Middle School Writing Challenge--Sponsored by VPR

VPR-YWP Vermont Reads Writing Challenge

Write about Middle School for a VPR commentary!

Young Writers Project and Vermont Public Radio want your best writing for commentaries on the topic of middle school!

This challenge is for all middle school students to write about their experiences in middle school and/or about issues and topics presented in the book, "Wonder," this year's choice for Vermont Reads.

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio is a New York Times best-selling story about the power of kindness, compassion and acceptance and will be read in communities around the state for the annual Vermont Reads program, sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council.


Middle School Students!

  • Write about the middle school experience and/or about issues and topics presented in the book, “Wonder.” (NOTE: You do not have to read the book if you choose to write more generally about middle school.)
  • 500 words maximum
  • Deadline: Monday, May 5
  • See details below on how to submit

A jury will select one or two pieces to be aired as commentaries on VPR in May (date to be announced). Writers will be invited to one of VPR’s studios to record their work.

VPR offers these “radio writing tips:”

  • Focus on one main idea.
  • Keep the language simple. Use declarative sentences and a narrative style—think storytelling.
  • Each script may not exceed three minutes when read aloud - usually that's fewer than 500 words.

Do a trial run before sending! Try podcasting your piece for timing, pacing. See YWP's podcasting tips.

How to submit: Go to youngwritersproject.org, start an account (if you don’t already have one); and create a blog entry. Click on Newspaper Submission, fill out all information boxes and click the prompt “MiddleSchool." You may also email your work to sreid@youngwritersproject.org, and include your name, grade, school and best contact information.

The Humanities Council says this about “Wonder:” “On the inside, fifth-grader Auggie Pullman knows he’s like any other kid. But due to a congenital birth defect, he stands out in ways nobody wants to. Wonder traces Auggie’s journey through his first year in middle school, where he experiences the challenges of being shunned—and the satisfactions of belonging—in a world where differences can both set us apart and bring us together.”