Gate City Writes (GCW)

Support, Education, & Community

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Gate City Writes (GCW) is a collaborative that provides support, education, and community to young writers and writing teachers.

Every summer, Gate City Writes hosts a Young Writers’ Camp for kids in grades K-12. During the general session, campers write about a topic of their choice in whatever genre they choose. In the advanced sessions, campers attend workshops taught by local authors that help them develop writing skills in a variety of genres, such as spoken word, fiction, creative nonfiction, and podcasting.

Gate City Writes also facilitates a workshop for writing teachers in which educators learn about writing instruction, try out instructional practices with campers, and write their own occasional papers.

In addition, Gate City Writes hosts a Community Voices workshop for recent immigrants and refugees and in the Greensboro area. Like the young writers’ camp, campers write about a topic of their choice in whatever genre they choose, while also receiving support with learning a new language and culture. 


Gate City Writes facilitates opportunities for teachers to write and teach writing alongside K-12 students in the form of professional development. In addition, GCW supports young writers (grades 3-12) as they draft and publish a text using digital media during a summer camp. The goal of this group is to connect research in writing education to classroom practice by engaging K-12 educators and students with university faculty in a collaborative writing community.


  • Gate City Writes believes in opening opportunities for experiential learning related to writing and teaching writing.
    • In a podcast about creativity, the poet Mark Nepo says that many writers get so hung up on preparing to “be” a writer that they forget to write. To elaborate, he says, “We [children] are being told to become a noun, and the vitality of life is in staying a verb.” Thus, participants in Gate City Writes focus on the action of writing and teaching writing, rather than on the preparation of those actions. We draw from educator John Dewey, known for his work in experiential learning, who argued for learning through experience and “reflection on doing” to drive Gate City Writes.
  • Gate City Writes believes in exploring how digital and social media can be used as a tool for writing and teaching writing.
    • Like educators involved in the Connected Learning Movement, we believe it is important to tap “the tools of the time” in order to improve learning and instruction. Specifically, we think about how students and teachers can compose and publish various forms of texts for success in the future and how teachers can facilitate that process in the classroom.
  • Gate City Writes believes in fostering the creative entitlement of K-12 students and educators.
    • By creative entitlement we draw from the author Elizabeth Gilbert and poet David Whyte to mean taking creative risks that push people “out of the suffocating insulation of personal safety, and into the frontiers of the beautiful and the unexpected.” To take such risks, students and teachers must believe they “have a voice and vision of [their] own” for their writing and teaching.


This work makes an impact by creating a structured space for pre-service and in-service teachers to learn and enact necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to the teaching writing with their school communities. In addition, research done with the young writers and teachers enhances understandings about how to better foster successful writing practices in the 21 st century. Thus, the practice and research mentioned contributes to the vibrancy of the local educational and writing community.