×
Grades 2–12
60+ Minutes
Memoir, Narrative, Persuasive, Poetry
Videos

Hear Me Out with Javier Zamora

by Javier Zamora, 826 Valencia alumni and New York Times bestselling author
Author Javier Zamora was an undocumented immigrant when he was a student. Now, he invites you to raise your voice and write to the next President of the United States.
What Your Students Will Learn

Students will learn how to craft a message for an intended audience — in this case, the next leader of the United States.

Note for educators: We encourage students to write their message to the next President in any language.  All too often, elected leaders overlook the voices of young people. This is especially true when young people speak in a language(s) that isn’t English. We aim to amplify the words and perspectives of all young people, and encourage expression in any language. 

Common Core Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.4
With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
What You Will Do

Prompt from Javier Zamora:

Across the country, young people like you are showing their elected leaders that they do not need to vote to start creating a brighter future. Your voice is powerful today, and now’s your chance to have your voice heard. Imagine you had the opportunity to sit down with the next President of the United States. What would you most want them to hear?

Now, write that message. In your words, share what matters most to you and your community. Your writing can take on any form: a letter, poem, reflection, song, etc. Here are a few ideas to get started: 

  1. Write a letter to the next President of the United States. Introduce yourself: what do you want the next leader of our country to understand about who you are and where you come from? What issues do you believe are most urgent for them to address, and why? What kind of leader does our country need right now? In your letter, share your story and include a call to action. (Recommended for students in grades 5-12)
  2. If you could create a new world, what would it be like? What does it feel like? How do people treat one another? What wouldn’t be a part of your world?  Write a poem that begins with the line or idea “If the world was. . .” and share your vision for a more just world with the next President. (Recommended for students in grades 2-8)
  3. Describe a moment from your life — big or small — that shows the next leader of the country how it feels to be you growing up in the United States right now. Share your experience so that they understand the issue(s) which are most important to you and your community. (Recommended for students in grades 8-12)
  4. Music is often used to inspire generations of young people to vote, to act, and to raise their voice during an election year. Write a song about what would happen if you became president. . . what obstacles would you face, and what barriers would you break down? (Recommended for students in grades 8-12)

Find the prompt in Spanish here or download the PDF — see the attached materials below.

 

About the Author:

Javier Zamora is a Salvadoran poet and activist. Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador in 1990. When he was a year old, his father fled El Salvador due to the US-funded Salvadoran Civil War. His mother followed her husband’s footsteps in 1995 when Javier was about to turn five. Zamora was left at the care of his grandparents who helped raise him until he migrated to the US when he was nine.

In his debut New York Times bestselling memoir, SOLITO (Hogarth, September 2022), Javier retells his nine-week odyssey across Guatemala, Mexico, and eventually through the Sonoran Desert.

Javier is an alumni of 826 Valencia, and is currently an Advisory Board member for the organization.

Materials

See more Videos at this level

Grades 9–10
Videos
Writing & Empathy with Dr. Matthew Bucknor

by 826 National

Memoir
Narrative

Radiologist Matthew Bucknor shares while it's important for students studying STEM fields "not to sleep on the Humanities."

Grades 1–5
Videos
What Do Feelings Sound Like?

by Molly Sprayregen, 826CHI

Poetry

Writer and 826michigan staffer Denise Ervin writes alongside students to show what feelings sound like.

Grades 3–5
Videos
Fill My Shoes

by Kinyel Friday, 826michigan

Narrative

Children's book author and 826michigan staffer, Kinyel Friday, shares a social emotional learning prompt that uses personification to bring emotions to life.

Grades 4–6
Videos
Silly Scenes with Sean Thomason

by 826 National

Media
Narrative

In this lesson, you will create a character and show how a character would respond in a specific situation by writing dialogue, resulting in a silly scene.

Grades 11–12
Videos
If I Were a Poet: Ironic Narratives

by 826 National, featuring Alistar Bedell, Grade 11, CA

Narrative

In this lesson, you will practice analyzing different types of a narrative technique called irony. Then, you will write your own scene that uses irony to develop an imaginary experience or character.

Grades 9–12
Videos
The Art of Revision with Shavon Doyle-Holton

by 826 National

Informational
Narrative

Revision is the process of making substantial changes in your writing. In this lesson, you will use revision strategies to strengthen a current piece of writing you’re working on.

Grades 5–8
Videos
Climactic Cliffhangers with Mac Barnett

by Mac Barnett

Narrative

Mac Barnett, a New York Times-bestselling author of stories for children, illustrates how to end a story...or not.

