Writing for the Educational Market

In-Person | Picture Books, Early Readers and Chapter Books, Nonfiction, Poetry, Business of Publishing
If the words “educational market” make you think only of workbooks and textbooks, it’s time to think again! Today’s educational publishers are eager to see lively nonfiction, fast-paced fiction, poetry, video scripts, and more.


In-person 5-Day/4-Night Workshop and Retreat

If the words “educational market” make you think only of workbooks and textbooks, it’s time to think again!  Today’s educational publishers are eager to see lively nonfiction, fast-paced fiction, poetry, video scripts, and more.

  • This is an in-person workshop at our Retreat Center with lectures, writing exercises, and small group discussions.
  • We include ample time to relax, retreat, and work on your own writing.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Begins with dinner 5:30pm Eastern on Wednesday, June 21, 2023
  • Ends with lunch at 12:00pm-1:00pm Eastern on Sunday, June 25, 2023
  • 24 participants max

Why This Workshop?

Would you like to have editors contacting you with requests to write for them? Welcome to the educational market!

The rules for educational writing are different from trade books; yet the end result is creative, exciting, and kid-pleasing. Whether your interest is straight informational nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, series fiction, or another area, this workshop will help you find your niche in the educational market. Join us for:
  • Current market-specific information;
  • Techniques for meeting publishers’ specifications;
  • Demystifying standards and text leveling;
  • One-to-one sessions with workshop faculty;
  • Practice at producing submissions packages.
  • BONUS: Opportunities to interact with editors at educational publishing companies!

You will have ample free retreat time built into this course so that you can stretch, work on your own projects, and/or work on the projects discussed in class.

Feedback Expected

  • One-to-one consultations with faculty to discuss your writing (During an informal Zoom session leading up to the program, workshop leaders will let you know what to bring; no submissions are due ahead of the course.)
  • Small group workshopping facilitated by authors from the educational market space.
  • Informal opportunities for feedback and to talk with faculty will be present throughout your time on campus.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are a writer who wants to work in the educational market. Educational publishing companies need you!
  • You’re a teacher with experience in sharing these books with students. We’ll show you how you can play to your strengths when writing for this market.
  • You want an in-person learning experience. This program has a balance of presentations, consultations, and writing time so that you can engage with the group and explore on your own.

Tentative Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

  • Within one week of our program, you will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow writers, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), and more.
  • June 15, 2023: Informal Zoom session where workshop leaders will let you know what to bring. (No submissions are due ahead of the course.  This session will also be recorded and posted in the virtual classroom if you can’t attend live.)
Day 1: Wednesday, June 21
  • 3pm – 5pm Eastern: Arrival
  • 5:30pm: Appetizers & Dinner
  • Following dinner: Preparing for the workshop, introductions, then socializing!
Day 2: Thursday, June 22


  • Breakfast
  • Opportunities in the Educational
    Market; How Educational Publishing Differs from Trade


  • Lunch
  • The Introductory Packet, Your Key to Contact
  • Crafting Resumes, Cover Letters, and Samples
  • Personal Writing Time


  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After Dinner: Guest Editor


Day 3: Friday, June 23


  • Breakfast
  • Nonfiction Opportunities


  • Lunch
  • Fiction Opportunities
  • Crafting Samples


  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After Dinner: Virtual Visit (via Zoom) with editor Artika Tyner
Day 4: Saturday, June 24


  • Breakfast
  • Series Writing for the Educational Market


  • Small Group Writing Exercises
  • 1:1 Consultations
  • Personal Writing Time


  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After Dinner: Responding to Editorial Feedback
Day 5: Sunday, June 25


  • Breakfast
  • Curriculum Standards
  • Open Q & A


  • Lunch and Farewells

Commitment Required for the Best Experience

As an in-person event at our Retreat Center, you’ll have a chance to step away from everyday life to experience the workshop. We try to build in breaks and independent time so you have space for your personal needs. While we encourage participation in all group events, we know that as an adult learner you can decide if you need more time to yourself. Please let someone from our staff or faculty know if you plan to step away from group activities.

