Youth Voices is at its most basic, a blog, but with rich collaboration available, it becomes a much more powerful platform for students to share the written word.
This platform offers a space for aspiring young writers to publish their work publicly to an audience that is established and ready to read and provide feedback. With a wide array of genres, it offers a hugely diverse selection of stories to span ages, cultures, areas, and more.
There is also some video and gamification in play here to make everything more rich and to allow students to help one another progress as writers and critical thinkers.
Read on to find out all you need to know about Youth Voices.
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What is Youth Voices?
Youth Voices is a powerful production space that allows young writers to have their work published publicly for other young readers and beyond. Student writing is put into the limelight on this site, which is all about giving a voice to the youth that write here.
Youth Voices offers a lot of freedom so it's a place in which teachers and students will need to exercise a level of common sense to make sure what is posted, and read, is appropriate.
Since Youth Voices was created, backed, and run by teachers, it's built in a way that lends itself to the learning environment. A number of resources beyond the publishing side of the site are available and can be used as teaching tools.
This isn't the newest looking website, nor is it the most well-organized. But it does the job of creating a space for students and focuses more on the quality of the content being created than looking the best.
How does Youth Voices work?
Youth Voices is free to use and simply requires students to sign-up for an account, using an email address, to get writing and publishing. Articles can be as long or as short as needed, and generally only require words and a lead image to get published live on the site.
Youth Voices has a comment section allowing for interaction between students. A post-rating option of up to five stars is available, as is a helpful subscribe button so users can follow writers they may particularly like -- ideal for teachers to keep an eye on students also.
You can also search for specific members, which allows students and teachers to find and follow one another so their work can be easily accessed. Since the layout of the site isn't great for pushing certain content to the top, this does help in a space that can otherwise become a little cluttered.
What are the best Youth Voices features?
Youth Voices is pretty simple to use, which is a helpful feature since it means students of all technical abilities can focus on their writing abilities without needing to learn a lot more to get published.
Youth Voices may not have the best layout but there are useful section links such as "Today's Featured Posts" or groups you can join such as "Book Club," "Inklings," and more. You can also search by categories with plenty of options to suit most topics from the environment or politics to science or personal opinions and poetry.
Students can embed links in their articles, allowing for citations from other sources. There is also a useful comment link icon that can be added, so students can offer direct questions with a prompt for the reader to respond.
Usefully, you can see the amount of comments on an article before clicking into it from the homepage. This helps to show articles which could be of debate interest from the outset.
How much does Youth Voices cost?
Youth Voices is free to use and doesn't feature adverts so it's a truly free website and publishing platform.
The selection of teacher and student teaching and learning resources in the Guides section is also free to access for all, even if you've not yet signed up as a member.
Anyone can visit the website and read the stories without signing up or giving any personal information at all.
Youth Voices best tips and tricks
Rather than simply focusing on writing, have students engage with other articles by leaving comments, then bring that to the class to explain their opinions and reasons for leaving a comment on that particular story.
Track an element
Set a literary element from a book, such as the protagonist's struggle for example, and have students write their own work with a similar theme.
Bring to the class
Set regular writing tasks for the class, including poems, stories, and articles, which students can present to the class for real-world comment and debate in the room.