Editor’s Toolkit: Anthology Prompts and Stems


Knowing what to cover in any introduction, whether to a unit, chapter, or topic or to an individual reading, and having the right words at hand so that the writing is clear and stylistically engaging, can better prepare student-readers to engage with and understand the reading selections. This is important, because often the readings themselves may not have been written with a student-audience in mind.

The writing prompts and sentence stems shown below have been developed to help authors write content for:

  • the unit/chapter/topic introductions in an anthology, which can often be adequately covered in less than a page;
  • the introductions to each of the reading selections, which can be accomplished with a clear, concise paragraph composed of just a few carefully written sentences.

How to Use a Writing Prompt

The prompts are written in the form of questions. This allows you, as the author, to simply answer the question. Then, once you have written all your answers, you can remove the questions and do a bit of editing. This will turn your answers into a polished introduction. With each of the prompts, some sentence stems to jump-start the answers have been provided.

A sentence stem is a few words or a phrase that begin a sentence. Having several sentence stems available means you can stylistically vary your answers over the course of the book.