NaNoWriMo Youth Program Celebrates Junior Authors
National Novel Writing Month 2011 (aka NaNoWriMo) kicks off November 1, thrilling would-be and aspiring writers with a 30-day dash to complete a workable first draft of the Great American Novel. (Or at least the first 50,000 words of it.)
If you've got kids who are keen on crafting stories, then you might want to check out the lesser-known but equally fun NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program.
Here's a bit about the project from the official website:
The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.
Think about it: writing a book, mini-book, or even a few short stories this November is a dynamic and engaging way to polish language skills, spelling, and creative writing in your homeschool or afterschool setting. Note that the NaNoWriMoYWP program offers curriculum materials on their website.
Naturally not every child is going to be ready for a full-tilt NaNoWriMoYWP experience in the same way and at the same time as a sibling or friend. Fortunately, the program is adaptable. Younger children may enjoy writing just a few sentences every day through dictation. Older kids may want to add pages to their learning journals or build blogs to showcase their works-in-progress.
Granted, for some folks the idea of 30 days of creative writing can feel intimidating. At least at first. As with any "muscle" in your body, the creative parts of our brains get stronger with frequent, repeated use.
However, if you and your pupil(s) feel short on ideas and need a jump start, then look to strategies like these to help you begin:
• Roll Rory's Story Cubes - We love this box of 9 "story cubes"--dice bearing various images. (Three are pictured above.) Instructions are included but remember there's really no "wrong" way to use them. Families can take turns telling a section of the story in a round robin fashion. Or one person can assemble an impromptu tale after a throw of the cubes. (The dice come in handy at busy restaurants, too, distracting minds from hungry bellies.)Continued on the next page