Story by Lawson Martin. Photos provided by All the Write Colors and Lawson Martin.
Katharine Hsu owns and founded All the Write Colors. This alternative tutoring program helps kids of all abilities fall in love with writing. According to Katharine, any child is welcome at All the Write Colors, including children who are gifted, are artistic, have ADHD, or are dyslexic. She determines what learning strategies and tools are best for each child. She helps them unlock their confidence and writing potential within four to eight weeks.
Katharine decided to open All the Write Colors a little over a year ago. She said she struggled in school as a child, inspiring her to help today’s children.
“I felt like I was really misunderstood as someone who was lazy or didn’t understand what was going on,” she said. “But really, I just needed to be taught a different way.”
Before All the Write Colors, Katharine was a school teacher and later transitioned into an instructional technology coordinator and then an instructional coach. During her time in education, she worked with children of all abilities and students learning English as a second language.
As a teacher, Katharine taught various subjects. Still, she struggled with writing the most, so she studied how to teach writing to students in a unique way that inspires all different types of learners. The more she learned about how to teach writing, she discovered how helping children become writers meant unlocking their confidence at the same time. This was important to her because she observed a greater sense of identity and value that produces joy in children. She felt the emotional component is missing in most tutoring programs but noticed confidence, value, and happiness is the key to long-term success for kids. That’s how All the Write Colors was born.
After 12 years of working in education, she took the joy she felt teaching students how to write and transformed it into an alternative tutoring program, which has been super successful.
Katharine offers a variety of services through All the Write Colors, including one-on-one tutoring, summer camps, and writing clubs.
“One-on-one tutoring can be for students struggling with writing,” Katharine said. “Maybe they have dyslexia or ADHD and need a way to help improve writing and reading, or they are there for a creative writing experience.”
According to Katharine, she’ll start with a custom lesson for the child during a one-on-one tutoring session. That lesson could be spelling-related or phonics-related and is always hands-on. She tailors the child’s interests into her classes, so one child may have a lesson with Play-Doh while another child may play a custom game.
Katharine is trained through Orton-Gillingham and the Science of Reading, a method that “places a strong emphasis on systematically teaching phonics so that students understand the hows and whys behind reading.” She’s also trained in Reading and Writing Workshops, or a balanced literacy approach. This combination of training allows her to be child-centered and pull from an extensive repertoire of teaching strategies.
“I look at what reading and writing skills they know, what they do not know, what their interests are, and if they need hands-on experiences,” Katharine said. “And if they need hands-on experiences and are struggling with vowels and spelling, then we’ll take the five vowels and add hand gestures to each.”
Often, students are visual learners.
“Sometimes you need images you care about to connect to a letter,” Katharine said.
Then, during the second half of their one-on-one tutoring experience, she’ll have the child make a book about whatever topic they’d like to write about. Some children can’t write complete sentences or may be dyslexic, but Katherine will help write down whatever a child is imagining and has them tell the story out loud. The child will then draw or illustrate to add to the story.
During the session, she supports them and gives them tips about their writing.
Additionally, children have been able to dive into the fun world of writing and meet other friends at All the Write Colors summer camps Katharine has been hosting this summer. Katharine typically offers her one-on-one tutoring sessions out of her apartment in Plano, but Acton Academy Frisco has been on summer break and has let Katharine use their building to host her summer camps. When you walk into the building, the warm, bright decor instantly welcomes you, and books are displayed that children have published with Katharine. Katherine designed the warm decor to represent the All the Write Colors brand.
“A child would expect to feel really confident by the end of the week,” Katharine said about her summer camps.
At these summer camps, Katharine says she creates the “happiest learning environment” where kids feel welcomed and encouraged to write stories. Each week, the camp has a different theme, including “Save the Animals” and “Spooky Friends.” Katharine noticed on the first day of camp that kids were already hanging out together, feeling like a team and belonging.
“I want you to become an author and see that your voice matters and your ideas matter, and I want you to feel like you belong,” she said of her students who attend her summer camps.
There are a lot of steps that happen at the summer camps before a child can get their story published.
“Some kids might map out their story first using our positive-negative story map approach. Others might tell their story, and I’ll write it down on sticky notes for them. That way, it gets their ideas out without them worrying about spelling,” Katharine said. “Then they will slowly start typing it on Canva.”
Afterward, the children will design graphics or draw pictures to accompany each story scene. They’ll print out their story to create a paper book when that’s complete.
Some children want to take it a step further.
“A lot of kids now, though, are realizing I want to make money from this. I want to be an entrepreneur,” Katharine said.
Katharine provides all parents the option of self-publishing on their own, but she publishes many of the children’s stories through All the Write Colors’ Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account, which showcases their book to millions of people from around the world. Then, every quarter, she’ll report the profits to the kids’ families and send them a portion of the profits. Some families will order printed copies at a printer cost and then sell them in person to make more profit.
Katharine has several of these published books showcased right when you walk in the door for her summer camps so kids can see their potential while attending the camp.
Former students say Katharine has helped them have an outlet to express themselves and has helped them fall in love with reading and writing.
Katharine tutors children ages six through 14 years old. She’s finalizing one-on-one sessions for the fall and will announce writing club times in September. Any parent interested in fall activities and sessions is encouraged to follow All the Write Colors on social media for updates.
To learn more about All the Write Colors, visit allthewritecolors.com.