NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program
By Polly Conway,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Delightful crash course warmly guides budding novelists.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn writing techniques and structure and also get a true taste of the writing life as they work towards meeting their goal: a completed novel. Brainstorming, writing skills, and perseverance converge here. With the 30-day time limit, kids will have to do some time management and also let their imaginations go wild as they don't have any extra time to self-edit or doubt themselves. NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program supports kids through a challenging but super-fun process, keeping them on track without being rigid.
Reaching a word count goal or even just taking steps toward the daunting task of writing a novel will give kids a huge boost of confidence.
All NaNoWriMo forums are moderated, which is fantastic for safe kid use. Kids are asked to refrain from profanity and inappropriate language, even through the NaNoMail system, and the Codes of Conduct clearly outline what is and isn't okay.
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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.
Based on 1 parent review
Risky social media, embedded in a good writing site
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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
- Last updated: February 7, 2020
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