Past Institutes

Critical Reading and Engaged Writing


On February 1 and 2, 2018, Humanities Texas held one-day teacher workshops in Houston and San Antonio on strategies for teaching critical reading skills and designing engaging writing assignments.


Topics addressed included teaching critical reading skills, showing students how to examine texts within pertinent historical and cultural contexts, reading rhetorically, improving students' digital media literacy, and understanding students' development as writers. The workshop also introduced the Close Reading Interpretive Tool, a web-based resource that walks students through a systematic process of interpretation.

The workshops emphasized close interaction with scholars and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities. Content was aligned with the secondary ELA TEKS.


Workshop faculty included Brian Bremen, Coleman Hutchison, and Susan Schorn of The University of Texas at Austin; educational consultant Cathy D’Agostino; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lisa Falkenberg (Houston Chronicle); and Kirsten Ostherr (Rice University).

Locations and schedules

The workshops took place in Houston on February 1, 2018, and San Antonio on February 2, 2018. Download the Houston schedule and San Antonio schedule.


The workshops were with major funding from the State of Texas and the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This program is also part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

Brian A. Bremen, associate professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, delivers a lecture on “Creating Context” in San Antonio.
Coleman Hutchison, associate professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, shares tools for critical reading with workshop participants in San Antonio.
Susan Schorn, senior program coordinator for the Center for the Skill and Experience Flags at The University of Texas at Austin, offers strategies for teaching writing and revision skills in in San Antonio.