The History of Invitations

Director of the University of Iowa's Writing Lab (now the Writing Center) from 1986 to 1989, Lou Kelly developed sequences of Invitations to help students with any stage of the writing process--from planning to polishing. Kelly was impressed by the quality of work that students produced, even though these students had been "sent" to the Writing Center to address problems with their writing. Today, tutors in the Writing Center still use Invitations to learn more about their students and to give their students practice with planning, drafting, and developing an essay that the tutors and student can disscuss in a constructive, helpful environment. Some of the initial Invitations in Kelly's sequences (for example, "Self as Writer" and "Self as Reader") elicit information about writers' literacy backgrounds---the kinds of writing and reading they have done inside and outside of school and how they feel about it.  

Kelly explains her use of Invitations in her book From Dialogue to Discourse: An Open Approach to Competence and Creativity (Glenview, Illinois: Scott Foresman, l972) as well as in her in-house publication, Context and Response.