We’re hiring Teaching Artists! Learn more here.
Growing Great Writers is an after-school partnership that leads creative writing clubs for students in grades 4 and up. At Growing Great Writers, we believe that teaching literacy without teaching literature and a love of language is like taking vitamin pills instead of eating delicious, healthy food. By literature, we don’t just mean the classics you read in high school: we mean the read-aloud books of Mo Willems, Maurice Sendak, Virginia Hamilton, and Grace Lin; we mean the chapter book series elementary school kids sometimes gobble for breakfast; we mean comics and Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and the work of living novelists, poets, and memoirists.
Our teaching artists use techniques that support English/Language Arts classroom skills while emphasizing that reading and writing can be joyful, meaningful activities that build confidence. Taught with love and attention, we believe great readers and writers become great citizens.
Growing Great Writers is supported in part by a generous award from Holman Community Grants.
“Serving in GGW offers me the opportunity to use the arts I value and practice in a more informal, and arguably “realer” setting. Especially serving youth who’ve already spent all day in school, I’ve come to recognize that my role isn’t as one sided as being a “writing teacher”. When we teach creative writing, we are developing and encouraging our students in literacy. But perhaps more crucially, we are upholding the artistic and expressive capacity in youth.”
— Philip DiCicco, 2018-19, 19-20 Teaching Artist
“Being a part of Growing Great Writers has been one of the highlights of my time at Rutgers-Camden. Watching the kids grow as writers, express themselves, and have fun while writing was often the best part of my entire week. While we’ve transitioned to offering virtual homework help due to the unique needs of the school during the pandemic, I’ve continued to feel really lucky to be a part of this program and to help the school. Growing Great Writers has offered me the opportunity to feel like a part of the Camden community and to share my love of writing with some great kids, who I truly believe are the next generation of great writers.”
— Mary Sico, 2019-20, 20-21 Teaching Artist
Current Opportunities For Teaching Artists
We are seeking two Teaching Artists for the spring 2024 semester. Teaching Artists must be current Rutgers-Camden graduate students and must apply by December 1. Learn more here!
What We Do
We partner with Camden schools and community centers to deliver informal club sessions centered on writing expressively. Teaching artists introduce students to age-appropriate and culturally resonant material, invite students to complete writing prompts or play storytelling games, and help students build a body of work they’re proud of over the course of a few months or a year. We want students to celebrate their voices and communities as important sources of language and story.
Our current partners include The Salvation Army Kroc Center, The Neighborhood Center, and IDEA Arts Center.
We’re always interested in the possibility of new partnerships! Contact us if you are an out-of-school-time leader interested in working together.
Who We Are
2022-23 Teaching Artists
Rachel Barber recently received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Camden, where she currently teaches First Year Composition. When she isn’t writing she likes to read comics, cruise on her skateboard, and play with puppy dogs.
Sara Guiang, (she/they/siya) is a social worker, writer, poet, and beta reader based in Philly, but forever a Vegas native. She is passionate about empowering young people with resources and creative expression and pushing for spaces for young people to tell their stories. Her personal work mainly focuses on belonging, emotional labor, and memory. Her poetry has been published in lipstickpartymagazine and she has beta read for authors, screenwriters, and poets.
Betsy Roy is a second year MFA candidate in fiction at Rutgers University—Camden. In the past she’s taught kindergarten and preschool and loves working with students to find their unique interests and passions. When she’s not in the classroom, she enjoys baking, crafts and ice skating.