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NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program is a website where kids can go for encouragement, training, and advice on how to complete a novel in 30 days. Set up as a contest, the only requirement for winning is fulfillment of a word count (which your kid will choose at the beginning, depending on age and writing level). The social aspect of the site is really well monitored, and kids will primarily use the forums and in-site email to discuss their works-in-progress and other literary goodies.
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What's it about?
In this kid version of the National Novel Writing Month program, young writers accept the challenge to complete a novel between Nov. 1 and 30. It's a contest, but everyone who finishes wins. Kids choose their word count at the beginning, write their novel in a notebook or offline word processing program, then update their word count online throughout the month. Kids can share their ideas and questions in the forums and can fill out a profile and share excerpts of their novel-in-progress with Writing Buddies (fellow young writers).
Is it any good?
Taking their successful grown-up writing contest and adjusting for kid success, NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program is wildly engaging and brimming with advice and encouragement. The front page features fun writing activities that can be pursued within a novel or on their own, including the Dare Machine, a prompt creator that dares kids to complete tasks like "Make one of your characters fall in love with the villain." Turning the huge task of writing a novel -- something that even most adults are intimidated by -- into a fun and doable challenge really works here. The folks behind NaNoWriMo are writers who understand the process and break it down beautifully for kids.
NaNoWriMo's concept of "winning" is outstanding: if you finish what you started, you've won! Kids also get to display a winner's badge on their page after verifying their word count.
Talk to your kids about ...
There's a NaNoWriMo for adults too; why not have all your family members start a novel in November? Families can support each other through the process, have weekly check-ins or readings, and celebrate the completion of novels at the end of the month.
If your kid is particularly proud of what they've accomplished (and they should be!), you can publish a copy of their book inexpensively through sites like Lulu, or simply print it out and have your kid illustrate a cover.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, storytelling, writing
- Skills: Creativity: brainstorming, imagination, producing new content
Self-Direction: achieving goals, goal-setting, work to achieve goals
Communication: conveying messages effectively, friendship building, multiple forms of expression
Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, making conclusions, strategy
Emotional Development: moving beyond obstacles, persevering
- Genre: Creating
- Pricing structure: Free
For kids who love writing
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