Library of Congress Announces Young Readers National Writing Contest

Letters About Literature, the Library of Congress reading-and-writing contest now in its 26th year, is accepting applications beginning Nov. 1 for the 2018-19 cycle. For the first time, letters will be submitted electronically.

Letters About Literature asks students in grades 4-12 to read a book, poem, speech, or essay by an author, living or dead, to think about how that work affected them and to write to the author on the work’s impact.

Students compete on the state and national level and receive cash prizes of up to $2,000. Deadlines are December 14, 2018 or January 11, 2019, depending on the applicant’s state. See details at

Research shows that children gain greater understanding of what they have read when they are given frequent opportunities to respond to it, especially through writing.

The writing response, in turn, helps to develop students’ critical reading and thinking skills. This reading-writing link is at the heart of the Letters About Literature program.

The contest is made possible through a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which administers the program through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

Since 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $159 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 10 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency.

The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading promotion partners, and through the Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress.

Source: US Library of Congress

Ed. Note: North Carolina deadline is January 11, 2019.

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