Don Stewart

"When we sharpen a pencil, we get to the point by subtracting. When we write, we get to the point by adding. The modifier is the essential part of any sentence."

  • Career English teacher, retired
  • Director of Write for College, for 24 years a summer writing program reaching over 1000 high school students 
  • Author and editor 
  • Frequent presenter at writing conferences, including National Council of Teachers of English and the Assembly for the Teaching of English Grammar

Dr. Francis Christensen & Dr. Bonniejean Christensen

I must admit that I cannot take credit for figuring all this out. That honor goes to Dr. Francis Christensen, who was a professor at the University of Southern California. In 1967 he published his masterpiece, The Christensen Rhetoric Program, which unveiled this entirely new approach that consistently resulted in immediate and dramatic improvement in student writing.

In 1991 I met with his widow, Dr. Bonniejean Christensen, who had spent the intervening years editing and reprinting their mutual writings after his death in 1970. Unable to continue these responsibilities, she thankfully entrusted me with the copyrights to all of their works. Since then I have revised his original text and written an additional pair of workbooks, resulting in a three-book series, published as The Stewart English Program (seen in the photo of her above, and below), which spans grades seven through twelve. I have also reprinted Christensen's collected essays, called Notes Toward A New Rhetoric: Nine Essays For Teachers

Throughout my teaching career, Write for College has provided my favorite moments in the classroom—aha! moments when the students discover the meaning of free modifiers, learn how to defeat choppy sentences, understand the meaning of "flow," and design an essay from start to finish in their heads before they have even typed one letter.

 And never yawning. 

Don Stewart and Writing Summit Host Daniel David Wallace (2859 participants in attendance worldwide) April 4, 2022


I loved Don's presentation and am definitely going to dive into his website & courses. I truly enjoy learning about these techniques.

04/04/2022 15:31

This is exactly what I needed to hear. So often I want to do something like this but stop because I've been taught sentences are supposed to be short. Which always seemed choppy to me. Knowing this is a comfort! I am allowed to write long sentences with description!

04/04/2022 15:40

Fascinating. Feel vindicated. Delightful . Thank you

04/04/2022 15:42

Great session, love the creative license he gives us to add detail.

04/04/2022 15:49

Outstanding!! What great information. Thank you.

04/04/2022 15:55

Wow, I could just listen to Don Stewart talk about this fascinating subject all day long. I feel like my writing just went up a notch, just listening.

04/04/2022 15:57

I loved his talk because I am grammar illiterate. At first I felt lost, and I almost tuned out, I'm glad I didn't. I didn't understand it all, but I will look at my work and try to do what he says.

04/04/2022 16:08

Loved this session. What a great way to get the reader to feel what the character is feeling.

04/04/2022 18:05

The History of "Write for College"

I'm Don Stewart, a retired English teacher.

Along with my regular classroom teaching, for 24 years I taught a summer writing course for high school students in the Boston area.

It was a 3-week course, two hours each day.

Week 1 was the Sentences, Week 2 the Paragraphs, and Week 3 the Essays.

"Write for College"

The course closed in 2013, but has returned — entirely online.  Perfect for blended learning.

It's exactly the same curriculum.  

And I am still here.

"Write for College" brochure — 2012

Tuition: $825

Following in the footsteps

Central to the method of the Write for College program is the study of the writings of giants who have gone before. Here are two of them, as they advocate learning by imitation.

J. K. Rowling

“Read as much as you possibly can. Nothing will help you as much as reading and you'll go through a phase where you will imitate your favourite writers and that's fine because that's a learning experience too.”

J K Rowling

Helen Keller

“Before we publish anything, or set ourselves up as writers, we may imitate and even copy to our hearts’ content, and when the time comes for us to send forth a message to the world, we shall have learned how to say it.”

All of these books are available on Amazon, or from the publisher,, in quantity.

They all go together

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