Encouraging Students to Write Grassroots Articles

All instructors in the ISU Writing Program use the GWRJ in their courses, and the archives of the journal are free for instructors teaching writing in other places to use in their course as well.  If you are thinking  about working with students to create articles (whether you are an ISU instructor or are teaching writing somewhere else), here are some ideas, tips and information about that process:

Create A GWRJ Project: The simplest way to encourage authors in the GWRJ is to create a project in which students will write Grassroots articles as their final products. If you choose to teach this project (whether you teach at ISU or not)  the GWRJ editors support you.

  • GWRJ editors can visit your class (even if you don’t teach at ISU — if you are too far away for us to visit physically, we can also do Skype or Zoom sessions).  We can give a short introduction to the journal, or do a workshop to help students generate topics.   We’ll work with you to provide what you need for your class.  You can get in touch with us at grassrootswriting@gmail.com
  • As you and your students are working on article, we can also help by answering specific questions and responding to topic ideas.  We can’t provide feedback for your entire class, but we would be happy correspond with students who need help with a topic or have other questions.

Discuss Publication and Show Students the Website: If you don’t teach a Grassroots article project, you can still take a class period to discuss how students could transfer writing research that they’ve done into a journal article.  Our website provides some “how to” documents and videos that they can watch.

Have Students do “min-grassroots” articles as their Uptake Genre: Some ISU instructors also have students write “Literate Activity” uptake documents. That is,  students write up their learning and practices for completing a writing project in the form of a “Grassroots-style” article. These are usually pretty “drafty” (because the instructor is trying to find out what students learned and what they did with a writing project, rather than focusing on creating finished articles).  But if you do this, you can still encourage students who write interesting pieces to submit to the journal.

Use incentives to your advantage: Some students will be drawn to the novelty of being published as an undergrad; students can look at the published author bios to see articles written by other undergrads for motivation. Students selected for publication can include this accolade on a resume or vita. Students selected for publication in one of the print issues will receive a $50.00 honorarium.

Reminders about Submission Guidelines: 

  • Students (and you!) should send all submissions and inquiries about the journal to grassrootswriting@gmail.com, including student name, instructor name, and article title.
  • Encourage students to submit full articles, not just short reflections or off-genre essays.
  • Make sure students understand that they will be asked to revise—almost every author who submits is asked to revise and resubmit. This does not mean that they have a bad article.
  • Please don’t require all students to submit their articles, but do mention the opportunity to all students and encourage specific students to submit (in person/via email) whose work seems promising or interesting
  • Remember that if a student has a good idea and is motivated to develop an article, one of our editors will be happy to work with him/her in the production of the article.