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The Poynter Summer Language Arts Institute

June 10, 2018
Teaching Date
July 17 - 19, 2018
The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, FL


Under the direction of Dr. Roy Peter Clark and a team of language arts specialists, you will learn how to teach – in a way that sticks – the competencies your students will need to meet the new standards.

For the fifth consecutive year, Poynter will conduct this institute in support of Language Arts teachers. Get ready to be treated like professionals. Get ready to be listened to and respected. Get ready to build up your grown-up reading and writing muscles in support of your students.

At Poynter, which produces Pulitzer Prize-winning writers and editors, you will hear some things you might not hear at other training sessions. You will hear that narrative writing – whether the state tests for it or not – is a powerful and crucial component of all other forms of writing. You will learn the limitations of too tight a focus on particular genres of writing and that strength for writers comes with mastery of higher level thinking skills that govern all forms of writing: how to find something worth writing about, how to gather evidence that proves your point, how to have a point!, how to create an architecture for your story or argument, how to overcome procrastination, how to draft and revise with efficiency. The new academic standards in Florida stipulate what students should learn, but not HOW teachers should teach them. If we are not careful, we will once again let the testing protocols lead us by the nose. The teachers who have participated in the Summer Institute during the last four years are experts: They know what students need when it comes to the reading/writing connection. Poynter stands in support of them and their goal: to teach skills and habits – reading, writing, speaking – that will serve them for a lifetime.


DAY ONE: Teachers will work with Dr. Clark and their peers on strengthening their X-ray reading skills. Examples will be drawn from both adult literature and literature written for children. Emphasis will be on the teacher’s ability to identify effective “mentor texts” in every genre, work that students can read not just for content, but also for ways of writing.

DAY TWO: The reading/writing connection will continue to be explored, but this time, teachers will write about and discuss mentor texts of their own choosing. Imagine 100 teachers bringing 100 books to Poynter. We will be able to see them, read them, discuss them, draw writing strategies from them and write about them.

DAY THREE: Together we will build a resource of reading and writing that all the participants can use in their teaching. We will learn from language arts specialists and expert teachers about ways to take what we’ve discovered back to the students we teach every day. We guarantee that teachers will leave armed with a variety of tools, strategies and specific steps all readers can follow in order to become strong x-ray readers.

All the material in this year’s institute has been updated. Teachers who participated in previous institutes will be invited to return and offer their experience and expertise to the new kids on the block.

We promise that you will never read Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss the same way again.

Please complete this short application before paying your tuition.
* Please note this sign up process is for teachers who are not being nominated and paid for by their local school district.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

To learn more about the Summer Language Arts Institute:
Please contact us by email at

For more than 40 years, the Poynter Institute has conducted writing camps for students and teachers, investing millions of dollars in literacy efforts in Florida, around the nation and across the globe.

The leader of this effort is Dr. Roy Peter Clark, author of Free to Write, Coaching Writers, Writing Tools, The Glamour of Grammar, Help! For Writers, How to Write Short, and The Art of X-ray Reading: How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing. With a team of influential public school teachers, Dr. Clark will help teachers make sense of the reading/writing connection that is at the center of the Florida Standards reforms.


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