Writing Practice

"Your class has been the highlight of [my daughter’s] school year. Her confidence and ability in writing has grown tremendously, thanks to your guidance. She told me she thinks she's found her calling in being a writer! I hope you will be continuing to offer your classes in the coming school years, as she will be eager to participate."

Learning from masterful writers—then emulating them.

(Our fall 2021 Poetry Practice will be posted soon! It’ll be held 8 Thursdays 9/9 through 10/28)

LitWits writing classes - group

Location: This class meets online, via Zoom.

Hours: 10-11:30am or 1-2:30pm PST (your choice).  If you have a schedule conflict at any point, your child’s welcome to show up at the other session.

Dates:  September 7 through October 26 (8 Tuesdays)

Ages: 10+ and up. Socially and academically mature 9-year-olds are welcome.  All ages will be learning the same wonderful things, but writing at their own level.  As long as your child can physically write—that is, form letters by hand (or if necessary, keyboard), s/he’ll do just fine. For kids 13+  taking one of our English courses, this analytic/creative class dovetails nicely with the academic, essay-focused writing they’ll do there.

Cost: The cost of $225 per semester (8 sessions) includes writing worksheets that will be emailed ahead of time. There’s a sibling discount of $25 for the second child.

LitWits Workshops is an approved vendor for Ocean Grove, South Sutter, and Sky Mountain Charter Schools.

Cancellation Policy: If you cancel at least 30 days before the first class, we’ll be happy to issue a full refund; within 30 days or later we’ll refund 50%. Unfortunately, we can no longer offer makeups.

LitWits is an approved vendor for Ocean Grove, South Sutter, and Sky Mountain Charter Schools.

Instructors: Becky and Jenny, sisters and LitWits founders. Jenny has a BA in English literature and an MFA in creative nonfiction and poetry writing. She’s been a K-6 teacher and a K-12 language arts tutor, and her scholarship, essays, and poems have appeared in several academic/creative journals. She’s the author of MINE, a creative biography set near her home. Becky is a literature-based homeschool teacher and a journalism major who spent four years as a staff writer for The Register Pajaronian. Becky’s writing a biography about a fascinating Bay Area woman of history.

We’re excited to be teaching this new eight-session writing class!  Every week we’ll be learning from the masters, then doing our best to do what they did, with our own creative twist.  This consistent format will lay down a strong foundation for all kinds of writing. And there’s nothing that your child needs to do to prepare!

Here’s how it works.  Every time we meet, we’ll read a fabulous excerpt by a famous author. Then we’ll break it down and discuss every significant word, phrase, and sentence.  Our conversations will cover all sorts of writing craft and language arts points:

  • tone
  • mood
  • vocabulary definitions
  • nuances of meaning
  • sentence construction and variation
  • specific word choices
  • stage-setting / suspense-building
  • grammar rules / conscious rule-breaking
  • and no doubt more—it all depends on the excerpt!

These are dry-sounding things, we know, but exploring an excerpt to this depth is actually fun. It’s an expedition inside a writer’s mind, a process full of “aha!” moments.  And the treasures to be found include style, substance, and the ability to self-express.  (For kids 13+  taking our English courses, this analytic/creative class dovetails nicely with the academic, essay-focused writing they’ll do there.)

Once we’ve done this appreciative close-reading, we’ll copy the excerpt over.  (We’re big believers in copywork, which physically and mentally develops the connection between well-written words and writing wellHere’s more on that.)

After copying the excerpt, we’ll brainstorm some twists and inversions of that piece. Once we’ve brainstormed as a class, we’ll practice creative revision and editing skills: each student will rewrite his/her own unique version of the piece. Every student’s content will be creative and original, but s/he’ll emulate the style, syntax, mood, and tone of the original.

Those who want to share out loud will have the chance to do so.  It’s so inspiring to hear how someone else re-visioned  a famous author’s work!

There won’t be any homework, just enthusiastic encouragement to continue this practice on their own, even if they just rework a single eye-catching sentence.  So don’t worry about this class being “too much” on top of other writing classes your child might be taking.

Becky and Jenny - LitWits Workshops (2)