Eligibility:
Eighth-grade students in the current academic school year are eligible to be nominated by a school committee or department. It is recommended nominees be decided upon by several teachers. Students MAY NOT self-nominate. Nominees must demonstrate evidence of effective writing.

Schools in the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands, and American Schools Abroad are eligible to nominate students. Nominating schools must be US accredited.

The number of nominees allowed from each school is determined by the school’s average eighth-grade daily enrollment.

Use the following guide:

  • Under 100 1 nominee
  • 100–199 2 nominees
  • 200–299 3 nominees
  • 300–399 4 nominees
  • 400–499 5 nominees
  • 500 or more 6 nominees

 

Award Specifics:
Nominated students must submit two writings (best and themed), but as one PDF.

  1. Best Writing – one sample which the student considers her or his best work. The best writing may be in any genre or combination of genres (poetry, narrative, argument, expository). An excerpt from a larger piece of writing by the student is acceptable with a paragraph explaining the piece from which the excerpt was taken. Maximum length for the best writing is six (6) pages. The student’s name and “Best” must appear in the upper left-hand corner of each page. Please have this sample first on the PDF.
  2. Themed Writing – must be written based on the topic developed by the Promising Young Writers Advisory Committee. Maximum length for the theme writing is four (4) pages. The student’s name and “Themed” must appear on the upper left hand corner of each page. Please have this writing second on the PDF.

 

General Directions for Best and Themed Writing:

  • One teacher completes one entry form per student and uploads the student’s “Best” and “Themed” writings as one PDF document.  Please remember that your Themed entry should be no longer than four pages and your Best entry no longer than 6 pages; they must be combined into one PDF. NOTE: Reviewers prefer students to use more of their allotted space to get a better sense of writing ability. (i.e., four pages is usually better than two pages)
  • The student’s name and “Best” or “Themed” must appear in the upper left-hand corner of each page. This is very important so pieces can be judged accurately!
  • The page number must appear in the upper right-hand corner of each page.
  • The school’s name must not appear on the paper or within the body of writing.
  • Use legible type – no smaller than 11 or 12 point.
  • Double space with one inch margins on all sides. This does not apply to poetry.
  • Research papers, term papers, and novels will not be accepted.
  • Late entries cannot be accepted.
  • The Themed piece should be written from the students’ personal voice and perspective. Take care to not make it sound like a school assignment!

 

Judging:
Teams of teachers across the nation will judge entries using a secure judging site. Entries with top scores will be selected as superior. Writings are judged holistically on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

If you are interested in signing up to judge, please click here.

Below are the guidelines by which your writing will be evaluated by the NCTE judges. Keep these guidelines in mind as you draft and revise:

  • Effectiveness of each piece for its intended audience. The comprehensive question is whether the writer exhibits power to inform and/or move an audience through control of language. Fuzziness should not be mistaken for profundity, nor mechanical sloppiness for originality. Although editorial correctness is a virtue, meaningful variations should be allowed and the absence of mechanical error should not be overvalued. As a rule, flawed brilliance is to be preferred over correct dullness. But be sure your piece is well edited!
  • Writing samples, whatever their type, reveal high achievement in writing for a student at this grade level.
  • For the Themed Writing, judges have the opportunity to evaluate writing done on the same topic. This provides a point of comparison not only between the individual student’s two submissions but also across all the writings being evaluated. The student’s individual expression is highly valued and cliches should be avoided.
  • The two writing samples will each be scored in three areas: Expression of Ideas, Language Use, and Unique Perspective and Voice.

Awards

Results are announced in May. Students judged for superior writing are awarded a Certificate of Recognition which is provided to the nominating teacher to present to the student. In addition, their name and school’s name appear on the NCTE website. All nominated students receive a Certificate of Participation which is provided to the nominating teacher to present to the student.

Recipients of the Certificate of Recognition are listed by state below.

 

For additional information contact pyw@ncte.org.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR RECIPIENTS!

 

 

2020 Award Recipients

This year, 131 students were nominated. Of that number, 52 received Certificates of Recognition and 79 received Certificates of Participation. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No winners

American Schools Abroad

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona*

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia*

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana*

Iowa*

Kansas*

Kentucky*

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland*

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri*

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon*

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina*

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas*

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington State*

West Virginia*

Wisconsin*

Wyoming

2019 Award Recipients

This year, 157 students were nominated. Of that number, 77 received Certificates of Recognition and 80 received Certificates of Participation. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

American Schools Abroad*

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona*

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida*

Georgia*

Hawaii*

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa*

Kansas*

Kentucky*

Louisiana*

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina*

South Dakota*

Tennessee*

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington State*

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*

2018 Award Recipients

This year, 130 students were nominated. Of that number, 45 received Certificates of Recognition and 85 received Certificates of Participation. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No Winners

American Schools Abroad*

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia*

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana*

Iowa*

Kansas*

Kentucky*

Louisiana*

Maine

Maryland*

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri*

Montana*

Nebraska*

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina*

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas*

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington State

West Virginia*

Wisconsin*

Wyoming*

2017 Award Recipients

This year, 163 students were nominated. Of that number, 67 received Certificates of Recognition and 96 received Certificates of Participation. Each student submitted two pieces of writing, which were read by national judges. Papers were judged on content, purpose, audience, tone, word choice, organization, development, and style.

*No Winners

American Schools Abroad*

Canada*

Alabama*

Alaska*

Arizona*

Arkansas*

California

Colorado*

Connecticut

Delaware*

District Of Columbia*

Florida

Georgia*

Hawaii

Idaho*

Illinois

Indiana*

Iowa*

Kansas*

Kentucky*

Louisiana*

Maine*

Maryland*

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi*

Missouri*

Montana*

Nebraska

Nevada*

New Hampshire*

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina*

North Dakota*

Ohio

Oklahoma*

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island*

South Carolina*

South Dakota*

Tennessee

Texas

Utah*

Vermont*

Virginia

Washington State

West Virginia*

Wisconsin

Wyoming*