Skip to main content


A girl learning in front of an easel board

Young Writers Institute

Since 1989, WPWP's Young Writers Institute (YWI) has offered young people exciting and engaging environments to explore writing. Young writers from across the Western Pennsylvania region come together and meet to have the opportunity to develop their skills as writers. Our outstanding staff includes certified classroom teachers, esteemed writers, and advanced writing students from regional colleges and universities.  

Specific activities vary from year to year and from one class to another, including a broad range of genres and experiences geared to generate rich writing. This may include poems, autobiographical sketches, short stories, plays, memoirs, guest authors, walking field trips, and much, much more. 

At the end of the Institute, families are invited to celebrate as students read their best work from their own copy of a published anthology. Our Institute is best suited for students who are eager to attend and who want to write for fun.

Our Young Writers’ Institute sessions will take place June 24-July 3 from 9:30 am until 2:30 pm at the University of Pittsburgh. Registration is open through June 3rd, 2024. 

Register for our 2024 WPWP Young Writers Institute 

Please contact us with any questions or concerns. 

Registration FAQ

What are the registration requirements?
The only requirements for participation are the child's grade level and an interest in writing. Our Institute aims to be inclusive and accessible to all young writers.

How do I register for the Young Writers Institute and what is the deadline
Registration for the Young Writers Institute is open through June 3rd. All registrations must be completed online, and full payment is required at the time of registration to secure a spot in the Institute.

Are scholarships available for the camp?
Yes, we have a limited number of scholarships available in an effort to make the Institute accessible to all interested participants. There is no formal application or extensive questions involved. If you need a scholarship, simply reach out to us directly, and we will do our best to accommodate your request based on the availability of our limited resources.

Why is the Institute only accepting 30 students per age group?
We limit the number of students to 30 per age group to ensure that each participant receives close attention from our staff. This approach helps us focus on developing each young writer's skills not only in writing but also in social and emotional aspects. It allows us to maintain a high quality of engagement and support throughout the Institute.

What if my child needs to leave early or cannot attend certain days?
Registration covers the entire duration of the Institute, and full payment is required regardless of attendance. We understand that there may be circumstances requiring early departure or absence on certain days; however, these situations should be managed at your discretion, keeping in mind that fees cannot be prorated or refunded for missed days.

How will communication be handled?
The registration marks the beginning of communication about the Institute. Once children are admitted, more detailed information about the schedule, activities, and any necessary forms for clearances will be provided. Adults are encouraged to reach out with any additional questions they may have.


When and where will the Young Writers Institute take place?
The Young Writers Institute will run from June 24th to July 3rd, held Monday through Friday each week. The Institute will be primarily located at the University of Pittsburgh, Posvar Hall, 230 South Bouquet Street, meeting on the fifth floor in the School of Education's area.

What are the Institute hours?
Children can be dropped off as early as 9:30 a.m. The Institute starts promptly at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. Pick-up time is between 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., and all children must be picked up by 3:00 p.m. 

Who will be teaching at the Young Writers Institute?
The instructors at the Young Writers Institute are a diverse group of educators and students deeply engaged in the craft of writing and education. Our teachers include certified teachers who have completed the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project's Summer Institute and now serve as fellows for the organization. Additionally, advanced undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Pittsburgh, who are pursuing degrees in writing and teacher education, will also be part of the teaching staff. This mix of experienced teachers and emerging educators ensures a rich, supportive learning environment for all participants.

Will there be off-site activities?
Yes, in addition to our main location, we will utilize various nearby locations such as the Cathedral of Learning's nationality rooms, Carnegie Museum of Art, Phipps Museum, and Carnegie Public Library. All these sites are within walking distance, and we will notify adults in advance of any off-site activities.

What should my child bring to camp?
Children should bring their lunch on most days, except for specific days when lunch is provided by the Institute, which we will communicate in advance. Additionally, any necessary health-related materials should be brought daily. Detailed instructions and forms for these requirements will be shared upon registration.

Will there be an orientation for the Young Writers Institute?
Yes, an orientation for the Young Writers Institute will be held on Sunday, June 23rd, the day before the Institute begins. This event will take place in the early afternoon at Schenley Plaza and will feature various writing engagement activities. It's a wonderful opportunity for the young participants to get excited about the upcoming week and for families to meet the Institute staff and engage with other attendees. This event is designed to provide a fun, inspiring start to the camp and to ensure that everyone feels prepared and enthusiastic about the days ahead.

Is there anything else adults should know?
We expect adults to send lunch with their children, and we will provide forms to better understand and support each child's needs in the absence of their adults. We strive to create a supportive and enriching environment for all participants.

A Day at YWI  

What does a typical day look like at the Young Writers Institute?

9:30 - 10:00 a.m. - Slow Start
The day begins with a slow start period, allowing children to settle in with quiet time, writing, and exploration activities. This is a calm period to prepare for the day's more active sessions.

10:00 a.m. - Energizing Group Activity
After settling in, the Institute shifts to a more dynamic pace with an energizing, playful group activity. This is designed to spark creativity and enthusiasm among the campers.

10:15 a.m. - Breakout into Age Groups
Children will then break out into their respective age groups, facilitating more focused and age-appropriate learning experiences.

10:15 - 11:45 a.m. - Genre-Based Writing Exploration
During this session, campers will explore different writing genres, encouraging them to delve into various styles and expand their writing skills.

11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Lunch
A break for lunch provides the children time to relax, socialize, and recharge for the afternoon activities.

12:30 - 2:00 p.m. - Writing in Action
The afternoon is dedicated to putting writing into action, which may include site visits on the University of Pittsburgh campus, such as a museum, to inspire their writing projects.

2:00 - 2:30 p.m. - Wrap-up and Reflection
The day concludes with a wrap-up session where campers reflect on their writing and share their work from the day in a supportive workshop setting.

2:30 - 3:00 p.m. - Pickup Window
Adults can pick up their children anytime within this half-hour window, ensuring a smooth and flexible end to the camp day. Children who will use public transportation will be released during this time. 

Special Guests
Throughout the eight days of the Institute, there will be opportunities for campers to meet and learn from a guest writer, adding depth to the genre-based exploration with focused, expert guidance.

This schedule outlines a well-rounded day filled with varied activities designed to nurture and inspire young writers, making each day at the Young Writers Institute both productive and exciting.