- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) - An English teacher at Norfolk Catholic High School is helping his senior students’ writing skills by having them write a novel in a month.

The Norfolk Daily News (https://bit.ly/1lefSxr ) reports teacher Josh Clark has his students participate in National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November, to bolster their writing skills before they head off to college.

Clark says every student in his class who has participated in the youth version of the writing exercise, which has a goal of 30,000 words, has completed the assignment. The writing exercise for adults has a 50,000-word-count goal for the end of November.

Students are allowed to choose the topics of their novel and flex their creative skills.

“The kids, going into it, they see it as this mountain they can’t climb,” Clark said.

Clark says his students are no longer intimidated by long writing assignments after completing their novels, even if they struggled to complete their novel.

“They see these eight-page, 10-page college papers written academically, they’re not as difficult as they would have been. After this assignment, the writing is easier for them,” Clark said.

According to Clark, reading and writing ACT scores at Norfolk High have gone up since the school started participating in the national program three years ago.

One of Clark’s students, Jared Marsden, said he found it challenging to write the required 1,200 words per day, but thinks the assignment has been beneficial.

“I think since it’s our own story and we’re creating it that it makes us better writers,” Marsden said.

According to the National Novel Writing Month’s official website, more than 300,000 adults and nearly 90,000 young writers and educators participate in the program in 2014.

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Information from: Norfolk Daily News, https://www.norfolkdailynews.com

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