Our Story, Our Beliefs

Storytelling reveals our truest selves. Since 1983, Writers in the Schools (WITS) has worked hand-in-hand with educators and professional writers to teach students the craft of writing. WITS is transforming the hearts and minds of young people all over Houston.

Creativity prepares children for the future. Witness the way over 65,000 students and educators in over 400 Houston classrooms plant their own stories each year, and discover the WITS magic that’s cultivated every day when students, writers, WITS staff and community members join together.
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Over thirty years ago, there was a group of creative writers who wanted to share the joy of stories with children. They grabbed their pencils and paired up with public school teachers. Together they changed the way children experience reading and writing. The WITS program makes learning an exciting adventure, while improving the academic, social, and creative abilities of children.

Our founders, Phillip Lopate and Marv Hoffman, saw an opportunity to capitalize on the writing talent in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program – one of the best in the country – and in the diverse Houston community, to provide a valuable service to area schools.


To engage children in the joy and power of reading and writing.


WITS revolutionizes the way reading and writing are taught, nurturing the growth of the imagination and awakening students to the adventures of language.


  • Every child deserves a holistic education that encourages critical thinking, creativity, and personal responsibility.
  • Writing is an art that must be practiced and developed over time.
  • The relationship between the WITS writer and the classroom teacher is a partnership.
  • WITS supports classroom teachers as they adopt new approaches to teaching creative writing.
  • WITS writers reflect Houston’s diversity to meet the needs of the community.
  • Everyone has a personal story to tell. WITS provides opportunities for storytelling and the skills needed to do it well.

Strategic Directions

  • Creative education for students
  • Connection for teachers and writers
  • Opportunities for innovation