SAL’s Writers in the Schools (WITS) program connects professional writers with public school classrooms throughout the Puget Sound region to elevate the expressions of all students as they discover and develop their authentic writing and performance voices. Through WITS, students become authors of their own lives.
WITS Writers-in-Residence inspire a vibrant culture around writing for both students and teachers. Through working with professional, published creative writers, students are empowered to tell their own stories and given new tools to do so. By weaving the residencies into the school day, the program reaches students who might never elect to attend an after-school program in creative writing. We believe in bringing a racial equity lens to our work to increase access to the literary arts and opportunities for students throughout the city to be part of a collective conversation, fueled by a shared commitment and love for words.
- Inspire students to engage in the writing process, build writing skills, and increase self-confidence.
- Invigorate the teaching of writing by providing teachers with innovative lessons and literature, fresh techniques, and the time and encouragement to join their students in writing.
- Promote self-expression and build positive learning communities.
- Connect young writers throughout the Puget Sound to the wider literary culture of our region.
How WITS Works
Writers in the Schools works with each school to design a residency that meets that school’s particular learning outcomes, curriculum needs, and schedule. In a typical residency, the WITS Writer-in-Residence teaches three or four classes of students once or twice a week for an entire semester. Providing students with sustained, sequential learning allows them to engage with the full arc of the writing process: brainstorming, pre-writing, drafting, revising, publishing, and performing.
Each WITS Writer-in-Residence designs lesson plans based upon the curriculum, goals, and standards of the classroom teacher. Writers are responsible for preparing and teaching the lessons, commenting on student work, and planning a culminating project such as a reading or publication. Teachers are responsible for assisting the writer with overall planning, providing an understanding of the school’s culture, and managing the classroom. They are also invited and encouraged to participate fully in, and learn from, the lessons.
We are committed to designing our creative teaching within larger learning benchmarks such as the Essential Academic Learning Requirements, Grade Level Expectations, the Writers’ Workshop, and state assessments, such as the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL).