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35 Inspiring Journal Prompts

February 2, 2023

Do you keep a journal? Researchers have found that journaling has positive effects on a person's well-being including drops in blood pressure, improvement in sleep, and decreases in stress markers. They've also noticed that people who journal experience less anxiety and an increase in overall mood. 

Journaling also serves as a valuable tool for English language learners (ELLs) to improve their overall fluency. 

In this post, you’ll learn some of the key benefits of introducing journaling in the language classroom. You’ll also discover 35 inspiring journal prompts to encourage students to practice their writing and become more proficient.

Benefits of journaling for English language learners

In addition to both physical and mental health benefits, ELLs can gain in other ways as they express their thoughts and feelings, write about their hopes and fears, and record memories in a safe space.

Whether you decide to make it a repeating in-class activity or a regular homework assignment, journaling has the power to:

  • improve fluency
  • track progress
  • facilitate student-teacher relationship
  • increase vocabulary
  • encourage students to use grammar structures in context
  • allow students to claim ownership of the language

35 journal prompts for writing practice

Coming up with topics for your students to write about can be time-consuming. This list of 35 inspiring journal prompts is a great way to engage learners at all levels and get their words flowing on the page.

  1. Describe your favorite holiday.
  2. Write about one of your hobbies and explain why and how you do it.
  3. Describe your best friend.
  4. Write about your first memory.
  5. Describe your home.
  6. Describe your neighborhood.
  7. Write about your favorite restaurant.
  8. Describe what you do when you have guests visit.
  9. Write about something that you have lost that you still miss.
  10. Write about a regret you have, either something you did or something you didn’t do.
  11. Write about the best vacation you ever took.
  12. Write about everything you did last weekend in detail.
  13. Write about a habit that you would like to stop doing.
  14. Describe a childhood pet.
  15. Tell about a time you were embarrassed.
  16. Describe a perfect day.
  17. Describe something you couldn’t live without.
  18. What do you do when you're frustrated at work?
  19. If you could travel to any time and place in the past, where would you go?
  20. Write about a difficult decision you've made.
  21. Describe your ideal town or city.
  22. Describe the best party you've ever been to.
  23. Write about the best gift you've ever received.
  24. Write about a goal you have and how you plan to achieve it.
  25. Describe a time in your life when someone treated you unfairly.
  26. Describe your worst teacher.
  27. What advice would you give to a friend who just broke up with their partner?
  28. Describe your favorite piece of clothing. When do you wear it? How do you feel when you wear it?
  29. What 3 things would you take to a deserted island? Why?
  30. Tell about something you know now but didn’t know last year. How did you learn about it? How do you use this information?
  31. Describe a situation that made you angry.
  32. Describe the person you admire the most.
  33. Tell about a time you were scared.
  34. Explain how to make your favorite dish.
  35. Describe how you are feeling right now, both physically and emotionally.

Useful writing resources 

Ellii's Writing in English section is ideal for helping students express their ideas on paper. For lower-level learners, check out How to Write a Simple Sentence and How to Build a Paragraph. For higher levels, try How to Write a Basic Paragraph and How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph.

Share your go-to journal prompts with us!

Do you have any great journal prompts you'd like to share? Please add them in the comments below!

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Comments (2)

Anne A.(Teacher)

I wrote a simple journal every week when I was learning Japanese 30 years ago, which I found a great way to progress my Japanese writing. I came across it recently and it took me to another time in my life and recommend it for language learners to build on their language skills through real, lived experiences, not to mention a future snapshot in time.

Reply to Comment

Ann Dickson(Author)

Hi Anne,

I love looking back at my old journals too—not only to bring back memories, but also to see personal growth. When I was in the classroom, I found that I got to know my students in ways that I wouldn't have otherwise. Hopefully, they will also look back on their journals later on as well.

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