National Writing Project

Writing Center Resources

Date: June 6, 2011

Summary: This collection of NWP articles introduces readers interested in the core issues and possibilities of developing student-staffed writing centers.


There's nothing particularly new about the concept of a writing center. For years these facilities have served as emergency rooms where struggling college writers have gone to get their writing "fixed." But that's not the way it is anymore.

For one thing, writing centers are no longer only a post-secondary phenomena. Increasingly they have become a part of school culture in high schools, middle schools, and even some elmentary schools.

Also, they are not now considered primarily places where triage is performed on ailing compositions. Instead, staffed by enthusiastic and well-trained peer tutors, writing centers have become hubs of literacy, spotlighting the importance of quality writing across the curriculum.

Writing Project sites and teacher-consultants have been in the forefront of the writing center movement, with some sites forming partnerships with schools to provide support, training, and personnel to advance this burgeoning movement.

The NWP has collected resources that demonstrate how writing centers are one effective way to advance the teaching of writing in schools.

Writing Centers: More Than Remediation

Jennifer Wells, a teacher-consultant with the Central California Writing Project, writes about the establishment of a writing center at her high school and advises educators on how to create writing centers that are hubs of writing for writers of all levels.

Book Review: A Guide to Creating Student Writing Centers

Richard Kent, director of the University of Maine Writing Project, demonstrates how a writing center can become a catalyst for students—both editors and clients—to develop exciting "professional" relationships; for teachers to enter into conversations and reflection about their writing instruction; and for schools to create a climate for writing improvement.

Book Review: Noise from the Writing Center

Cindy Dean, University of Maine Writing Project teacher-consultant and director of a high school writing center, reflects on Elizabeth Boquet's theory of "writing center noise" and its applicability to high school writing centers.

NWP Radio—Teachers and Writers Together at Student-Staffed Writing Centers

The first of two programs about student-staffed writing centers from schools around the country. Guests—including students—share how their work with writing centers has transformed their own work as writers and the culture of their schools.

NWP Radio—Teachers and Writers Together at Student-Staffed Writing Centers, Part 2

In this second of two episodes on student-staffed writing centers, Writing Project sites that have worked with schools to develop writing centers discuss how writing centers can be at the center of a professional development model for teachers and students alike?

Staffed by enthusiastic and well-trained peer tutors, [writing centers]s have become centers of literacy.

Tucson Teacher-Consultants Help Students "Gear Up" for College

Leaders of the Southern Arizona Writing Project have guided much of the thinking in Tucson's GEAR UP program, which aims to prepare students in the city's high-needs schools for postsecondary education. Secondary school writing centers are at the core of their work.

826 Reinvents the Writing Center

826 centers across the country have created a different notion of what a writing center is, and partnerships between local Writing Project sites and chapters of 826 National are helping students become better writers, and for some, published authors.

Writing Center Helps Students Find Their Voice on Paper

This article describes a partnership between Boston's Charleston High School, the University of Massachusetts, and the Calderwood Foundation to establish a writing center at the high school.

Staffed by paid tutors from the university, the program provides an example of an urban college recognizing its commitment to the community.

Teaching in Two Worlds: Critical Reflection and Teacher Change in the Writing Center

Dale Jacobs reflects on ways his experience working in a college writing center led him to revise his approach to classroom teaching, leading him to a pedagogy that was more student-centered and focused on individuals.

Creating a Student-Staffed Writing Center

Rich Kent, Director of the University of Maine Writing Project, and author of Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers, has collected a wide range of resources, including articles, books, videos, and online resources on writing centers.

Opening the Door to Discourse: Cooperation, Authority, and the Inner-City High School Writing Center

Alaina Feltenberger discusses making high school writing centers a reality within inner-city high schools.

The Concept Of A Writing Center

Writing centers exist in a variety of shapes, sizes, and settings, but they share many of the same approaches. Typically they are part of a writing program or learning center and serve the entire school, both at the secondary and college levels.

The Age of Student-Run Writing Centers

Dave Goldfarb, a teacher-leader of the Northern Virginia Writing Project and a principal in Fairfax County Public Schools, outlines the strategic thinking involved in the development of a student-run writing center at school.

Getting It Off the Ground: The Wildcat Writing Center's Inaugural Year

Alison Hughes, a teacher-consultant of the Northern Virginia Writing Project, shares her experience from starting a writing center at Centreville High School, school year 2010–2011, and offers resources and lessons learned from her experience.

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