What is the JustWrite Program

The JustWrite program is unique as it is multi-tiered.  At its base, it is an educational program that assists schools within the platform of the written word.  JustWrite directly supports the state Learning Standards particularly in writing” narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.” Instructional videos, mentor texts, and classroom resources are available to the teachers involved in this program.  These resources encourage students to focus on plot development, character, dialogue, theme, genre, and more, all while learning how to use precise words and sensory language to convey vivid events.  In addition to this, there is an opportunity for state-wide networking and professional development.  

 

The JustWrite mission also looks to empower the often overlooked and underappreciated voices of teen high school students and aid them, through practice and experimentation, to tell their creative stories, thrive, and be heard.  This adds the second tier to the program and is done through a multi-genre creative interpretation and written expression competition; students compose narratives and compete against other teen writers across the state at both the Regional and State level.

 

This competition celebrates all writers, but prizes are awarded to top writers and teams.  There is also a celebration of poetry and the inner poet.  By the end of the tournament season, our program recognizes the top student writers across the state and we honor the power their words have. Students have their work published in the JustWrite Ohio yearly anthology, “Collection of Voices” and this anthology showcases the creative outpourings of the students who compete.   


Finally, the third tier of the JustWrite program is a commitment to literacy.   JustWrite recognizes that in order to be a good writer, one needs to be a reader.  By offering students and their coaches the opportunities to engage with published authors through workshops, online virtual meetups, and festivals, students get an inside look at the life and experiences of published authors.  In Ohio, the JustWrite commitment goes beyond just those involved in the organization, as they are partnered with the Northwest Ohio Teen Book Festival to bring this experience to teens throughout the community. 

The JustWrite Competition

JustWrite is unique in that, while it is an interscholastic competition for students, the approach to the competition sets it above.  Instead of just offering students a generic prompt, and allowing them to write on it, this competition takes it to the next level.

The Who:

JustWrite, Incis a supporter of all teen writers. 

The program is open to all public, private, parochial, charter, and homeschool cohorts.  

The Basics:

Schools enter a DIVISION 1 (9th and 10th grade) and/or a DIVISION 2 (11th and 12th grade) team.  

Each division consists of competing six writers.

(Cost-$250 to enter one division, $400 to enter both divisions)

During In-Person Seasons:

Each team is required to provide one judge per division  entered in the REGIONAL competition.  Each team is required to provide one judge, per division-per every three writers, entered in the STATE competition. This is because judges collaborate in pairs to score written pieces.

During competitions, students are given a genre specific prompt.  These genres may include: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Classic Horror/Gothic, Fantasy, and Narrative Nonfiction.

Specifics for  Competition:

Students have 45 minutes per round, competing in a total of three rounds.  

All students must write to incorporate the genre specific prompt.

 

Judges are assigned groups of writers, and read and rank their stories according to a rubric.  This rubric addresses not only aspects of creative writing, but also technical aspects of composition as well.  No writer can be given the same score on the rubric, as any other writers in their round group, and this rubric score will determine round winners.  Rank is only used to break ties between students when determining awards.

In addition to this, competing writers are asked to bring one poem-based on a pre-determined prompt- with them to competition.  These poems are read by special laureates and three poems from each division.  As of the 20-21 season, these top poets will compose a second poem to be judged at the State Competition.  One poet will emerge the winner of the Excellence in Poetry Award. This is to honor the power of poetry.  

To qualify to win Regional Awards:

The top 15 writers in each division will be recognized at the Regional level.

In addition to this, teams will be awarded points for overall team points.  First, second, and third place division trophies will be given to schools. There will also be one school named the tournament champion--this is a combined total of all points, from both divisions.  

To qualify to win State Awards:

The top 15 writers in each division will be recognized at the State level.

Poets, selected by the laureates at the Regional tournaments, will compete with a new prompt, and one will be chosen for the Excellence in Poetry Award.  The winner of this award will be chosen by an expert in the field.  

Three writers from each division will be chosen for a Director's Choice Award.  These six winners will be chosen from all the stories that were first in round, from the Regional competitions.   

One student will receive the Nikki Delamotte Award for Excellence in Narrative Writing.  This award is given to one student writers whose story from the Regional Tournament is a stand out piece and highlights overall excellence.  This award is chosen by the JustWrite Board of Directors.

In addition to this, teams will be awarded points for overall team points.  First, second, and third place division trophies will be given to schools. There will also be one school named the State Tournament Grand Champion--this is a combined total of all points, from both divisions.  

Commitment to Literacy

In Ohio, the JustWrite commitment goes beyond just those involved in the organization, as they are partnered with the Northwest Ohio Teen Book Festival to bring this experience to teens throughout the community. 

For more information on the Northwest Ohio Teen Book Festival, Click HERE

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