Thursday, September 17, 2009

Letters About Literature contest announced by NY Center for the Book

The 2010 Letters About Literature contest is now open and New York Center for the Book director Pamela McLaughlin is encouraging students in grades 4-12 to enter. Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing contest sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the New York Center for the Book, in partnership with Target.

To enter the contest, students write a letter to their favorite author, living or deceased, describing how his or her work changed their view of the world or of themselves. "Students really enjoy this contest and those who read their letters can readily see how literature influences and inspires young people. I hope thousands of New York students will participate this year," said McLaughlin of the program. A winner from New York State, Jared Dauman of Chappaqua, won a national honorable mention at Level 2 in the 2009 contest. Read his and other winning letters here.

There are three levels of participation: Level 1 for grades 4, 5 & 6, Level 2 for grades 7 & 8, and Level 3 for grades 9 – 12. First, second, and third place winners for each level are selected by a panel of judges in New York State. First place winners receive a $100 prize from the New York Center for the Book and a $50 Target gift card. Second place winners receive a $50 prize and third place winners receive $25. First place winning letters also advance to the national competition, where two national winners and four national honorable mentions are selected at each level. National winners receive a $500 gift card and national honorable mentions receive a $100 gift card, provided by Target.

Target also awards a $10,000 reading promotion grant to the school or community library of each national first place winner. National honorable mention winners receive a $1,000 grant for their school or community library.

The deadline to enter the contest is December 12, 2009. State winners will be announced in May 2010. More information about the contest and entry forms are located here.

Target sponsors "Letters About Literature" as part of its national reading initiative, "Ready. Sit. Read!," which is aimed at fostering a love of reading among children at an early age.

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