Martin Luther King Day Writing Prompts

MLK Writing Prompts For Kids

Inspire and encourage your elementary or middle school students to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a writing activity! Use the prompts below to celebrate Martin Luther King Day and focus on writing skills.

Writing prompts are a fantastic tool for students to think critically, empathize with others, and express their thoughts and feelings. Carefully crafted prompts will encourage students to explore complex issues like social justice and equality in a safe and supportive environment. 

Whether you need a quick classroom activity, a thought-provoking bellringer, or an engaging journal assignment, these prompts have got you covered! Set the stage for your writing activity with this short video of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech or this children’s book inspired by the life of Dr. Martin Luther King.  

What is a quick write? 

A quick write is a first draft response to a short piece of writing. It allows students to get words down on paper without censoring themselves or worrying about making mistakes. 

Five Reasons to Use Quick Writes

  • They provide students with a low-stakes opportunity to share thoughts and feelings. 
  • They allow students to be creative, reflective, and imaginative.
  • They make writing accessible to all students.
  • They give students a choice in what and how they write.  
  • They help students process ideas, formulate questions, and remember information.
Civil Rights Movement Vocabulary Activities
MLK Day Writing Response Prompts

✏️ Imagine you were in the crowd listening to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Write about what you see, hear, and feel.

✏️ What would you do if you could spend a day with Martin Luther King?

✏️ If you could ask Martin Luther King three questions, what would you ask him?

✏️ Write about someone else in history who fought to help others. Explain how they are similar to Martin Luther King.

✏️ If you had to describe Martin Luther King using only one word, which would you choose? Explain why.

✏️ If you witnessed someone being treated unfairly, what would you do?

✏️ How can kids use their voices and actions to improve the world?

✏️ What would you change if you could change one thing about the world?

✏️ Is it okay to break an unfair law? Why or why not?

✏️ Describe what it would be like to live in a world where everyone looked the same.

“I teach history and I took a break from our current unit to focus on MLK on MLK Day. The students enjoyed this activity and I was able to display their work in class for parents to see.” -Cristina

How to Structure A Quick Write 

  1. Listen to the Prompt: Begin by providing students with a clear, concise, and thought-provoking writing prompt. 
  2. Think for One Minute: Give students one minute to think about the prompt and gather their thoughts. This step is crucial as it helps students to organize their ideas and focus on the topic. 
  3. Write for Five Minutes: Set a five-minute timer and instruct students to start writing their response to the prompt. Encourage students to get their thoughts down on paper without worrying too much about grammar and spelling. The goal is to capture their ideas quickly. 

Focus on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and support reading comprehension skills! This activity includes a nonfiction article and text-based questions, perfect for studying the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Click here to preview this print and digital lesson!

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with station activities! Create learning stations that focus on the importance and history of Martin Luther King Day while incorporating all of the necessary standards-based skills you would typically include in a student-centered lesson. Click here to see six station activities you can use for MLK Day this year!

Martin Luther King Day Activities for Kids

10 Quick Write Prompts For Martin Luther King Day

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Martin Luther King Day Writing Activity for Elementary & Middle School