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

An important commitment that will help you get the most from this workshop is meeting with faculty in 1:1 consultations. During your informal Zoom session on June 15, 2023 (and in the recording from the session) workshop leaders will let you know what to bring. (No submissions due ahead of the course).

How It Impacts Kids

Books, stories, and other works used in educational settings are learning opportunities in action, and they help kids grasp important concepts.  Your craft and voice can help shape a child’s connection to their lessons.

Testimonials from Our Community

“It was a terrific workshop, and both Jan and Paula were so helpful. Paula helped me rework my resume, and after the course, I was hired to write a book by Red Line. If writing educational material is your goal, this is the workshop for you.”

“Jan and Paula are wonderful speakers, teachers, mentors, and fun to hang out with. I absolutely loved my time with them. I could not have asked for better speakers.”

“This is a fantastic workshop. I came not knowing how the educational market works. And now I know exactly what to do to find work for hire, write book proposals, work for book packagers, etc.”

“I have been following Jan and Paula’s advice. Many of the other participants had been honing their writing careers for years in the industry before coming to the workshop. I came to the workshop for a career pivot from instructional design to freelance writing. While this has been slower than anticipated, my year has been productive. I began submitting my packets in late July. By March, I have been assigned to a project with A Pass Education. I’ve heard from editors and joined writing groups.”

“I attended the Writing for the Educational Market workshop in 2016. I learned everything I needed to know about breaking into the educational market. After researching publishers, I sent out my writing samples and the specialized resume I learned to write at the workshop. Right away, I was hired to write for a book packager. Engineering AT&T Stadium was published by ABDO Publishing in 2017. ABDO is one of the largest educational publishers. I have also written six books for Black Rabbit Books, three were published in 2018 and three more will be released this fall. These seven books were the result of attending the workshop.”

“At the workshop, I learned a great deal starting with the difference between publishers and packagers. There were also two interesting guest speakers, but Jan and Paula were fantastic. They each worked with me personally on strengthening my resume and samples. They gave encouraging advice and extensive lists on where to send my material. They were full of information on publishing trends, writing possibilities, pitfalls to avoid, and so much more. In the three years since, I have published a five book fiction series for High Noon, four nonfiction books for 12 Story Library, and I have two additional nonfiction books awaiting publication. That’s 11 books in three years. I am extremely glad I took the workshop and very grateful to the two of them for opening this market to me.”

“One measure of success for me is making money as a writer. I had a paying contract when I left the workshop! I revised my submission packet in the weeks following the workshop and sent it out on a regular basis. By October, I had my first non-fiction educational publishing book contract. After those two projects, I had made more than the cost of the workshop. In March, I signed a contract for a textbook chapter for double the cost of the workshop.”

“Jan Fields and Paula Morrow gave exactly the knowledge required to enter the educational market. Paula’s experience provided a great editorial background. Jan’s insider knowledge and insight, along with her wonderfully dry wit and engaging delivery, provided the step-by-step guidance needed to become a success. Since the workshop (7 months ago) I have written 6 educational books, three for Rourke Educational, two for ABDO (Redline Editorial) and one for North Star Editions (Red Line Editorial). I only queried three publishers and have been writing for two of them. I haven’t queried any more because (this will be unbelievable, but a true part of educational publishing), I don’t need more work!”

Special Guests


June 21 - June 25


Highlights Foundation Campus

362 Boyds Mills Road
Milanville, PA 18443

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.


All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops and retreats (including this one) are held at our Retreat Center: The Barn at Boyds Mills.  This site was the home of the original founders of Highlights for Children Garry and Caroline Myers, and is located in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Lenape Nation.

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Shuttle service is included from the local airport and bus stations, or you can park on site. You’ll receive more information about logistics after you register.

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New to the Highlights Foundation? Try these:

About Children's Publishing | The Whole Novel Workshop | Summer Camp


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Visiting Our Campus

Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

Line drawing of the Barn at Boyds Mills

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