“NaNoWriMo was founded in 1999 in a moment of literary inspiration; a 30-day solution to a problem that I had been trying to figure out for decades. Namely: how can we use the power of the internet to make novel-writing easy and fun for everyone?”
– Chris Baty, Founder of NaNoWriMo
Well, it wasn’t quite like that. Actually, the real story goes like this: Chris thought it would be pretty great to write a novel in a month. And it would be even cooler if he could get a bunch of his friends to write novels, too. So they did.
The first year there were 21 people noveling; the second there were 140. By 2004, 42,000 writers had signed up for NaNoWriMo, and in response to the countless teachers who wrote in wanting to bring noveling to the classroom, the Young Writers Program was created.
Back in 2005, the YWP only had a website and a few resources. We’ve evolved a bit since then. In 2007, we began sending out free classroom kits containing progress charts, stickers, and buttons to motivate kids. Then we created lesson plans for teachers and specialized workbooks for elementary, middle, and high school students. In 2009, we worked to bring our free curriculum in line with California’s Language Arts Standards, and developed curricula specifically for our youngest classroom participants in grades K–2. That year, 35,000 young writers and 167,000 adults joined us in this great novel-writing adventure.
Now they have a curriculum as well. So check it out and consider having your students write an novel in November this year!