Grades 6–12
Videos
Writing & Mental Health with Arielle Johnson (AJ)

by 826 National

Memoir

In this lesson, you will learn a strategy for writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly.

Grades 6–8
Videos
Character Choices

by Sarah Richman, 826DC

Narrative

Writer and staffer at 826DC, Sarah Richman, shares an original writing prompt that will help you get aquainted with your new characters.

Grades 4–6
Videos
Superhero-O-Matic with Lisa Brown

by 826 National

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

Author and illustrator Lisa Brown reads "Owl Girl. In this lesson, you will write a superhero story that introduces your character and establishes the context for your reader.

Grades 9–12
Videos
Notice What You Notice with Austin Bunn

by Austin Bunn

Narrative

Fiction writer, playwright, and screenwriter Austin Bunn shares a writing prompt that will get you noticing--and reimagining--the objects you see everyday.

Grades 9–10
Videos
The 5 Speeds of Scene with Sean Prentiss

by Sean Prentiss

Narrative

Essayist, poet, and National Outdoor Book Award winner Sean Prentiss shares 5 techniques to use when writing scenes.

Grades 9–12
Videos
Remix Your Writing

by Robin Reid Drake, 826CHI

Poetry

826CHI Teaching Artist, Robin Reid Drake, shares an original writing prompt that encourages students to borrow lines from their favorite pieces of writing and then remix them into something new.

Grades 9–10
Videos
TV Narrative Study with Tim McKeon

by 826 National

Informational
Media

Television writer and showrunner Tim McKeon shares how you can study your favorite TV show to learn about screenwriting.

Grades 9–12
Videos
Floor Plan

by Amy Dupcak, 826NYC

Memoir
Narrative

Writer and teaching artist with 826NYC, Amy Dupcak, shares a memoir writing prompts that helps students use specific sensory language to describe a place they love.

Grades 4–5
Videos
Pumpkin Pie!!!: Favorite Food Stories

by 826 National, featuring Naomi Ku, Grade 6, 826LA

Poetry

What is the story of your favorite food? In this lesson, you will use descriptive details and sensory words to write a narrative that shares more about your favorite food.

Grade 5
Videos
Rhyming Words

by 826 National, featuring Raiya Chhabra, Grade 5, VA

Poetry

In this lesson, you will generate rhymes to use in a poem.

Grades 6–8
Videos
Why This Story Matters with Soledad O’Brien

by 826 National

Informational
Media

Award-winning documentarian and journalist,Soledad O'Brien, shares about why she loves her job and how she builds credibility out in the field through thorough research.

Grades 9–12
Videos
Writing & LinkedIn with Erin Polgreen

by 826 National

Memoir
Narrative

Senior Business Development Manager Erin Polgreen shares more about the ways she sees LinkedIn users engaging with writing on the platform.

Grades 3–12
Videos
Book Scavenger Hunt Poetry with Amanda Gorman

by Amanda Gorman

Poetry

Presidential Inaugural Poet, activist, and bestselling author Amanda Gorman shares one of her favorite techniques for starting a poem or getting over writers' block.

Grades 11–12
Videos
I Remember… with Natalie Moore

by Natalie Moore

Memoir
Narrative
Poetry

In this lesson, you will use journal entries as inspiration for a dynamic narrative poem.

Grades 3–5
Videos
Guess Who? Animal Stories

by 826 National, featuring Milo Wu, Grade 2, NY

Poetry

In this lesson, you will introduce an animal you know a lot about as the narrator of a story. The narrator will provide descriptive details ask the reader "Guess who?" at the end.

Grades 6–12
Videos
Battling the Page with Johan Bergenas

by 826 National

Informational
Narrative
Persuasive
Poetry

In this lesson, you will build your confidence as a writer by battling the page on a consistent basis.

Grade 7
Videos
Day & Night: Rhyme Schemes

by 826 National, featuring Eloise Combs, Grade 3, Michigan

Poetry

Not all poems have to rhyme, but when they do, they generally use “rhyme scheme.” In this lesson, students will write a poem with a unique sound and rhyme scheme.

Grades 9–10
Videos
Writing & Advocacy with Brenda Quintanilla

by 826 National

Informational

Law student Brenda Quintanilla shares how writing is a vital tool to use when advocating for your community.

Grades 6–8
Videos
How Did You Get There?

by Amanda Dettmann, 826NYC

Narrative

Poet and teaching artist with 826NYC, Amanda Dettmann, shares a simple and fun writing prompt that asks the question, "How Did You Get There?"

