Young Authors Middle School Program

The Steinbeck Young Authors program, which begins its 17th year in the fall of 2019, presents an opportunity for middle school students to explore the pleasures of writing. It encourages students to enhance their skills by reading and responding to John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony or The Pearl .

Steinbeck Young Authors provides teachers with a curriculum designed to enhance students’ writing skills through activities focused on The Red Pony or The Pearl. After completing the curriculum, teachers nominate student finalists for the Day of Writing, which connects students with community professionals acting as writing coaches.

Students spend the day at the National Steinbeck Center working with coaches to write an essay in response to thematic prompts from The Red Pony or The Pearl. Students also participate in fun educational activities throughout the Center. They learn about horse care, storytelling, and John Steinbeck himself through various Day of Writing activities.

Students who participate in the Day of Writing and submit an essay are eligible to receive a monetary award based on merit and writing level. Approximately 4,500 students from twelve public and private middle schools across Monterey County participated in the 2018-2019 Steinbeck Young Authors program. This enthusiastic group of young authors joined over 40,000 local students who participated in the program over the past sixteen years.

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