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English summer youth program to feature 'rl txt'

February 10, 2010

Students in grades six through 12 will have the opportunity this summer to produce genuine writing – or “real texts” – through the Central Arizona Writing Project (CAWP) at Arizona State University.

CAWP's "rl txt" young writers program, sponsored by the ASU Department of English, is set for two sessions this year (June 7-18 and June 21-July 2). CAWP is an affiliate of the National Writing Project.

This summer, two new staff members will join the leadership team to help the young people produce “writing that matters.”

Donna L. Miller and Kathy Deakin, doctoral candidates in the Department of English’s English Education Program, will lead “rl txt,” as the programs have been dubbed.

“With rl txt, we hope to offer students a fun, collaborative and non-evaluative environment for writing; an opportunity to engage with other writers; and a chance to immerse in the creative task of producing real texts,” Miller said.

“In fact, we chose the name 'rl txt' to send a subliminal message: that this program is about producing genuine writing, writing with voice, not something scripted but something self-initiated and meaningful to the writer – writing that matters.”

Miller, a National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) National Teacher of Excellence, came to Arizona from Montana, where she taught high school English for 26 years and directed the drama program at Chinook High before her retirement. A 1988 Montana Writing Project fellow, Miller co-directed the Writing Project for seven summers in Missoula, Montana, and conducted professional development workshops for teachers across the state. She currently supervises student teachers and teaches children’s literature at ASU.

Co-director Deakin, a National Board Certified Teacher with over 11 years of classroom experience, considers teaching writing her passion. A co-director of the Mesa Writer’s Institute in 2007 and 2008, she is in the final stages of completing her PhD in English education at ASU. Currently, Dean teaches 11th grade English at Basha High School in Chandler and delivers secondary methods of writing classes at ASU’s Polytechnic campus.  

Miller and Deakin are excited to work with Arizona youth this summer, offering two rl txt workshops. Session A, June 7-June 18, will be open to writers in grades 6-8, while Session B, June 21-July 2, invites writers in grades 9-12 to attend this institute for celebrating creativity in youth.

Both sessions will be held on the ASU campus in Tempe, in the Language and Literature Building, from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sessions will feature Writing Marathons, Craft Secrets, Daily Writing Workshops, Activities to Promote Creativity, Nature/Science Observation and Writing, Interaction with Guest Writers, and Publishing Opportunities.

“This is a program for writers interested in devoting time to their fiction, nonfiction or poetry," Deakin said. "We want to create a writing community that experiments with new ideas like illuminated texts that make writing come alive.”

If paid by May 18, tuition to attend the two week workshop is $300, which covers instruction, supplies and snacks. After May 18, tuition is $350. To apply, contact the Department of English’s English education office at (480) 965-3224, visit or e-mail or

Applications are due April 9, 2010, and acceptance information will go out to applicants by April 30.