The Telling Room is a nonprofit writing center in Portland, Maine, dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers. Focused on young writers ages 6 to 18, we seek to build confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and provide real audiences for our students. We believe that the power of creative expression can change our communities and prepare our youth for future success.
What We Do
Our fun, innovative programs enlist the support of local writers, artists, teachers, and community groups. At our downtown writing center we offer free afterschool workshops and writing help, and host field trips for school groups from all over Maine. We also lead workshops at local schools and community organizations; bring acclaimed writers to Maine to give public readings and work with small groups of students; publish bestselling anthologies of student work; and carry out community-wide writing projects and events.
Who We Serve
We serve those who are reluctant to write as well as those who already identify as writers, including: children and young adults who are a part of Maine’s growing community of immigrants and refugees, those with emotional and behavioral challenges, students struggling in mainstream classrooms, homeschoolers enthusiastic to join a creative community, and passionate young writers who need additional support beyond what their schools are able to provide.
At The Telling Room, the students we work with are our fellow writers and artists. We know that everyone has a story to tell, and through our programs for young storytellers our cadre of adult writers and artists come together with young writers and artists to tell these stories and share them with each other, and ideally also with a greater community audience as well. This is our vision, and our baseline; we love to invent new ways of finding and finessing and then unleashing our words into the world. Often we marry words to other art forms—to photography, or song, or video. We are open to your ideas, too, and linger over those methods we turn to often like well loved books that keep us surprised and inspired, no matter how many times we turn the pages.
What We Give Back
Children and young adults who work with The Telling Room increase their self-confidence and strengthen their creative skills, which are vital in the 21st century. A growing body of research demonstrates that students who participate in programs like The Telling Room’s, which integrate the arts and writing and emphasize small group work and one-on-one attention:
- Are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
- Can raise their grades by one letter in the course of a school year
- Strengthen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills
- Are two times less likely to engage in risky behaviors