Master Classes for Teens

Hands-on literary analysis and writing skills

Calendar & Registration
The LitWits Master Class on THE PEARL by John Steinbeck

Our Master Classes make great books and writing relevant and fun for teens!  As they’re led through rich discussions and writing practice, our sensory connections to stories and artistic explorations of theme help lessons “stick.”

Writing instruction in fall of 2018 will focus on emulating the author’s style, with careful attention to craft techniques that further the plot, enhance imagery, and show character development and themes.

In spring, writing instruction emphasizes literary analysis and critical writing skills, addressing California standards for English while practicing the writing process: brainstorming, rough drafting, revising, proofreading, and critiquing.

Art projects reflect the literary work’s theme and/or content, with the goal of deepening students’ understanding of story, character and context.

At the end of each class we’ll let you know which A-G and Common Core standards were met for literature analysis, writing, and art skills, for your student’s learning records. For example, click here to find out what we did in our Master Class on The Pearl by John Steinbeck, and the state standards we met.

I was so pleased to see that my son was encouraged and inspired by his first-rate instructors and classmates. It was also lovely to see him possess an unprecedented interest and responsibility for a writing assignment, and I have a vivid memory of being filled with gratitude as we discussed his writing theme together.

I love that my daughter was challenged to think and write – by someone other than me! She got valuable guidance, generated a solid piece of writing and beautiful artwork, and is eager to go back for more.

At right, sensory thematic elements from
Jack London’s The Call of the Wild.

About Master Classes

Each class focuses on one pre-read work that has been approved by Ocean Grove Charter School for high school AG coursework in accordance with UC standards. Master Classes are high-level analytic, written, and artistic explorations of literature that include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Literary structures
  • Scholastic terms
  • Diction and syntax
  • Thematic evidence
  • Characterization techniques
  • Descriptive writing
  • Artistic interpretations of metaphor
  • And much, much more!

This fall, Mrs. C. is away, so Becky and Jenny are teaching Master Classes as a special session of their experiential workshops, 9am-12pm one Thursday a month. Throughout the morning we discuss the book’s authorial and historical context,  review the narrative arc, write a two-page emulation of the author’s style, and enjoy a meaningful artistic exploration of the theme (or other key aspects).

In spring when Mrs. C. returns, Master Classes will be extended from 9am-2pm, with time for more extensive analysis and exploration of craft techniques.

lisa-craddock-litwits-writing-instructorInstructor Lisa Craddock holds BAs in Literature and Theatre, and a Master of Humanities in Film Studies with a concentration in Rhetoric, or “the art of speaking and writing effectively.” Lisa has taught classes in literature, composition, and film for the University of Colorado. Her scholarship, essays, poetry, and plays have appeared in a variety of literary and academic venues.  She considers it a privilege to homeschool her own four children, avid fans of LitWits since its beginning. Lisa has for years led educational events for the homeschool community, helping young readers understand themselves and the world through “living books.”

NOTE: In fall of 2018, Lisa will be away, so Becky and Jenny will teach Master Classes as a special session of their experiential workshops. You can see their credentials here.

Here’s an example of our hands-on approach to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles. As a way of enriching our interactive literary analysis of mood, landscape, the Victorian era, deductive and inductive reasoning, and more, we also learned the Victorian art of silhouettes, placing The Detective Himself against a mood-invoking backdrop that connotes the English moor.

Academic and artistic discussions continue throughout the art portion of every Master Class, making each a layered experience of memorable lessons. Content meets literature, writing, and art standards for A-G/Common Core.


Fees:  In the fall of 2018, Master Classes will be three hours long and cost $70, which includes all supplies.  In spring, classes will be five hours long and cost $95. LitWits Workshops is an approved vendor for Ocean Grove Charter School and Inspire Charter Schools. OG/IC parents, please register online to reserve a seat, then request a purchase order or enrichment certificate from your ES.

Cancellations: If you cancel at least 30 days before the class, you’ll have the choice of a refund or makeup you can use in either semester. (Use promo code MAKEUP to register for the new class, and in the Notes field, please remind us which one was missed.) There are no refunds or makeups within 30 days of the class.


30% off until September 1 with code BTS30