National Writing Project

Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future

The National Writing Project and Google Team Up to Publish Young People's Letters to the Next President

For Immediate Release

 

Berkeley, CA, October 29, 2008—The National Writing Project (NWP) has teamed up with Google to capitalize on young people's interest in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.  Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future is an online writing and publishing project that invites students ages 13-18, with the support of their teachers, to use Google Docs to write about the issues they want the next president to address.

"Our hope for this project is that it will create opportunities for teachers to further engage youth in concerns that are central to their future," said Dr. Sharon J. Washington, executive director of NWP. "It is important for students to be civically engaged and acquire the persuasive writing skills necessary for the academic and working worlds." Andrew Chang, marketing manager for Google Docs added, "The upcoming presidential election seemed like a great opportunity for teachers to use Google Docs to teach collaborative writing and engage their students in our democratic process by giving them a platform to voice their opinions."

Over the past several weeks of the presidential campaign, hundreds of U.S. high school and middle school teachers and mentors in 50 states have guided students through the process of writing a persuasive letter or essay to the presidential candidates. Students identify topics that reflect their specific personal, regional, and age-related interests, including the economy, college tuition, health care costs, the Iraq war, and global warming. With the help of Google Docs, a free online writing tool, students publish their work online for their peers, parents, and the public on the Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future website: www.letters2president.org.

"Before this project, I didn't think about political issues," says Sam Hand, a junior at Tupelo High School in Mississippi. Students also report that they enjoy reading the letters from around the country and learning about diverse ideas and opinions.

The National Writing Project is the most significant coordinated effort to improve writing in America. NWP sites, located on nearly 200 university and college campuses, serve more than 135,000 participants annually.  NWP continues to add new sites each year with the goal of placing the writing project within reach of every teacher in America.  Through its professional development model, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit www.nwp.org.

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