Equity & Access Professional Learning

The Family Writing Project: Creating Space for Sustaining Teacher Identity


How can teacher leaders and writing project sites develop effective ways to collaborate with parents and families? The writers, all with the Southern Nevada Writing Project, argue that family writing projects help develop a writing culture, nurture authentic writing and democratic practice, build relationships between students and teachers, counter teacher burnout, and help develop teacher leadership. This article can inspire and guide groups of teachers to develop family writing projects that have the potential to influence their classroom practice as well as deepen their understanding about the assets that parents bring to their children's education.



In the context of NCLB requirements, many teachers feel they are discouraged from making decisions based on their educational expertise or knowledge of students; rather, they are required to follow predetermined programs, adhere to administrative mandates, and implement simplistic scripts.

In contrast to the current climate of distrust and blame, participants of the family writing projects we have studied were afforded opportunities to mingle discourses and knowledges of home, community, and school in a hybrid ‘outside of the traditional school day’ space—they have in effect created a third space. For teachers, the act of drawing on these experiences has affected their practice and helped to generate a sense of efficacy, inspiring confidence and a renewed commitment to the profession.