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Holly Van Houten

Holly Van Houten has decades of experience preparing young writers with the skills they need to succeed. In addition to teaching Literature and Writing at The HuckleBerry Center for Creative Learning, in Valencia, California since 2009, Holly taught in the USC Freshman Writing Department for 10 years, while completing her Ph.D. coursework in English and American Literature.  Holly has also taught in the English departments at Pepperdine University, California State University, Northridge, and California State University, Long Beach. She has helped young scholars become confident writers for over 30 years and has successfully prepared students of all abilities for college-level writing.

Parent and Student Feedback

July 2024

Hello Holly,


We hope you have been well and are enjoying a light summer between school years.  It has been three years since Maegan graduated from Huckleberry, but I was just reminded (again) of how lucky our families are to have been part of your teaching journey, and wanted to share.  Thank you for your caring, and for all the lifelong gifts you impart.


While my note is prompted by just having finished Reader, Come Home, The Reading Brain in a Digital World, by Maryanne Wolf (admittedly, and perhaps ironically, I listened to the audio book) ☺️ I recognize your influences in Maegan, consistently and often.  Thinking back, I smile as I recall her enthusiasm and creativity as she and her friends completed class assignments, nurtured and motivated by your openness to their unique processes and desires.  Your lessons simultaneously taught the useful tools of time-management, attention to detail, and the value of structure (and flexibility), while instilling a sense of confidence in their abilities to accomplish those goals with creativity and individuality.  You ignited and cultivated their curious analytical eyes, and their appreciation for knowledge and good writing in any form, including literature, poetry, speech, critical analysis, or an editorial opinion.  You changed and enhanced the way they look at the world, and literally altered their capacity to do so.  (And I’m fairly certain that your requirement to purchase paperback books had many reasons, including some benefits I just learned… my favorites, and possibly hers as well, reinforcing Maegan’s fondness for the actual feel and smell of books, and the idea of tucking a book into her bag to read for pleasure, maybe avoiding boredom or filling a free moment in the day) 😀


With another semester of teaching behind you, my husband and I just wanted to let you know how much you are appreciated.  We hope it brings you great pleasure to know you’re unleashing another group of very capable young adults into the world.   Thanks, again!



Dear Holly,

I was able to eavesdrop on your class a few times earlier and I found it to be a glimpse of how education should actually be in America:
Students were engaged, active debate and discussion, and appropriate feedback.
-G.G.  Huck Parent & History Instructor

Dear Holly,

I made a little video for you to let you know how much I appreciate you!

- HM - Student

It's been over a decade since I've taken one of Holly's classes, but I still think back to her lessons whenever I have to write something. She taught me many valuable lessons regarding essay writing, and helped grow my understanding of the English language. I will always be thankful for having Holly as a Language Arts teacher.

DG - Student

Holly provided such a strong foundation in Language Arts for my son. Even though she teaches such valuable lessons, she teaches in ways that do not appear as 'hard work' because she is engaging the students in every way. Any student who is lucky enough to take one of Holly's classes will have amazing Language Arts skills for life!


My daughter has received so many writing awards in college it's hard to keep up!  Professors refer other students to her to get help with MLA style writing, better analysis, how to write an intro, etc.  But she wasn't always such an amazing writer.  In 4th grade she ran running away from the charter school testing site because they wanted her to write an essay about a dog.  But then she had Miss Holly for her classes from 5th grade - 8th grade, and it made all the difference.  Holly made thinking the priority so my daughter and her friends could spend time in class thinking about why something was happening in a story, what the author wanted her to think about, what were the layers to a character.  She always learned a bit about herself and the world in each book they read.  Under Holly's continuous guidance, her thinking and her writing got progressively better as each year went by.  Each paper would focus on improving one aspect of her writing.  By the time she was in 9th grade she was ready for community college writing classes where she was fully prepared to succeed.  She continued on to university where she could focus on learning, not on learning to write.  She already had that skill mastered.  So many thanks to Holly for helping her in such a crucial skill that she will use for the rest of her life!



Holly Van Houten

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