Houston, TX – To keep kids sharp this summer, Writers in the Schools (WITS) and the School Literacy and Culture Project at Rice University are hosting the Summer Creative Writing Workshops June 13th – July 1st at six locations – Annunciation Orthodox School, Bellaire High School, Briargrove Elementary, River Oaks Elementary, The Shlenker School, and Travis Elementary. Over 900 students entering grades Pre-K through 12 have enrolled, making this the largest summer camp since its inception in 1990.
The growth suggests a critical need for arts education at a time when school administrators are deleting such programs from their budgets. Parents and teachers are concerned with the paradigm shift and seek out summer activities that bridge the gap between basic writing skills and writing as an art form.
“Our parents tell us they want their kids to excel academically and to have fun while learning, said WITS Executive Director Robin Reagler. “WITS summer workshops provide the best of both those worlds.”
By pairing writers and teachers, both professionals understand more about the developmental process required from a literary education, while keeping the student-teacher ratio low in each class. Children from across the Houston area will write stories, poetry, non-fiction, and plays. Students take a writing tour of a museum or work with professional artists to gain a new perspective for their writing. At the end of the camp, students publish their work in bound anthologies. To celebrate their success, they also do performances and readings for their families and friends during the final week of camp. Houston Press described the workshops as the “best effort to inject culture into Houston” and AOL City’s Best listed it among Houston’s 6 Best Summer Camps for Kids.
The Summer Creative Writing Workshops are supported by The Brown Foundation, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Programs, The Houston Endowment, Kroger, The Menil Collection, National Endowment for the Arts, Rice University’s School Literacy and Culture Project, and Texas Commission on the Arts.
WITS, a local non-profit organization founded in 1983, provides students with year-long creative writing programs in schools, community centers, hospitals, and homeless shelters with the mission to engage students in the pleasure and power of reading and writing. Ranked the number one literary organization in Texas by the Texas Commission on the Arts, WITS professional poets, fiction writers, and playwrights work in year-long programs in over 350 classrooms in order to help students develop their creative and analytical thinking skills.
About the School Literacy Culture Project at Rice University
The Rice University School Literacy and Culture Project (SLC) is dedicated to helping teachers acquire and apply advanced knowledge in several areas related to literacy and schooling. These areas include early literacy, early childhood development, writing, and cultural differences. SLC provides year-long, classroom-based mentored learning for teachers through the widely respected Classroom Storytelling Project. A recent SLC research study and book by SLC founding director Patsy Cooper have both received national honors.
Summer Creative Writing Workshops
Co-sponsored by Writers in the Schools (WITS)
and the School Literacy and Culture Project (SLC) at Rice University’s Center for Education
Dates: June 13 – July 1
Hours: 8:45 am to 11:45 am
Costs: $470 for first child, $420 for siblings
Tanglewood (Briargrove Elementary)
6145 San Felipe, Houston, TX, 77057
Heights (Travis Elementary)
3311 Beauchamp, Houston, TX 77009
Bellaire Primary (The Shlenker School)
5600 N. Braeswood Blvd., Houston, TX 77096
Bellaire Secondary (Bellaire High School)
5100 Maple, Houston, TX 77401
Museum District (Annunciation Orthodox School)
3600 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, TX 77006
River Oaks (River Oaks Elementary School)
2008 Kirby Dr., Houston, TX 77019