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March 2009

Now is the time to organize your group of writers to create your own "hall" or exhibition in the National Gallery of Writing!

Guidelines for organizing and registering a group will be available soon; sign up now to receive more information on the
National Day on Writing.

Share NCTE's new reports on writing with administrators and colleagues:

Writing between the Lines -- and Everywhere Else

The Genteel Unteaching of America's Poor

Writing in the 21st Century

Learn how your high school and college students can enter the
Norman Mailer Writing Awards.

See NCTE's
2009 Legislative Platform.

Literacy Education Advocacy Day & Month

Literacy Education Advocacy Day Is April 23
April Is Literacy Education Advocacy Month

How will the members of your affiliate, committee, or department participate in NCTE's Literacy Education Advocacy Day and Month?

See the Literacy Education Advocacy Calendar and
"Starting a State Advocacy Day"
for ideas.

See the call for resolutions for details on submitting a resolution for consideration during the 2009 NCTE Annual Convention; October 15 is the deadline.

Links for Leaders

Affiliate Awards: deadlines begin April 1

Affiliate Leadership Meeting: July 19-21, 2009 (regions 1, 3, 7, 8)

Assembly, Affiliate, and TYCA Meetings

Calls for Manuscripts

2010 CCCC Convention Proposals: Due May 1

New CEE Website

2009 CEL Conference Proposals: Due May 1

WLU Summer Institute: July 9-12, 2009

NCTE Working Groups: Committees, Task Forces, Commissions

Promoting Involvement through the
National Day on Writing Initiative

When the NCTE Executive Committee decided to embark on a campaign to establish a National Day on Writing (October 20, 2009) and a virtual National Gallery of Writing, we knew a few things about the project:

  • If the project were to make a lasting difference for writers and teachers of writing, it would have to attract mass participation.

  • We had very little money to spend.

  • Most people still perceive writing as hard work, and a school-based skill.

  • Many people feel vulnerable about their writing and are not inclined to share it in a public venue.

  • Acting alone, the National Council had little chance to succeed.

Now that may not sound like a propitious set of circumstances in which to launch a national campaign. But four powerful counter-facts helped influence the Executive Committee to move forward:

  • So let's not act alone; let's reach out to involve as many organizations as possible in building a National Gallery of Writing, and to as many members as possible in creating local galleries and supportive resources for those seeking help with writing.

  • So let's attract mass participation. Let's set a wide open criteria -- any kind of composition that is important to you -- and allow writers to conveniently upload work to a space that can be visited by a wide audience. Further, let's provide easy access to the kinds of useful tools and advice for writers that so many of our members have already created.

  • It's not about money, it's about resources. With just a little bit of technical assistance, we can provide a dignified virtual space -- like a museum gallery or library display -- where thousands of writers will be proud to voluntarily display their work.

  • Writing is hard work, and getting better at writing is a lifelong journey. But it certainly doesn't stop at the classroom door. In fact, we can raise awareness of the amazing diversity of purposes that writing is used for today, lower inhibitions about writing, and showcase what we know and need to learn more about by building this "citizen's gallery" of personal compositions.

Fortified by these arguments, the campaign to establish a National Day on Writing and a National Gallery of Writing got under way. Below I've provided a more detailed status report on what has been accomplished, a timeline of milestones for the initiative, and some ideas to promote participation. But first, since many of you are striving to build membership organizations in these challenging times, let's reflect for a moment on what mass involvement projects like this can mean to *any* membership organization.

  • Non-profit sector research shows that people remain loyal to organizations that share their values, that provide them with an outlet for participation, and that celebrate their accomplishments. Starting a gallery of writing or hosting a community, state, or regional event to highlight literacy accomplishments can be a real loyalty-builder.

  • Building a reputation as a reliable and competent collaborative partner can lead to new opportunities for any non-profit group. That's why reaching out to groups outside the education sector -- service clubs, after school programs, community groups, or unions/civic/religious organizations -- is essential in a time of diminishing resources. This is particularly true when your organization can contribute essential knowledge to help others pursue goals they care about -- like improving literacy practices.

  • Projects like these can be a leadership development gold mine. Let's face it, any organization has only a limited number of key elected roles at one time. But when you take on a scalable project -- one that can find a home in even the smallest of social groups -- you can provide "on the ground" leadership experience to every mentor or team leader who helps you build grassroots participation.

Read More about the Current Status of the
National Day on Writing Initiative and National Gallery of Writing

How You Can Get Involved

There are many ways to contribute to this effort.  Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Submit something you’ve written to the National Gallery.

  2. Start a local gallery site for your affiliate, school, or a community group; volunteer to serve as one of its curators.

  3. Contact your U.S. Congressional representative to ask for support of a resolution to establish October 20, 2009, as the National Day on Writing.

  4. Encourage your students, and where appropriate, their parents to participate in the National Day and to contribute to the National Gallery.

  5. Write to journalists or school board members in your community about the initiative, and about what you know about the teaching of writing.

  6. Reach out to teachers of other subject areas in your school or institution and encourage them to participate in the National Gallery or National Day initiatives.

  7. Host an event that focuses on writing on October 20; celebrate writing by posting samples or encouraging authors to read from their work.

  8. Ask local authorities in your community to recognize October 20 as a Day on Writing.

  9. Read through submissions to the Gallery and help parents and non-educators notice the range and depth of pieces submitted. 

Assembly Approved by the NCTE Executive Committee
Read about NCTE's new special interest group, the Early Childhood Education Assembly.

Deadlines Near for NCTE Executive Committee Awards
2009 Leadershift Initiative:  Encourage an outstanding early career teacher of color to apply now for either the

NCTE Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award
Up to 6 participants will be selected to participate in a three-day summer retreat to help early career teachers (first 5 years of a teaching career) plan and carry out projects to advance literacy education. The application deadline is April 1, 2009.


NCTE Early Career Teacher of Color Award of Distinction
Provides up to 2 early career teachers (first 5 years of their teaching career) a national forum for professional collaboration and development by attending the NCTE Annual Convention (year one) and by presenting an NCTE convention session (year two). The award funds annual convention expenses for both years. The application deadline is May 1, 2009.

Also, submit a nomination for the

Advancement of People of Color Leadership Award
Established in 2007 and first presented in 2008, this special award recognizes an NCTE member of color who has made a significant contribution to NCTE and the development of our professional community. Victor Villanueva, Washington State University, received this award in 2008. Nominations may be made by any member on an individual basis. Nominations should not be submitted on behalf of constituent groups. Award may be given to a deceased person. The a
ward nomination deadline is April 1, 2009.

In addition, don't forget your nomination for the 2009 NCTE Distinguished Service Award:  The
NCTE Distinguished Service Award is given to a person or persons, either volunteer or staff, who have exhibited valuable professional service (within the Council and outside) including scholarly or academic distinction at any level, distinguished use of language, and excellence in teaching. Nominations may be made by any member on an individual basis. Nominations should not be submitted on behalf of constituent groups. Award may be given to a deceased person. The award nomination deadline is April 1, 2009.

Council-Grams, a bimonthly newsletter for NCTE members who are leaders in the Council (committee chairs, executive committee members, editors, affiliate or assembly officers, etc.), is distributed by email by the National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096; 800-369-6283. If you would like NCTE to have a different email address on file for you, please email

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Copyright 2009 National Council of Teachers of English
NCTE...The Professional Home of the English Language Arts Community

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