Budding Authors in Milwaukee School’s Third and Fourth Grade Classroom

Budding Authors in Milwaukee School’s Third and Fourth Grade Classroom


With these words the students in my third and fourth grade class lower their pencils and begin to write furiously. It is November 1, 2019, and it is the beginning of Nanowrimo or, as it’s formally called, National Novel Writing Month. Nanowrimo started in 1999 as a way for people to challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. The first time I encountered Nanowrimo was as a sophomore in college. I had always wanted to write a book and the idea intrigued me. That year I only wrote a paragraph but the following year I found myself cheering on November 30th when I realized I had reached my goal of fifty thousand words.

This excitement of writing a book is something I wanted to share with my students when I became a teacher. Thankfully Nanowrimo was one step ahead of me. They support young writers through their young writers program. Teachers can access an abundance of resources to use in the classroom and help students become successful writers. There are lesson plans that come for elementary, middle, and high school, that are updated regularly. There are also free workbooks that teachers can print out for their students to do preplanning.

Every year the students who participate in Nanowrimo astonish me with their creativity. This year a fourth grader created a hero and villain who are brothers. A third grader decided they were going to write about a man who wanted pizza and would do anything to get it. Another girl writes about the pain and heartache that comes with friendship and first loves. There’s a budding author in everyone and Nanowrimo gives you the chance to set them free.

For more information please visit nanowrimo.org, or, if you’re interested in their young writers program visit ywp.nanowrimo.org.

Iris Rivera, Milwaukee North Campus 3rd & 4th grade teacher