Workshop Lesson Plans

The Writing Center leads small-group workshops, organized in five categories: Reading and Interpretation, Structuring an Argument, Writing with Sources, Revising and Process, and Business and Professional Writing.

In our workshops, students discover new tools, practice key skills, and apply flexible strategies they can use across the disciplines.

All materials we’ve developed for our workshops are available for use in your classroom. Each workshop file includes lesson plans, handouts, and related texts.

Please feel free to adopt or adapt these to your class. If you’d prefer to have a Writing Consultant lead the workshop, please complete our in-class workshop request form at


Workshops on Reading and Interpretation


  • Interpreting Assignments helps students decode the stated and unstated expectations of college writing, and to read assignments in order to plan specific writing steps.
  • Reading Strategically helps students read more efficiently by predicting a text’s purpose, and developing targeted goals in response to that purpose, before reading.
  • Analyzing Texts—known in some disciplines as “close reading”—teaches the critical examination of academic and literary texts by noticing details, observing patterns, and posing questions.
  • Analyzing Images introduces students to the practice of “reading” images—by observing features like line, color, and composition—in order to develop claims about how those images make meaning.

Workshops on Structuring an Argument


  • Evidence, Analysis, and Claims teaches strategies for interpreting and analyzing evidence of all kinds—including graphs, statistics, and quotes from literature—in order to write claims.
  • Comparing and Contrasting moves students from noticing similarities and differences to writing strong thesis statements that emphasize what’s most interesting, surprising, and significant in the overlap and disjuncture between two texts.
  • Developing Thesis Statements teaches students strategies for writing effective, complex, evidence-based theses in any field.
  • Controlling an Argument with Topic Sentences helps students write strong topic sentences that build on thesis statements, connect paragraphs, and structure arguments.

Workshops on Writing with Sources


  • Focusing Research Topics teaches students how to narrow a topic to the point of being “researchable,” and to articulate a motivated research question.
  • Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting helps students choose between these strategies when incorporating the words and ideas of others in their writing, in order to best support their writing goals.
  • Using Sources Strategically helps students seek and use sources that meet their needs: not just those that echo their argument, but ones that develop it through background, examples, counterarguments, and analytical methods.
  • Summarizing and Responding to Sources teaches students how to record and respond to the words and arguments of others throughout the research and writing process.
  • Ethical Writing and Source Use helps students establish writerly authority and gain the trust of readers through citation and the accurate representation of others’ ideas.
  • Understanding Plagiarism and Citation teaches students what plagiarism is, why and how it happens, and how to reference others’ work with accuracy, clarity, and confidence.

Workshops on Business and Professional Writing


  • Cover Letters teaches students to closely read job ads in order to interpret the needs of an employer, and to write tailored cover letters (with polished, professional language) that demonstrate why they’re the best candidate for the job.
  • Analyzing Case Studies teaches students the steps of reading and analyzing case studies, and provides students the opportunity to practice those steps to develop and present recommendations in response to a dilemma.
  • Emailing Strategically helps students tailor their emails to audience and context

Workshops on Revising and Process


  • Writing for Readers’ Needs teaches students to anticipate and respond to the needs and expectations of their audience—and why to ignore those needs in the earliest stages of drafting.

The following seven workshops are focused on guiding students through an in-class writing task. Less “content-heavy” than our other workshops, they offer students a set of exercises to chose between as they work to develop, reorganize, and revise their own projects.

  • Revising for Structure and Argument helps students differentiate between essay-and paragraph-level revision goals—and then gives students time to implement revision strategies.
  • Brainstorming helps students learn to get ideas flowing, especially if they feel stuck.
  • Translanguaging invites students to take advantage of their own diverse language resources as they brainstorm and generate content, and then to practice negotiating meaning and developing ideas in English with a fellow student.
  • Revising at the Sentence Level helps students refine the language of their writing—whether for clarity, correctness, or style. We’ll teach strategies to proofread, vary sentence structure, and experience writing as a reader might.
  • Peer Review offers techniques of reading and responding to someone else’s writing, and provides ample opportunity for students to practice this process in-class.