Note to Teachers

chalk board

Photo courtesy of Steve Garfield.

Dear Fellow Teachers,

Thanks so much for joining our (new as of September 2010) “Teachers” community at YARN, where we will offer you lesson plans complete with writing assignments, all based on the original YA writing published here at YARN. We hope you will become active members by offering feedback and discussing the material with the other teachers in the community.

At YARN, we believe that the reading and writing of teens matters–that’s why we encourage submissions by teen writers, and that’s why we’re offering lessons to teachers to get teens reading and writing more!  Nothing will inspire their love of literature like seeing it produced in real time, in real life–and by them.  We also believe in the writing process: good old-fashioned brainstorming, drafting, revising, and editing, which is why we build that ethic into our lesson plans.  Of course, we know that teachers have minds of their own, so feel free to tinker with what we offer here and tailor it to suit the needs of your own classes.  We do have to ask that you keep the lessons online, however, and not on paper, as that would require a different set of rights than what we acquire from our writers.

Our lessons are all created with the NTCE National Standards in mind, so you can be assured that what we offer will move your class in the right direction.  On a more personal note, you can rest assured that Shannon would feel comfortable using them in her own California high school English classes, and Colleen and Kerri would even use them in their freshman writing classes at the college level!

YARN will continue to add lessons during the fall, so please come back to check for new material.  After that, we plan on posting several new lessons at the start of each semester (fall, spring, summer).  Lessons will archive just like the rest of the material on YARN, so your (soon-to-be) favorites won’t disappear.

How can you keep up with our posts to you?  Well, since our Facebook and Twitter accounts are followed by so many teens, we don’t want to kill their buzz with notes to their teachers. To be sure you don’t miss out on any exciting material, we suggest you subscribe via email (subscriptions [at] or RSS feed. You might also “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so that you can keep up not only with the “Teachers” area, but with all the other great material we publish at YARN.

Please encourage your students to become regular readers as well, and to submit their own writing!  Students should continue revising and expanding on the writing they produce in response to the suggested prompts; the prompts are meant to get them going on a particular idea, but they aren’t likely to result in writing accomplished enough for publication.  With your encouragement, however, we hope that students will continue working on their writing, and transform assignments into publishable work.

We invite you to share your thoughts about these lessons in the Comments area after each lesson, especially if you’ve tried one in your classroom and want to offer further tips to other teachers.  If you’d like to discuss something with us in a more private arena, you can also email us at editors[at]

With all our best wishes for a great time in your classroom,

Kerri, Shannon, and Colleen

Editor, Co-Editor, and Poetry Editor of YARN

An important disclaimer: We have chosen the material for these lessons with our “teacher” hats on, and while occasionally we’ll note to you that the primary texts are more appropriate for older readers, what we assign here is appropriate for readers 14 and up.  This is NOT true of YARN as a whole, however.  When we choose writing to be published on YARN, we put on our “editor” hats, and as passionate readers and editors of YA literature, we believe in publishing the most well-written, cutting-edge work we can find.  This sometimes means that content on YARN skews to the more mature end of YA.  We suggest you keep this in mind when presenting YARN to your students.

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  1. Thanks for including the photo credit.

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What Is YARN?

It's a brilliant thing to have a place where you can read fresh original short stories by both seasoned YA authors and aspiring teens. YARN is a great tool box for growing up writing. - Cecil Castellucci

Imagine. Envision. Write. Revise. Submit. Read.

YARN is an award-winning literary journal that publishes outstanding original short fiction, poetry, and essays for Young Adult readers, written by the writers you know and love, as well as fresh new voices...including teens.

We also believe in feedback, which is why we encourage readers to post comments on pieces that inspire thought, emotion, laughter...or whatever.

So. What's your YARN?

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