Writers in the Schools

Writers in the Schools

For the last 20 years, Get Lit! Programs has been sending published authors into K-12 schools in the Inland Northwest as part of our Writers in Residence program. Historically, Get Lit! also facilitated the Author’s Tour program and Poetry Out Loud. These programs follow best practices set out by the Writers in the Schools Alliance, a national coalition of writers in schools programs. These programs are contingent on grant funding and other sponsorships. For the 2018/2019 school year, we will be running our Writers in Residence program at two Spokane-area schools. 

Writers in Residence

Since 2004, Get Lit!’s Writers-in-Residence Program has helped to inspire over a thousand young writers by placing professional writers in K-12 schools in and around Spokane. Our authors (poets, essayists, and fiction writers) offer writing tools to students and teachers alike. With the goal of enhancing basic literacy skills and generating an enthusiasm about learning, they engage students of all ages and backgrounds in discussions about literature and guide young writers to make discoveries about the human condition, into which the world of literature provides an endless wealth of insight. The program also allows participating classroom teachers to refine their understanding of literary writing and to develop new classroom strategies. Teachers often report that collaborating with a professional writer left them feeling invigorated and that it had enriched their own interest in writing.

WiR teachers work with three classrooms, each for an hour a week. Sessions generally open with a discussion of a specific published work. The discussion is followed by brainstorming, writing, and sharing. In the presence of a professional writer, students often become energized about reading, and they learn to enjoy writing as a craft. As their writing skills expand, so does their self-confidence, and they begin to experiment with a variety of forms and styles. In particular, WiR teachers encourage students to write from their own experience. This approach helps students not only to discover the value of their own stories but to recognize that, as writers, they are contributing to the broader conversation that is literature.  In addition to working with classroom teachers to create projects that respond to the needs of a particular group of students, each WiR teacher produces his or her own set of lesson plans, which address various Washington State standards. The plans are left with teachers to use with future classes and to share with fellow teachers, which helps to extend the impact of the WiR program at each school. Over the years, we have worked with many of the same schools, moving from one grade level to the next to sustain the impact of the program or targeting a certain grade level so that students can look forward to participating in a specific year. Our residency programs traditionally run for 10 weeks, but we also offer a 26 week program as well (contingent on funding for the 2018/2019 school year). See Options/Fees for more information. Through our programs students learn:

      • To write concisely and make use of concrete details
      • To convey passion and emotion in their writing
      • To think logically on the page and write in the active voice
      • To engage in brainstorming as way of generating ideas
      • To write imaginatively and persuasively by using imagery, sensory description, and other rhetorical techniques
      • To identify the structural elements of a poem and the various poetic forms (haiku, sonnet, free verse, etc.)
      • To practice editing and revising
      • To pay attention to word choice and the use of dialogue
      • To be confident about presenting new ideas
      • To appreciate the rhythm of writing and the musicality of words
      • To express original ideas and share personal stories

In our 10-week residency, a WiR teacher again works for an hour every week with each of three classes at your school. WiR teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to design a project that will give students experience with creative writing in a specific genre: poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. At the end of the program, the WiR teacher helps to arrange a celebratory reading at your school for friends, family, and fellow students so that young writers can showcase their work

(options are October to December or January to March)


Program costs are paid in part by schools and in part by sponsors and grants. The following costs are based on a three-hour per week commitment:

  • For a 10-week residency, the cost to the school is $1,000.