Gaur encourages students in India to “Dream to Write”

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“A writing platform designed to build skills and spark the drive in young writers.”

Quite the poetic and high reaching statement, not something you would expect from a sophomore in high school. Yet, just one year ago, as a sophomore, Jahanavi Gaur founded Dream To Write as a program to teach creative writing to students in India.

“The biggest challenge was probably getting the program started because the startup is always the most time consuming. After getting it running, the more interesting challenge was convincing the schools of the impact that this kind of program can have on a student,” Gaur said.

Having had experiences working with schools in India, Gaur was convinced she could show them why creative writing matters.

“Each summer since seventh grade, I worked with students in a school in India, and I found that there was little to no focus on creative writing,” Gaur said. “I had taken online writing courses in the past and thought that I could use that experience, as well as my own knowledge, to help them improve their skills.

The program is based on the six traits of writing: idea development, organization, word choice, voice, sentence fluency, and conventions.

“I assign a short story and a series of activities as well as a final prompt at the end,” Gaur said. “The best and most improved prompt from each short story assignment is published to our website. I work with multiple schools and between five and ten students from each school.”

Using a mentor system, Dream To Write is able to reach more students in India. Each mentor is assigned five students and works with them for six to eight months.

“The students have shown a great amount of improvement over the course of the program, and seeing the students’ progress has definitely been the most rewarding part of this whole process,” Gaur said. “There are no words for what it is like to watch your efforts directly benefit another person.”

After finding such great success with this relatively small sample size, Gaur plans to expand the project in order to help even more students.

“I’m also working to include novel studies into the program for the older students in eighth and ninth grade,” Gaur said. “The novel studies would likely include a series of classic novels followed by a major writing assignment.”