LitWits Master Classes

Hands-on, in-depth, literature-based

writing classes for teens!


Who doesn’t want their kids to love great books, and learn to write like the masters? Sensory connections to stories, in-depth discussions of craft, and hands-on explorations of theme help lessons “stick”!  Our Master Classes make great books and writing relevant and fun for teens.

Lisa Craddock - LitWits writing instructorAnd wow, look who’s teaching them! Your teens are in masterful hands with instructor Lisa Craddock, who holds BAs in Literature and Theatre, and a Master of Humanities in Film Studies with a concentration in Rhetoric (“the art of speaking and writing effectively”). Lisa has taught classes in literature, composition, and film for the University of Colorado. Her scholarship, essays, poetry, and plays have appeared in a variety of literary and academic venues.

Lisa considers it a privilege to homeschool her own four children, avid fans of LitWits since its beginning. For many years she has led educational events for the homeschool community, helping young readers understand themselves and the world through “living books.”

For our current calendar, scroll down.

LitWits Master Classes in Santa Cruz, CA“I love that my daughter was challenged to think and write – by someone other than me! She got valuable guidance, generated a solid piece of writing , and is eager to go back for more.” – a happy parent

“I could do this all day every day!” – a happy high schooler

“I was so pleased to see that my son was encouraged and inspired by his first-rate instructors and classmates. It was also lovely to see him possess an unprecedented interest and responsibility for a writing assignment, and I have a vivid memory of being filled with gratitude as we discussed his writing theme together.” – a happy parent

About Master Classes

Each class focuses on one pre-read work that has been approved by Ocean Grove Charter School for high school A-G coursework in accordance with UC standards. Throughout the day we alternate literary analysis, writing practice, and sensory explorations of the theme (or other key aspects) of the story.

Writing instruction emphasizes literary analysis and critical writing skills, addressing California standards for English while practicing the writing process: brainstorming, rough drafting, revising, proofreading, and critiquing.

Master Classes include:

  • critical thinking
  • literary structures
  • scholastic terms
  • diction and syntax
  • thematic evidence
  • characterization techniques
  • descriptive writing
  • artistic interpretations of metaphor

And much, much more! Besides literature analysis, creative and critical writing, and discussion of craft, we also explore history, culture, public speaking, working in groups, and learning how to take notes and dissect the requirements of an assignment. Students go home with a solid piece of writing, an excellent foundation for completing an Ocean Grove Charter School assignment.

At the end of each class we’ll let you know which A-G and Common Core standards were met for literature analysis, writing, and art skills, for your student’s learning records. Here’s an example of what we did (and the Common Core standards met) in our Master Class on Huckleberry Finn.

Classes are held one Monday a month from 10am-3pm.

2016-17 Master Classes

Aug 22 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on THE CALL OF THE WILD (Jack London) 
Recommended edition

Sept 26 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on THE INVISIBLE MAN (H.G. Wells)
Recommended edition

Oct 24 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on THE GIVER (Lois Lowry)
Recommended edition

Nov 28 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on EMMA (Jane Austen) 
Recommended edition

Dec 19 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on OLIVER TWIST (Charles Dickens) 
Recommended edition

Jan 23 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on JULIUS CAESAR (Shakespeare) 
Recommended edition (or this one)

Feb 27 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on POETRY by Frost, Langston, Dickinson 
Recommended edition

Mar 20 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on THE MERRY ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (Howard Pyle) 
Recommended edition

Apr 24 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on SHORT STORIES by Ray Bradbury 
Required edition

May 22 (Mon) 10-3 Master Class on A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by Ursula Le Guin
Recommended edition

Five intensely rich hours

of multiple skills

taught by

a top-level expert

in a small-group setting.


Fees: Fees include all supplies and materials, except for the books. (Students should bring a no-nuts snack.) LitWits is an approved vendor for Ocean Grove Charter School.

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel in advance of the class, we’ll be happy to offer you a makeup. (Use promo code MAKEUP to re-register, and please remind us, in the notes field, which class you missed.) There are no refunds for Master Classes (unless WE have to cancel), and no makeups for no-shows. as we’ve already hired instructors, purchased materials, and turned away wait-listers. We hope that makes sense and seems fair!  We appreciate your consideration.


Last fall and spring, we immersed in these models of masterful writing.