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Young Authors Program

Overview

About the Program

The Steinbeck Young Authors Program (SYA) encourages students to read, discuss, and enhance their writing skills through Steinbeck’s The Red Pony and The Pearl

The SYA program consists of three stages that take place throughout the school year. 

The first stage is the classroom component. This is when teachers decide to participate in the SYA program and commit to doing it with their students that year. Teachers choose which book that they would like to teach and then fill out an online registration form. Shortly after it is submitted, they will have access to the free curriculum guide for the book of their choosing. Then, on their own time and schedule, the teachers teach either The Red Pony or The Pearl, using the SYA curriculum guide to instruct the books in class.

The second stage of the Steinbeck Young Authors Program is The Day of Writing. This is an event where students are paired with a volunteer from the community, who we call a Writing Coach. He or she helps their student write a well-organized, thoughtful essay in response to a writing prompt about whichever Steinbeck book the child was taught that year.  The coach can help in so many ways! They may edit, proofread, ask thought provoking or comprehension questions to stimulate thought, cheer, encourage, motivate, praise… or anything else to build confidence and ensure that the student ends up with a solid, well-organized essay that addresses what the writing prompt is asking.   When the Coach and Student have completed the essay, they submit it to one of three categories: ESL Writer, Emerging Writers, and Proficient Writers.

Students that attend the in-person Day of Writing are also able to participate in hands-on experiences while at the Steinbeck Center. This day demonstrates to students that writing is a skill, just like any other one. It must be practiced regularly in order to improve, and it is needed in a multitude of areas once they grow up. The volunteer writing coaches without fail leave The Day of Writing having truly had a great time working with their student. They feel rewarded in the knowledge that they helped a child in a skill that is crucial for them to be thriving adults. 

Over the following weeks, the submitted essays are judged by a panel of expert writers. There is a winner in each category.  In May, we reconvene to attend the awards ceremony where the winners are announced.  All of the essays submitted by the students who attended The Day of Writing are published, along with a photo of the student and the Writing Coach, in the Steinbeck Young Authors Anthology. The entire program is a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

Michelle Holcomb can help with curriculum or any issues that might come up. 

Mholcomb@@Steinbeck.org

(cell) 831-917-5953

Michelle

Get Involved

Teachers

Join us and learn all the ins-and-outs of the Award-winning Steinbeck Young Authors program. We’ve worked with more than 60 000 students for over 17 years supporting teachers to develop reading and writing skills through John Steinbeck’s Novels. We will talk about our curriculum guides based on The Pearl and The Red Pony.

We will also share details on our new features such as, our online introductory talks for students and our Virtual Day of Writing for those that are unable to make it to the Steinbeck Center. Check back here or your inbox for upcoming sessions. If you email SYA@Steinbeck.org ,we will schedule one for specifically for you and your colleagues.

Coaches

Please consider volunteering as a Writing Coach for the Steinbeck Young Authors Day(s) of Writing. We are hosting the Day(s) of Writing both at the Steinbeck Center and virtually. You may choose to be part of one, two, or all three days.

You are only asked to devote three hours of your day working with a student(s) from different schools and backgrounds. This experience will impact the student for a lifetime.

Day of Writing

After completing the curriculum, teachers nominate student finalists for the Day of Writing. During this day, volunteer writing coaches amass to encourage, inspire, and guide students in the writing of their final essays. The insightful and unique student essays, which are published in The Steinbeck Young Authors Anthology, remind us that there are never too many ways to hear a story, feel connected to a character, or grow from life lessons in literature.

Step 1: Arrive at the National Steinbeck Center or Sign into the Virtual Day of Writing,
where you will be paired up with your mentee.

Step 2: Meet one-on-one with your assigned student in person or in a virtual breakout
room: where you discuss the student’s draft essay, you may enjoy lunch together and
pose for a picture (screenshot), which will appear in the Steinbeck Young Authors
Anthology.

Step 3: Complete an evaluation form that will help with the Steinbeck Young Authors Program’s
ongoing development, and you’re done!

Your support is greatly appreciated!

Virtual Learning

This year, we are bringing the Steinbeck Young Authors program virtually to more schools and learning institutions not only locally but nationally and internationally thereby keeping Steinbeck’s words alive today to inspire future generations of readers and writers.

