Writing Partners Logo
WP presentation WP Pair WP Letter 2
WP class WP Letter 1 WP Group
Oakridge Elementary School students visiting the Sacramento State campus to meet their Reading Partners buddy and tour the campus.

Writing Partners @ Sac State (WP) is a program of the Community Engagement Center and a service learning experience that provides Sac State students an opportunity to teach and learn through a letter exchange with students from elementary schools in the Sacramento region.  Service Learning engages students and faculty in service experiences that:

  • Enable students to enhance their learning while engaging in hands-on service in the community
  • Provide service that benefits the community partner and the student
  • Engage students in reflection and critical thinking that link learning from service to learning in the classroom
  • Promote social and civic responsibility by relating service experience to issues of public concern and to the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy

Since 2005, Sac State students have participated in this letter exchange program that culminates in the elementary-school students visiting Sac State to see what life is like on a college campus. More than 3000 university and elementary-school students have participated in the program since it began.

Writing Partners @ Sac State is designed to foster mentor-like relationships between college and elementary school students through literacy and it was created from Write to Succeed, Inc., a program designed by graduate students in Rhetoric and Composition and an elementary school teacher. 

Writing Partners @ Sac State:

Writing Partners @ Sac State began in the summer of 2005 in conjunction with the Community Engagement Center. Former English Department faculty member Dr. Catherine Gabor, also a co-creator of the original Writing Partners Program, piloted WP with one of her classes, and the CEC has been involved by facilitating partnerships between Sac State faculty and elementary school teachers. For the past 10 years, faculty across campus – Nursing, Teacher Education, EOP, First Year Experience (FYE) Seminars, Composition – have incorporated this pedagogical tool into their courses. Many First Year Experience (FYE) faculty have included WP because it works well with the overall FYE curriculum that focuses on “Becoming an educated person”. WP is also a great first “Service Learning” experience for college students because it introduces them to the idea of working in the community and participating in a reciprocal activity – a letter exchange – that results in enhancing the literacy skills of both college and elementary school students.

Goals and Learning Outcomes:

We encourage you to include information about “what” the Writing Partners program is all about and also include these goals and learning outcomes in your course syllabus.

The overall goals of Writing Partners @ Sac State include:

  • building and/or strengthening literacy;
  • enhancing knowledge of writing through a letter exchange with a real audience;
  • connecting Sacramento State students with students in K-12 in the Sacramento region;
  • using the letter exchange to help Sac State students articulate and reinforce their identities as ‘college students’;
  • building relationships through writing; and
  • encouraging elementary school students to begin to prepare for college and see themselves as college eligible. 

By the end of the semester, Sacramento State students will demonstrate:

  • the ability to compose, draft and write letters;
  • the ability to analyze the audience;
  • the importance of tone and “voice” as a writer;
  • the ability to use various writing strategies in terms of drafting a letter (e.g., use of analogy, amplification, hyperbole, metaphor, etc.); and
  • the understanding of their participation in this activity as having an impact on young people in their community

How does Writing Partners work?

Writing Partners matches university-student writers with elementary-school student writers in a collaborative letter exchange.  Through Writing Partners, students learn that writing has the power to help them make connections across communities and connect with others within their community. 

Unlike pen pals, Writing Partners incorporates academic and social learning goals, and intentionally helps foster literacy skills.  Both university and elementary school students are asked to think about more than just the basic letter format and to consider how to build relationships through writing, basic document design, and the nature of the audience.  Writing Partners enhances creative and critical thinking skills and fosters a sense of authority in students as writers and as members of the campus community.

For more information about the Writing Partners@Sac State Program please contact: Francine Redada, Partnership/Program Coordinator, Francine.Redada@csus.edu. To download the Toolkit for Writing Partners Click Here.