The Advanced Writers Program

The Gifted Young Writer

Young people who demonstrate advanced writing potential often experience a love of ideas, reading and writing that stands out from their peers. They can be passionate, insightful and sensitive. Unfortunately, they often suffer from under-stimulation in their school environments. This kind of under-stimulation can have detrimental long-term effects, including frustration, a sense of aloneness and isolation, doubts about self-worth, and — perhaps most detrimental of all — never coming to see what is really possible for themselves.

Why don’t most schools nurture bright young writers to their full potential? Schools teach to the norm and simply do not have the resources to, or even more likely, do not know how to, nurture this kind of child.

But with the right kind of stimulation and teaching, your child could have…

  • a rooted sense of themselves as a writer that will last a lifetime
  • a huge sense of confidence and accomplishment
  • the skill and enthusiasm to live richly in the world of ideas
  • a unique completed project that makes them stand out among their peers

The Savvy Young Writers Advanced Writers Program

The Advanced Writers Program is a one-on-one tutelage program for young writers with high potential.

What it covers:

  • Students learn skills in writing technique, the writing process, creativity management.
  • Students are introduced to classic works and learn about the lives of other writers, past and present, to discover that they have a place within a “community of writers.”
  • At the end of the program students walk away with a finished work or portfolio of work which they can have for themselves forever, or, if they wish, they can choose to be guided through the process of self-publication.

The program accomplishes this through two phases.

1) The 3-month Foundation: The Life of a Writer Toolbox

What does it mean to be an avid reader and writer? How can you manage creative spurts when they come, and pull them out of their hiding places when they are hard to find? How can you calm down self-criticism? What have other authors said about the writing process?

This is the foundation on “the writing life” that gifted writers rarely receive in school.

2) The 9-Month “Studio Project”

From this foundation students launch into the writing process on a focused project. The project type a student wants to do usually becomes clear to them during the foundational phase. Students in the past have written poetry portfolios, published chapter “books” online through a blog we set up together (lots of fun!), or self-published a book.

We use this project to study technique, writing development, word choice, flow, mechanics, and style. Students also learn about how the writing process pieces that we covered in the Foundation phase emerge in their own writing. They also continue to read and learn from the works of other writers and tie this back to their own writing.

The sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a project like this is tremendous. Though the whole program builds skills and confidence, the experience of completing this project solidifies a student’s confidence and sense of self as a writer. We have a party to celebrate! Students invite whomever in their lives they wish to thank for helping them achieve their accomplishment.

The Advanced Writer’s Program helps students develop skills that extends their ability, connects them to the larger context of life as a writer, and gives them a concrete experience of their expressive potential.

What Parents Have Said…

“I am so amazed at the intellectual transformation you have guided our son through. The other day he mentioned how lucky he was to have such a fantastic teacher for English. I asked him, ‘What is her name again?’ as it has been ages since Back to School night.  He replied, ‘You know, it’s Sam.”

– Mother of student at Terman Middle School, Palo Alto

“Sam is a master of compassion and rigor. It’s an impressive combination.”

– Parent of a creative daughter in Portland, OR

“You have been our son’s tutor, mentor and friend. That’s a relationship that’s hard to come by.”

-Mother of a student at Gunn High School

“So far, your class with our daughter is the only academic class she has that she seems to enjoy going to. It’s amazing.”

-Parent of a student at Harker

“Working with you has made such a huge difference in our son’s writing level this year.  And I so appreciate the guidance you give him as a mentor.”

-Mother of middle school student at Terman Middle School

Program Details and Logistics

Program Details

The program provides:

  • approximately 36 one-on-one student sessions (1 hour each) over 12 months. This turns into a “generally weekly” meeting, with allowances for school vacations, etc.
  • All of the necessary planning and preparation to craft lessons that are individualized to your child
  • 3 one-hour consultations with parents/guardians. Your support of your child is a big part of the process, so we meet at regular intervals to touch basis about how the process is going.
  • Log sheets documenting our work each session


I offer a special version of this program for teenagers. If you are looking for resources for your teenage son or daughter, contact me for more information.

Program Logistics



I work with students in-person at the Savvy Young Writers office in downtown Palo Alto.


The marvels of technology make make this work accessible through online media (Skype, Google Docs, and Evernote). I have lessons with about half of my students in this way, whether they are half-way around the world or just a few miles away and want to avoid commuter traffic.

How is this work different from a tutoring model?

This program is a much more comprehensive service than what face-time-only tutoring services provide. In addition to lesson preparation, outside of any given hour with your child, I may consult with other specialists in my network about your child (I work with specialists in college counseling, testing, LD and gifted education), read up on your child’s subject interests to find great material for them, scout various bookstores to find just the right translation of a certain classic text that will spark your child’s learning — etc, etc, etc!

This level of dedication and service is what makes this program transformative for students and families.

A Tremendous Parent Community

Savvy Young Writers is surrounded by a parent community in the heart of Silicon Valley that cherishes providing their children with educations that nurture both their inner and outer success, recognizing that when learning encompasses both, profound educational outcomes occur. This parent community has fostered my ability to teach writing to students at the highest level. I am deeply grateful for this community’s tremendous care.

It has been a privilege to work with these families for over fifteen years, often stewarding multiple siblings in a single family through a years-long relationship that can last into adulthood (one of my former students, now in her mid-20s, has even recently come back to work for Savvy Young Writers as my research assistant, among other roles, for the book I am writing). Over time, through the grace of technology my practice has grown across continents, from Geneva to Beijing. I am moved by every student I teach, and also by every parent who walks through my door.

Thank You

Thank you for your interest in promoting your child’s development as a writer. It is a gift that will serve them their entire lives. Whether or not we work together, I will appreciate hearing from you and supporting you as best I can.

Next Steps

To inquire about pricing, availability, and/or to get on the wait list, please fill out my contact form. I will read what you write carefully and I or my assistant will respond to you within a week.

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