National Writing Project

NWP Sites Ready to Celebrate 2010 National Day on Writing

Date: August 6, 2010

Summary: In joining with NCTE and others for the National Day on Writing, NWP, along with its sites, celebrates the Writing Project's mission of promoting writing and the teaching of writing.


On October 20, 2010, the National Writing Project will have a chance to make loud and clear the message that is at the core of its existence: Writing and writing competence are essential to the way we live.

It is on that date that NWP will join the National Council of Teachers of English and other organizations in celebrating the second National Day on Writing . On that day, Americans are asked to recognize themselves as writers, be they poets, bloggers, text messagers, or office email communicators.

National Gallery of Writing

At the core of the National Day on Writing, just as last year, is the National Gallery of Writing, a digital archive of compositions accessible to all through a free, searchable website.

NCTE describes the site as "a living archive of thousands of examples of writing from across the United States." These examples will include—but won't be limited to—blog posts, electronic presentations, documentary clips, poetry readings, short stories, memoirs, and audio and video clips.

Last year some 80 NWP sites actively took part in establishing local galleries to which teacher-consultants, other local teachers, students, parents, and community members contributed writing.

The purpose of writing is to ‘realign the words’ to probe the truth.

A few examples: The Denver Writing Project held a Writing Marathon on the National Day on Writing and posted pieces from this event on its gallery site. The Central California Writing Project asked contributors to its gallery to focus on "writing that reflects the ideas and experiences of residents of the central California region." And the Columbus Area Writing Project encouraged teacher-consultants and other local teachers to submit stories about their teaching.

The Cal State Northridge Writing Project made use of their gallery to showcase the work of students at their Young Writers Camp.

The National Day on Writing has also provided spin-offs for a variety of other writing-based activities by sites. The Upstate Writing Project at Clemson University, South Carolina used the day to set up a central location with activity booths where everyone could enjoy different forms of everyday writing, along with an Open Mic where writers could take center stage (watch the video below).

The Eastern Michigan Writing Project sent "roving reporters" around the Eastern Michigan University campus to interview faculty, students, and staff about their writing processes. The site also set up displays at various locations in its service area so residents could view the writing of students, teachers, and community members (watch the video below).

The NWP Gallery

NWP's gallery last year relied on the 3,000 pieces of writing submitted to the NWP E-Anthology by the approximately 7,000 participants in the Writing Project's recent summer institutes.

A cursory look at the NWP gallery reveals the range of writing inspired by the E-Anthology. For example, teacher-consultant Judy Osborne Beemer describes her essay "No Child Left Behind," an intimate portrait of her student Todd, as "my heart on paper, the essence of my teaching philosophy and opinion about what the phrase `No Child Left Behind' should really mean."

By contrast there's the useful but less ruminative piece by teacher-consultant Anerie Davis titled "Ill Fated Baking Incidents." Davis says of her piece, "I think people will feel empowered by my mistakes and feel [more] confident in the kitchen themselves."

Writing then has purposes ranging from the exalted to the mundane. As Fran Clagget, author, poet, and fellow with the first 1974 Bay Area Writing Project summer institute suggests in her poem "Why I Write," which honors the National Day on Writing, the purpose of writing is to "realign the words" to probe the truth.

The goal of the National Day on Writing is to celebrate the many genres and venues and the infinite combinations of language by which this purpose can be achieved. Look on NWP's website for future updates and coverage about what Writing Project sites are doing to celebrate the National Day on Writing.

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