Writing contest open to readers in grades four through 12 Print
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

MILWAUKEE -- A book is more than just a collection of words.

A book can have a direct and concrete impact on a life. For children and youth, a book can help them transcend difficult situations -- like bullying, peer pressure, or prejudice -- or help them cope with loss and disappointment.

Writing contest

Letters about Literature (LAL) is a writing contest for young readers in grades four through 12, sponsored by the Library of Congress and the Wisconsin Center for the Book. Students write a letter to an author of a fiction or nonfiction book, a short story, or a poem describing how the work changed the students' view of the world or of themselves. Students are asked to do reflective writing rather than a book report.

Entries are judged at both the state and national levels and prizes are awarded for the best letter at various grade levels. LAL awards thousands of dollars each year through state and national prizes.

This year, the 23rd annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by 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 promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations.

Last year, some 50,000 students from around the United States (including 400 from Wisconsin) entered the competition.

Program details

Details on the program can be found at www.read.gov/letters

The site also outlines lesson plans for teachers who want to incorporate the LAL program into their curriculum as well as information on how LAL relates to the Common Core State Standards.

There are two postmark deadlines for submissions. Submissions from grades nine through 12 must be postmarked by December 4, 2015; submissions from grades four through eight must be postmarked by January 11, 2016.

For more information, contact Mary Lou Santovec, Wisconsin coordinator LAL, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 920-945-0610 or 208 E. Prospect St., Lake Mills, WI 53551.

Wisconsin Center for the Book was created to celebrate the culture of the book.

The center celebrates books and the book arts, encourages the joy of reading and writing, and honors Wisconsin’s literary heritage. The center honors all aspects of the literary world and provides a link between our citizens and writers, illustrators, publishers, librarians, and educators.


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