Essay and research paper topics & ideas

Choosing Winning Descriptive Essay Topics For 3rd Grade Students

In elementary school, students begin to learn the ins and outs of essay writing. Although many of these writing projects are about very basic topics, they serve as the foundation for the student's future work. To get a good grade on the project, students need to think of an interesting topic. In addition, the topic needs to be an engaging one because keeping a third grader's interest can be difficult for longer periods of time.

What Is a Descriptive Essay?

In essence, a descriptive essay is a type of writing that requires students to describe a specific topic. They will need to use all of their senses to describe how the experience smelled, tasted, felt and looked. The goal of this type of writing is to make the reader experience the story firsthand. By using exceptionally good descriptions and characters, the writer makes the reader see it from their viewpoint. For third graders, the main focus is often to organize the event in sequence so that it has a logical flow.

Topic Ideas

To get students to start brainstorming topics, teachers can ask them to describe a favorite item or toy. The student could describe a family member or someone that they looked up to. Other descriptive ideas include writing about a vacation, a favorite spot or the student's earliest childhood memory. Some students may also be interested in writing about their favorite sport, hobby or pastime.


Once the student has a general topic, they should begin to brainstorm how they will write their essay. This could use a web, basic list or other brainstorming technique. At the end of the pre-writing process, the student should have a decent outline for their paper. If pre-writing is difficult to do, teachers and parents can introduce descriptive books as examples. Many kids' books use descriptive styles of writing, so they can be read in class to give students a better idea of what they should expect.

When pre-writing is complete, students can begin writing their essay. This is typically done in class so that students can get help if they need it. As students finish writing, they should be paired up with fellow students. In pairs, students can go over their essays and over advise. If things need to be changed or made clearer, the student should be given a chance to check it. Before the essay is turned in, students should also check it thoroughly for any spelling or grammar errors.