Literacy Education

Southern Maine Writing Project

Who We Are 

The National Writing Project is the premier effort to improve writing in America. It began at the University of California at Berkeley in 1974 and now includes more than 200 sites around the country, including the Southern Maine Writing Project (SMWP) at the University of Southern Maine (USM), in operation since 2006.

Writing Projects across the country believe in a shared leadership model, which aims to promote writing for everyone across age groups and content areas, Kindergarten through University. We support teachers as learners. In fact, the National Writing Project is the only provider of professional development in writing named in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The Writing Project fosters an interdisciplinary community. Our site is a growing, dynamic group, and our ranks include elementary, middle and high school teachers, and a school librarian. Many of us teach English language arts; others teach special education, English as a second language, math, science, foreign language, and social studies. 

We are authors, editors, readers, songwriters, photographers, basketball players, poets, outdoors people, actors, techies, and musicians. The common thread: all of us believe in the importance of writing in our personal and professional lives and in the lives of our students.

Who We Serve

  • Teachers can join our growing network of teacher-consultants by participating in our Invitational Summer and Fall Institute and annual Conference.
  • Administrators will find opportunities to network with expert educators.
  • Students explore and expand their writing skills through our Young Authors Camps.

Events

One of the ways that we serve and connect with teachers, administrators, and students is through our events.

The application process for the Summer and Fall Invitational Summer and Fall Institute 2021 is open. Priority applications are due Friday, April 2. Learn more and submit your application.

Our Institute is open to USM Literacy Education graduate students, practicing teachers, and administrators. 

The Institute is an opportunity to look closely at your own writing and student writing, to talk with colleagues about issues and ideas in the teaching of literacy, to explore writing in a digital age, to work toward becoming teacher-leaders, and to share classroom practices or activities.

K-12 Educators and USM Literacy Education graduate students can earn six (6) course credits through EDU 525 Invitational Summer Writing Institute and EDU 526 Invitational Fall Writing Institute, taken in sequence while attending the Institutes.

Our conference is open to all educators, including practicing teachers, and administrators. USM graduate students are offered a reduced student rate. 

We are currently determining the next conference date and location.

About the Conference

National Writing Project teacher-consultants will share classroom-tested strategies for writing across the curriculum in workshops designed by teachers, for teachers.

Each summer, we welcome young authors in elementary and middle school grades to camp locations in the towns of Yarmouth, Gorham, and Portland. 

Our camps offer an incredible opportunity for young writers across the state of Maine. Dynamic and engaging writing experiences are facilitated by experienced and passionate teachers. Students explore a wide array of genres and develop their skills through playful exploration and guided practice. 

Summer 2021 Camps 

We are happy to announce the return of our writing camps. Our facilitators have planned new and exciting activities. Campers can look forward to some indoor activities, but we will be outdoors as often as possible.

In order to keep the healthy trends going, we will be following all CDC Covid guidelines. 

Thank you to all who signed up for the 2021 Gorham and Yarmouth Young Authors Camps, for the week of June 21-25! Registration is now closed.

Early next spring, be on the lookout for our 2022 Young Authors Camps. We are confident we will be able to run more camps as Covid restrictions continue to lessen.

Learn more about Young Authors Camps


Our Mission

The Southern Maine Writing Project is a community of diverse educators who are passionate about building knowledge and transforming classroom practices across the curriculum to improve writing and learning for all students.

Our Leadership Team

Please contact any of the following site leaders with questions about specific programming: