not at school?
- What is one thing you can never live without? Why?
- Describe a party you attended.
- If you could change something in your past, what would it be?
- Describe your neighborhood in detail.
- Discuss all the sights and sounds at your last birthday party.
- What is your opinion of cellphones? Are they good or bad?
- What’s your opinion about recycling?
- Describe a time in your life when someone treated you unfairly.
- Give directions on how to find something quickly on the internet.
- What would you do if you were lost in the city?
- Describe a sporting or music event you attended.
- Talk about a time that you lost something and how you found it again.
- Write about a time you had to make a hard decision.
- If you could buy a gift for a loved one, no matter how much it cost, what would you buy them? Why?
- What is the best way to study for a test?
- Describe something you’re good at?
- Write about a time you felt scared, describing where you were at and what scared you.
- Describe the car of your dreams.
- If you could change an event in history, what would it be?
- How would your life change if you won the lottery?
- Would you rather watch a movie or read a book? Why?
- Do you think that smoking in public should be banned? Why?
- Write about how you prepare for class.
- Describe how to make a bed, giving every step.
- Explain how to play your favorite cellphone or computer game. Give some playing tips.
- Give directions to your house from school or work.
- Describe your favorite piece of art using as much detail as you can.
- Pick a character from a movie or book and describe them in detail.
- Write about going to your favorite restaurant and describe the food there.
- Should students go to school year-round or have a long summer vacation? Why?
- Describe your ideal weekend if you were able to do anything you want.
Whether you’re teaching ESL online or in a classroom, getting your students comfortable writing is critical. With these easy ESL writing prompts, you’ll be able to work with your students to build grammar, vocabulary, and more. Just remember the key to helping lower-level ESL students with writing is to ensure tasks are kept structured. Stick with short assignments to ensure they master basic sentence-level writing skills before moving on to working on more ambitious pieces.
Until next time, write on…
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