How Reader/Writer Works

Relationship based—No grades, no judgment, no advice


Writing is a safe way for youth to express and process their thoughts and feelings.  When they share those with a responsive adult audience, the benefits include social and emotional growth as well as increased skills and writing fluency.


Here’s how Reader/Writer works:


1.      Two participating teens, each ‘the Writer,’ are matched with a volunteer adult, ‘the Reader.’

2.      Writers produce an essay during a weekly writing workshop led by Reader/Writer facilitators or by teachers, depending on the site.

3.      Essays are mailed to Readers along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for their return. 

4.      Readers respond by commenting on content and lightly editing per simple guidelines.

5.      Readers send all back to sites for distribution to teens.


For youth to benefit most from Reader/Writer, we seek settings in which teens attend regularly and for at least a six-month period.  For adults to benefit most, we start them off with an hour-long informational session at their work site.


Workshop design and schedules are adapted to the needs of each site and program.  Most writing exchanges follow the academic calendar with summers off.  


Most reader and writer pairings are from one to two years long.