NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

Common Sense Media says

Delightful crash course warmly guides budding novelists.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language

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.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The site is recommended for kids 13 and up. Login requires an email and chosen username. Forums are only viewable by other young writers, teachers, librarians, and NaNoWriMo staff members. The community seems well-regulated and forum moderators work hard to keep the site a safe place for kids to share.

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • storytelling
  • writing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • making conclusions
  • strategy
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • producing new content
  • brainstorming
  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • work to achieve goals
  • goal-setting

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building
  • multiple forms of expression

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Once teens get started, they'll get sucked into the challenge immediately. If they're already strong writers, great, but even non-writers should have fun trying. The site's interface is cute and clean.

Learning Approach

The main focus? Simply letting the words flow. But there are many resources kids can use to improve quality and structure. They're also learning to be "real writers" with a process that can transfer to future projects.

Support

An extensive FAQ and the Resources tab answer most questions kids could have. While the site doesn't host kids' full novels, it does show progress toward the final goal, as well as past years' activity.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • storytelling
  • writing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • making conclusions
  • strategy
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • producing new content
  • brainstorming
  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • work to achieve goals
  • goal-setting

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building
  • multiple forms of expression

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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.

Website details

Genre:Creating
Pricing structure:Free

This review of NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byChrism1 July 12, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Your`ll love it

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