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Write On Sports Teaches Students To Love Sports Writing

by Chip Gianni Jr. | Posted on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Many writers and teachers understand that writing becomes enjoyable if you are writing about something you love. This lead to Write On Sports, a program that teaches its students to do just that.

Write on Sports was organized in 2005 by Byron Yake, former sportswriter with the Associated Press in Pittsburgh, PA who later became a sports editor of the Associated Press in New York, NY. In its nine years, the program has grown from its start at the Yogi Berra Museum, located on the campus of Montclair State University, to gaining some national presence. There are now five more camps located in Clifton, Roselle Park, Hawthorne, two in Newark, St. Benedict’s Prep and Rutgers. There is also a camp located in Goshen, IN and one in Central Falls, RI.

Write on Sports holds summer camps and after school programs throughout the year. The camps usually have between 24 and 30 students with a student to teacher ratio of about 4:1. Certified teachers are hired from the local school districts as well as pre-service teachers working on their degrees. The camps usually consist of about a dozen students and the teachers generally come from the host school.

The program is geared primarily towards middle school students, particularly in the sixth or seventh grade, who show promise and can benefit from the program. Students are invited to return for a second or third year if they would be interested in building on what they learned. The program is made to be fun and seeks to inspire and encourage students to become more confident writers. Write on Sports encourages critical thinking and students are expected to revise their stories multiple times in order to improve their work.

Over the course of the program, students are given three projects to complete. The first project consists of being given the opportunity to be just like a reporter and interview former athletes and journalists that are brought in.

One of the camp’s teachers, Chris Drew, a middle school teacher in Hawthorne, said that the teachers help the students prep with the background information and then have them write an article into their blogs. Drew also mentioned that the kids seemed to enjoy writing their blogs and having the opportunity to read and comment on the other students’ blogs.

The main writing project that the students complete is a feature article where they choose a sports aspect, do research on it and find a unique angle to write about. The teachers assist them with introductions, their use of quotes, and any other writing techniques that may be necessary. The final project for the students is to complete a video. They are asked to choose an aspect of sports and are then taught how to craft the video with an opening, a closing, b-roll, and voice overs.

This past summer was the busiest season for Write on Sports, as they hosted seven camps in three states. More than 150 students participated in the summer activities. Two of the New Jersey camps got together to attend a New Jersey Jackals game on July 30. The Jackals were gracious enough to host the campers and allow them to conduct pregame interviews with the team.

The Write on Sports 2014 Gala: Celebrating Literacy Champions will be held in the Metropolitan Room of the Newark Club, 1085 Raymond Boulevard, 22nd floor Newark, NJ on September 18th at 6:30 pm. This year’s honorees are New York Giants Cornerback, Prince Amukamara, Star Ledger sports columnist, Steve Politi and Write on Sports Board of Trustee Member, Steve Beck.

Write on Sports is a non-profit organization receiving its funding from individuals, corporations and foundations. It is also tuition free. For more information about the program check out their website at www.writeonsports.org.

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