Letters About Literature National Reading-Writing Contest

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with Target Stores and in cooperation with affiliate state centers for the book, invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author explaining how that author's work changed the reader's way of thinking about the world or themselves. There are three competition levels: Level I for grades 4 through 6; Level II for grades 7 and 8, and Level III, grades 9 - 12. Winners, announced in the spring of each year, receive cash awards at the national and state levels. National winners also earn for their school or community library reading promotion grants worth thousands of dollars! Deadline for our next competition is December 6, 2008.

Contest Update: September 8, 2008

At first, students were stymied about how not to write a fan letter. Continual coaching, encouragement, and your excellent guidelines and teaching files helped them correspond with authors in a revelatory way. This was a new way of writing for them. Their initial intensity about wanting to win became redirected as we practiced applying your lesson-plan ideas. —Kate Denault, Mountainside, New Jersey

Books have wings. You can't see them, but they are there just the same. On books' wings, readers can soar to new places where they meet intriguing characters and experience exciting adventures. But a book's wings can also help a reader rise above difficult situations, like peer pressure, bullying or prejudice, or to cope with disappointment and loss. Have you ever felt the power and lift of literature? Has one book, or perhaps one author, inspired you to change your view of yourself or of your world? If so, we encourage you to enter this year's Letters About Literature writing competition. It's easy. All you have to do is write a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work affected you.

LAL isn't your ordinary book report assignment! We eliminate all letters that just summarize the book's plot. Why? Because you are writing to the author and the author already knows what happened, right? Instead, we look for letters that are personal (that means, about you, your thoughts, your feelings), conversational, and informative!

Entry guidelines and "official rules" are also available on the LAL page at the Libary of Congresss Website at this URL: http://www.loc.gov/letters. Meanwhile, browse our site using the menu at the left and read some of the great winning letters from this year's competition! We look forward to receiving your letter this year!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Thanks for the Letters About Literature shout out! THe contest is on again for 09-10 with a mid-December deadline. For contest updates, free teaching materials, and samples of winning letters check out our NEW web site:
-Sarah Post, Asst. Director, LAL