Eligibility:
Eighth-grade students in the current academic school year are eligible to be nominated by a school committee or department. It is recommended nominees be decided upon by several teachers. Nominees must demonstrate evidence of effective writing.

Schools in the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands, and American Schools Abroad are eligible to nominate students. Nominating schools must be US accredited.

The number of nominees allowed from each school is determined by the school’s average eighth-grade daily enrollment.

Use the following guide:

  • Under 100 1 nominee
  • 100–199 2 nominees
  • 200–299 3 nominees
  • 300–399 4 nominees
  • 400–499 5 nominees
  • 500 or more 6 nominees

 

Award Specifics:
Nominated students must submit two writings (best and themed).

  1. Best Writing – one sample which the student considers her or his best work. The best writing may be in any genre or combination of genres (poetry, narrative, argument, expository). An excerpt from a larger piece of writing by the student is acceptable with a paragraph explaining the piece from which the excerpt was taken. Maximum length for the best writing is six (6) pages. The student’s name and “Best” must appear in the upper left-hand corner of each page.
  2. Themed Writing – must be written based on the topic developed by the Promising Young Writers Advisory Committee. Maximum length for the theme writing is four (4) pages. The student’s name and “Themed” must appear on the upper left hand corner of each page.

 

General Directions for Best and Themed Writing:

  • One teacher completes one entry form per student and uploads the student’s papers as only one file. The maximum length for the best writing is six (6) pages; the maximum length for the themed writing is four (4) pages.
  • The student’s name and “Best” or “Themed” must appear in the upper left-hand corner of each page.
  • The page number must appear in the upper right-hand corner of each page.
  • The school’s name must not appear on the paper or within the body of writing.
  • Use legible type – no smaller than 11 or 12 point.
  • Double space with one inch margins on all sides. This does not apply to poetry.
  • Research papers, term papers, and novels will not be accepted.
  • Late entries cannot be accepted.

 

Note to Teachers: 

This year’s theme invites eighth-grade writers to explore ways in which they and their communities (e.g., families, friends, school groups, neighborhoods, religious communities, and ethnic communities) have engaged with the challenges of truth and reconciliation. Moreover, this year’s theme encourages eighth-grade writers to attempt to effect truth and reconciliation through writing. We hope that this year’s theme will support teachers’ efforts to facilitate both eighth-grade writers’ inquiries into their values and their experiments with embodying those values in social interactions with others, particularly those interactions mediated by reading and writing. In this way, this year’s theme promotes literacy education for social action and civic responsibility.

Teachers, we invite you to incorporate the Promising Young Writers’ theme and writing prompt into your curriculum. In fact, we hope that “Truth and Reconciliation” is a topic that you will encourage all of your students to address in reading, writing, and discussion activities, as well as in community-service projects beyond the classroom. As support for your work, please consider the literature and teaching resources presented on the NCTE Web site and at the ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English) workshop to be held in conjunction with the 2017 NCTE convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

Also, if your state has adopted the Common Core State Standards, it may be helpful to note that nominees for the Promising Young Writers program may choose to write their Theme entry in any genre, including nonfiction writing in History/Social Studies, and Science & Technical Subjects.

While we believe that the Promising Young Writers program may be seamlessly interwoven with your existing literacy curriculum, we urge you also to explicitly welcome—for both the Theme entry and the Best Writing entry—any writing that students may have created outside of your class or even your school

 

Judging:
Teams of teachers across the nation will judge entries using a secure judging site. Entries with top scores will be selected as superior. Writings are judged holistically on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

 

Awards

Results are announced in May. Students judged for superior writing are awarded a superior writing certificate and letter which are provided to the nominating teacher to present to the student. In addition, their name and school’s name appear on the NCTE website. All nominated students receive a certificate and letter which are provided to the nominating teacher to present to the student.

2017 Promising Young Writers Theme

 

For additional information contact pyw@ncte.org.

2017 Award Winners

This year, 163 students were nominated. Of that number, 67 received Certificates for Superior Writing and 96 received Certificates of Nomination. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No Winners

American Schools Abroad*

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona*

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia*

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana*

Iowa*

Kansas*

Kentucky*

Louisiana*

Maine*

Maryland*

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri*

Montana*

Nebraska

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina*

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington State

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2016 Award Winners

This year, 159 students were nominated. Of that number, 67 received Certificates for Superior Writing and 92 received Certificates of Nomination. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No Winners

American Schools Abroad*

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona

Arkansas*

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Kansas*

Kentucky*

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland*

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri*

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon*

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina*

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington State*

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2015 Award Winners

This year, 191 students were nominated. Of that number, 45 received Certificates for Superior Writing and 146 received Certificates of Nomination. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No Winners

American Schools Abroad

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona*

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida*

Georgia*

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana*

Iowa*

Kansas*

Kentucky*

Louisiana*

Maine*

Maryland*

Massachusetts

Michigan*

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri*

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas*

Utah*

Vermont

Virginia

Washington State*

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2014 Award Winners

*No Winners

American Schools Abroad*

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona*

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana*

Iowa*

Kansas*

Kentucky*

Louisiana*

Maine*

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan*

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri*

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon*

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington State*

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2013 Award Winners

*No Winners

American Schools Abroad

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona*

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana*

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky*

Louisiana*

Maine*

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan*

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri*

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia*

Washington State*

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2012 Award Winners

*No Winners

American Schools Abroad

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia*

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana*

Iowa*

Kansas*

Kentucky

Louisiana*

Maine

Maryland*

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina*

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont

Virgin Islands*

Virginia

Washington*

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2011 Award Winners

*No Winners

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virgin Islands*

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2010 Award Winners

*No Winners

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virgin Islands*

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming*