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Writing, Language Arts & Humanities

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Open to: Grades 2-12 (See specific course description)

Prerequisites: Qualifying verbal score

Course Format: Web-based classroom, Email, Flexi-paced (See specific course description)

Course Length: Session-based: (See course description for specific length)
Session Dates and Application Deadlines

Course Code: (See specific Course Description)


Gifted students whose writing skills are ahead of their agemates should not be held back. The Johns Hopkins University CTY Online Programs Writing Series is designed especially for these children. Begun in 1983 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, these courses provide gifted writers in grades 5-12 rare opportunities to work with professional writers to explore both academic and creative writing.

From an instructor who also teaches at a university: "Providing feedback to these students, many of whom could have fine writing careers in front of them... has been one of the most rewarding endeavors in my teaching career."

More about distance education.

The CTY Online Programs Writing Series includes courses that are both session-based and flexi-paced, and many are offered in both email and web-based formats. For more information, including prerequisites, see the course descriptions:

More About CTY Online Programs Writing and Distance Education


A deep understanding of grammatical structure allows students to make informed choices about style. In Building Blocks, the lessons and exercises encourage students to think like linguists to discover how the parts of speech and sentence patterns can be used to build effective sentences. Grammar FUNdamentals covers a broad range of topics to meet current middle-school grammar standards, and reinforces lessons with grammar games, puzzles, and tests. From Structure to Style encourages students to write analytically about grammatical usage working in an online collaborative community, and then apply the analysis to their own creative writing. All three courses include writing assignments critiqued by CTY instructors to give students the opportunity to practice their grammar prowess. Students emerge from these courses understanding how their grammatical choices can affect the quality of their prose. Students typically work at least every other day (fall, early spring, mid spring, early summer) or daily (intensive mid summer).  For more information, visit the course descriptions:

Critical Reading

Young Readers and Art Meets Science

Young Readers' Series

In the Young Readers Series, gifted students in grades 2 through 5 read books well above grade level by such authors as Rick Riordan, Avi, J.K. Rowling, and Tamora Pierce. Guided by CTY instructors, students engage in high level thinking in their book-related creative writing assignments and participation in discussion forums. Students are also exposed to challenging vocabulary words and literary devices in the texts, discussions, puzzles, and online games. Students learn to make accurate inferences to understand plot and character and are encouraged to support their opinions by referring to the text. These courses are ideal for students who enjoy reading, pondering, and sharing their thoughts with gifted students from around the world. Students typically read, discuss, and write at least every other day (fall, early spring, mid spring, early summer) or daily (intensive midsummer). For more information, visit the course descriptions:

The Art Meets Science Series

The Art Meets Science Series [Nonfiction, Literature] for grades 6 through 9 encourages students to explore the connection between scientific discovery and creative writing. In this critical reading series, students discover how scientific inquiry and creative writing offer different perspectives on the same complex and unfolding universe. Readings inspired by science provide students with models for creating their own poems, stories, and essays. For example, students might consider how Einstein's theory of relativity has influenced the images and themes of 20th-century poets, or how an essay about childhood memories is enhanced by understanding neuroscience. These courses involve substantial discussion of readings as well as writing workshops in which the instructor and peers offer constructive criticism. Students typically read, discuss, and write at least every other day (fall, early spring, mid spring early summer) or daily (intensive mid summer). For more information, visit the course descriptions:
Art Meets Science: Nonfiction and Art Meets Science: Literature.


CTY is pleased to collaborate with the Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute, the world renowned school of music and one of the nations' major sources of professionally trained musicians. As a result, CTY Online Programs students can enroll in a course developed by Gavin Farrell of the Peabody Institute: Mastering the Fundamentals of Music, for verbal or math qualifiers in grades 4-12. See course description for other prerequisites and additional information.

Visual Fluency

Digital technology has made the ability to create and share images commonplace. Visual fluency is now as vital as verbal fluency to success in college and life. These courses incorporate principles of communication theory, design theory, cognitive psychology, and art history to provide a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of effective visual communication.

Visual Literacy

Learn to recognize the building blocks of visual composition and to deconstruct and analyze visual messages.

Visual Storytelling

Examine the components of effective visual storytelling and produce your own story.