We are experienced educators building the strengths of students and teachers as learners and writers.


The Illinois Writing Project helps teachers employ the best of what is known about writers and writing. Our transformative, sustainable professional development helps teachers guide students to write with thoughtfulness, skill, and enjoyment. Locally based but nationally connected, we are one of nearly 200 sites in the National Writing Project network.

IWP has conducted hundreds of professional development programs throughout Chicago, its suburbs, in other Northern Illinois communities and across the Midwest. Affiliated with the National Writing Project and based at Northeastern Illinois University, we’ve served thousands of teachers with intensive, experiential professional learning.

IWP’s professional development programming is built on a foundation that embraces the following core beliefs:


  • are uniquely well positioned to help young people in their schools and classrooms learn the power and joy of writing;
  • possess often untapped qualities as teachers and writers that, when developed, can enhance the quality of life and learning within and beyond their own classrooms.


  • can learn to write powerfully for personal and public audiences;
  • can enjoy writing to develop intellectual, social, and emotional competence.


  • requires customization: no single curriculum package or instructional method will meet every school’s, teacher’s, or student’s needs;
  • involves relationship-building and long-term commitment – growth and positive change take time to develop.

IWP’s professional development programming is research based.

Regardless of format or location, our professional development programs seek to honor research-based instructional practice around the teaching and learning of writing. We know that writers of all ages develop confidence and competence when they

  • work within a supportive community of fellow learners, where their social and emotional needs are addressed;
  • exercise choice in their work and learn to do it thoughtfully;
  • employ writing processes to develop, draft, revise, and polish their work;
  • receive feedback from readers (teachers, fellow students, and outside audiences) who care about what they have to say;
  • make connections between writing and reading;
  • use writing as a tool for learning within and across the disciplines; and
  • write for a variety of real audiences and authentic purposes, both within and beyond the classroom.

We share the National Writing Project’s devotion to researching, developing, and sharing the processes that help all writers -children and adults- use the power of language.


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