EMAIL SYA@STEINBECK.ORG FOR RESOURCES AND MORE INFORMATION

Sponsors and Partners

Special thanks to our sponsors for their generous support

Teachers

Teacher Resources

For access to our FREE Young Author Resources either Login to your account or Register for your account below. 

Steinbeck Young Authors Info Session for Educators

Join us and learn all the ins-and-outs of the Award-winning Steinbeck Young Authors program. We’ve worked with more than 60 000 students for over 17 years supporting teachers to develop reading and writing skills through John Steinbeck’s Novels. In subsequent Teacher Training Sessions, we will discuss our curriculum guides based on The Pearl and The Red Pony and make sure that each teacher is well equipped and confident in teaching either (or both) of these novellas to their students. We will also share details on our new features such as our Online Introductory Talks for students and our Virtual Day of Writing for those that are unable to make it to the Steinbeck Center to participate in this fantastic event.  Check back here or your inbox for upcoming sessions. If you email SYA@Steinbeck.org, we will schedule one specifically for you and your colleagues.

Coaches

Coaching Resources

For access to our FREE Young Author Resources either Login to your account or Register for your account below. 

Role and Responsibilities of the Writing Coach

The primary purpose of the writing coach is to provide positive and effective feedback to the student that they have been assigned to work with. This feedback assists the student in editing and improving his/her essay in accordance with the writing rubric. One of the secondary purposes is to impress upon the student the importance and practical use of good writing skills.

As a volunteer writing coach, your responsibilities are as follows: 

  1. Participate in the online (zoom) Writing Coach Orientation
  2. Attend the Writing Coach Orientation on the Day of Writing that you have volunteered to help. You are welcome to volunteer as a Writing coach for any or all Day(s) of Writing
  3. After the Writing Coach Orientation, meet your student, have lunch with them, and take a photo (or screenshot) which will appear in the Steinbeck Young Authors Anthology. You will meet to discuss his/her essay draft and potential revisions. During this meeting, you will provide positive and effective feedback to a student on his/her writing.
  4. Following your student meeting, we ask that you complete an evaluation form that provides feedback about the program.

 

In celebration of the student finalists, an Awards Ceremony will be held in May at the National Steinbeck Center.  You are invited and encouraged to attend.

Parents

Parent Information

Dear Steinbeck Young Author Parents or Guardians,

The National Steinbeck Center thanks you warmly for your support of the Steinbeck Young Authors program. As you may know, your student has been studying John Steinbeck’s, The Red Pony in their middle school Language Arts or English class. Your student’s teacher registered Steinbeck Young Authors program in order to explore the tools and lessons in a curriculum created by the National Steinbeck Center. Both teachers and students have been working to prepare students for the Day of Writing, which will be held one day in March, either virtually or at the National Steinbeck Center, One Main Street, Salinas, CA.

Parents and Caregivers play a critical role in the success of the Award-winning Steinbeck Young Authors (SYA) program. They can support the students outside of school through a variety of methods. For example, parents and guardians can engage in discussions about the book and the classroom activities, or even take them on outings to provide an opportunity for the kids to learn more about John Steinbeck and his early life growing up in California’s Central Coast.

The Steinbeck Young Authors (SYA) Program motivates student writers and improves the writing skills of students using a multi-level study of a single work by John Steinbeck, The Red Pony. This program:  

  • Introduces students to the work of a Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck, a Salinas native.
  • Demonstrates the importance of place-based fiction. Students love a story set in the area they know well.
  • Shows that reading and writing are richly rewarding experiences.
  • Meets the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and ELD.
  • Emphasizes the importance of strong writing skills throughout school and life.
  • Connects students on the Day of Writing with community leaders and university students who value the written word.
  • Recognizes improved writing skills among non-native English language students as well as proficient writers.
  • Promotes a strong vocabulary and close reading skills for all students.

Students who are nominated to attend the Day of Writing have a special responsibility. They must arrive at the Day of Writing on time, prepared, and ready to write.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Michelle Holcomb, mholcomb@steinbeck.org.

Thank you so much for your efforts and support of the students, teachers, and coaches who work to make this program a success

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