In my eight years of teaching, rarely had I encountered a project that gave students as much ownership and motivation as the Young Writers Program for National Novel Writing Month… Or as lovingly referred to by its participants, NaNoWriMoYWP.
Today commences the 2012 month of novel writing. Students around the world are choosing a personal word count goal and launching on an adventure to tell a long narrative tale by November 30th.
Not only does this project significantly boost the quality of student writing through hours of deliberate practice and give amazing opportunities for powerful writing mini-lessons that students can immediately put into practice, but NaNoWriMoYWP also provides an appropriate learning environment for demonstrating to students the power of setting and working toward a challenging goal. Completing one’s first novel at the age of 8, 12 or 16 is something that belongs wholly to that student and can never be taken away. It represents a lifelong transformation from writing student to author. The message of empowerment is undeniable.
So, I encourage you to take join my students, colleagues, friends, writers around the globe and me in taking the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2012. Just because it is November 1, doesn’t mean it is too late to jump in. In fact, I am attaching a .pdf adapted from NaNoWriMo materials that can help you shortcut your planning time, turn your ideas into a true story concept and even connect with other NaNoWriMo-ers. Plus, this month, I will be continuing to share writing resources, tips and student stories to keep your writers engaged and motivated along the way.
So, take the challenge yourself, integrate the program into your reading and writing instruction over the next month, or at least send a Twitter message to the many students on their way to becoming authors!
Let the novel writing begin!
Click here to read more about our 2011 NaNoWriMo experience!