The Writer’s Stylus Writing Program

Have you ever been moved by insightful song lyrics, inspired by the subject of an uplifting biography, transported to a fictional setting for several delightful hours, or experienced an “aha” moment triggered by a narrated documentary? We are all beneficiaries of well-written works.

How can we equip students to create such masterpieces?

First, we can help them recognize that thoughts on a page are merely raw material, but raw material with great potential.

Second, we can teach them to recognize and use revision skills to craft that raw material into beautiful and meaningful writing. We call that transformative communication, the heart of the Writer’s Stylus Writing Program.

Revision, a Writer’s Stylus Hallmark

While traditional writing training often advocates a multi-step “writing process,” it frequently lacks specific strategies to help students produce creative, compelling, and convincing writing. Focused attention on revision drives instruction within the Writer’s Stylus program.

When knowing what and how to revise is a major instructional emphasis, other components gain meaning and importance. For example, grammar is no longer an end in itself but a doorway to revision; when a student understands adverbs, she can find them, eliminate them when possible, and then replace them with stronger verbs. This grammar-to-revision approach equips students with the know-how of good writing.

Hands-On, In-Person Instruction

Very few teachers enter the classroom having taken a writing instruction course. Even fewer write regularly. For these reasons, the Writer’s Stylus Program begins with three and one-half days of intensive interaction between teachers and a course instructor. Under the instruction of author and program creator, Kevin D. Washburn, Ed.D., teachers become exposed to rich, well-constructed writing, begin to systematically recognize traits of excellent writing, learn to implement these skills in a personal writing assignment, and experience effective assessment and coaching in a safe environment.


Without exception, teachers leave the three and one-half day Writer’s Stylus Basic Course energized to write, to read more critically, and to offer students what they just experienced.

To sustain this momentum, teachers leave armed with access to tools: A K-12 Scope and Sequence, a Teacher Tablet that includes unit objectives, pattern statements, skill/genre lists, and rubric suggestions for each unit, a Student Portfolio where students use defined spaces for tasks identified during each unit, and, the brand new online Unit Design Tool that enables every teacher to customize, print, email, share, and save customizable Writer’s Stylus Blueprints (instructional design grids) and Rubrics. And, teachers have 24/7 access to this Writer’s Stylus Website for updates, news, and classroom resources.

A Community

Finally, Writer’s Stylus teachers are encouraged to hone their writing skills beyond the three and one-half day course, and are challenged to submit their works for publication consideration. Selected pieces will become part of the Writer’s Stylus Community Blog, a resource for examples of excellent writing. This community will endeavor to present ideas with clarity, power, and authenticity, contributing significant works worthy of attention.

We invite you to review the Writer’s Stylus Basic Course information and consider ways it may serve the vision and mission of your school.

Writer’s Stylus is a Professional Development Program developed and published by Clerestory Learning,
a division of Clerestory Learning/Make Way for Books, LLC