Grades 8–10
Videos
1947: Stories as Records

by 826 National, featuring Priyanna Kumar Singhania, Grade 8

Narrative
Poetry

In this lesson, you will write down a story that’s been passed down to you, using precise words and phrases and sensory language, to convey a vivid picture of the event.

Grades 4–8
Videos
Inspiration in the Everyday with Charlotte Yeung

by Charlotte Yeung

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative
Persuasive
Poetry

Midwest Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador, Charlotte Yeung, shares one of her favorite brainstorming strategies for creating a new piece.

Grades 6–12
Videos
Meaning from Shape

by Cristeta Boarini, 826 MSP

Poetry

Journalist and 826 MSP staffer, Cristeta Boarini, shares a poetry prompt that walks students through using shapes to convey meaning.

Grades 6–8
Videos
Pickup Lines Cheesier Than Cheddar with Carter Higgins

by 826 National

Narrative
Poetry

Author Carter Higgins reads "Pickup Lines Cheesier Than Cheddar," a piece written by fifth-grader Uma (826NYC).

Grades 9–10
Videos
Place As a Character with Sean Prentiss

by Sean Prentiss

Narrative

Essayist, poet, and National Outdoor Book Award winner Sean Prentiss shares his favorite way to develop the setting of a story or essay as a fully formed character.

Grades 3–6
Videos
Honey Bee: Lessons in Fables

by 826 National, featuring Isaac Reynolds, Grade 6

Narrative

What’s the moral of the story? In this lesson, students practice identifying and summarizing a moral in a fable written by a sixth grader.

Grades 3–5
Videos
Birds in Flight: I’m Like a Lion

by 826 National, featuring Iman Abdullah, Grade 2, 826NYC

Poetry

Have you ever thought about what you have in common with an animal? In this lesson, students will write a comparison poem that explores these similarities and differences.

Grades 9–10
Videos
Writing for TV with Tim McKeon

by 826 National

Media
Narrative

Television writer and showrunner Tim McKeon shares how he became a scriptwriter and the valuable skills you'll need if you'd like to become one too.

Grades 6–8
Videos
The Egg Dozen Dilemma: What’s the Central Idea?

by 826 National, featuring Kaiden Griggs, Grade 6

Informational
Media

In this lesson, students will identify the main idea and supporting details of an informational text and summarize this idea objectively.

Grades 6–8
Videos
Side Character Stories with Emily Harding

by Emily Harding

Narrative

Author and TV producer, Emily Harding shows side characters some love in this writing prompt.

Grades 9–10
Videos
Writing & Creativity with NaBeela Washington

by 826 National

Narrative

Writers are guided by their personal and artistic values as they work to achieve their goals. But what are those values built on? In this lesson, you will discover that for yourself.

Grade 5
Videos
Sense Memories with Caitlin Horrocks

by 826 National

Narrative

Novelist and short story writer, Caitlin Horrocks, reads "My Full Yard" by Marisol of 826michigan and reflects on the imagery used in the poem.

Grades 6–8
Videos
Story Shapes with Tom Perrotta

by 826 National

Narrative

Author Tom Perrotta reads "Peter, Who Went on the Best Adventure Ever." In this lesson, you will learn about 3 shapes that will help the events of your story unfold naturally.

Grades 9–12
Videos
For Every One

by Jason Reynolds

Memoir
Narrative

Part letter, part long-form poem, "For Every One" offers reflections and courageous words about unraveling and rebuilding one's dreams.

Grades 9–12
Videos
How to Ask Why with Nicole Dungca

by 826 National

Informational
Media

Nicole Dungca, Investigative Reporter at The Washington Post and President of the Asian American Journalists Association, shares strategies for asking key questions.

Grades 4–8
Videos
Interviewing Inanimate Objects with Daniel Handler

by Daniel Handler

Narrative

Author Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, shows there are no limits to imagination with this interviewing activity.

Grades 6–12
Videos
Reflections on Writing from Jason Reynolds

by Jason Reynolds

Memoir
Narrative
Poetry

National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and NYT Bestselling Author, Jason Reynolds, joined 826 students for a conversation on his video project, "For Every One."

Grades 4–5
Videos
Writing to Create Change with Nidhi Hebbar

by 826 National

Persuasive

Misinformation Specialist with Google Nidhi Hebar shares how you can use writing to inspire change and bring people into conversations about the issues you care about.

Grade 8
Videos
Paper Doll: Concrete Poems

by 826 National, featuring Soeun Lee, Grade 8, NJ

Poetry

In this lesson, you will create poems that look completely different from poems you have written before!