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Letters About Literature Call For Entries

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The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana, in partnership with the Louisiana Writing Project, proudly announces its third consecutive year as state sponsor of Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest for students.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with Target Corporation and affiliate state centers for the book, annually invites readers in grades four through 12 to enter the Letters About Literature competition.

With the involvement of teachers, librarians, parents, the Louisiana Writing Project, and most importantly the participating students themselves, last year’s sponsorship of Letters About Literature by the Louisiana Center for the Book resulted in an amazing 1,097 entries, up from 42 entries in 2008 before the Center was a sponsor..

“We are so pleased with the increase in student participation in Letters About Literature since the Louisiana Center for the Book became a sponsor two years ago,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “This particular program is an exceptional way for us to encourage our youth to read; and because participation in the contest requires reflective reading, the contest emphasizes the personal rewards to be gained from the reading experience.”

To enter, the student reader writes a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre--fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, contemporary or classic--explaining how that author's work, whether book, short story, poem, essay, or speech, changed the reader's way of thinking about the world or themselves. The submission, in the form of a personal letter rather than a book report or fan letter, should express how the chosen book has impacted the reader’s life or worldview.

There are three competition levels: Level I for students in grades 4-6, Level II for grades 7-8 and Level III, grades 9-12. Entrants must be 9 years of age or older as of 9/1/11.  Grade levels refer to the 2011-12 school year.

The Letters About Literature contest is now open, and submissions must be sent directly to the national Letters About Literature address (Guidelines Individual 2012.pdf), postmarked by Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, and received by LAL Central no later than Tuesday, January 17, 2012.  Submissions inappropriately sent to the Louisiana Center for the Book will not be forwarded or returned.  See Official Rules for detailed information, national mailing address, and required entry coupon to be attached to each entry. Further information and detailed guidelines for Letters About Literature and the required downloadable entry coupon may be found at www.lettersaboutliterature.org (How to Enter).  Teachers and Librarians: see the specific attached instructions or website instructions regarding group submissions.  Individuals: Home schooled students and other individuals entering on their own are encouraged to also participate using the individual form, attached and available on the website.

LAL Central, the national Letters About Literature team, will choose the top 30-50 entries in each competition level from each state.  From these, a panel of Louisiana judges, primarily composed of Louisiana language arts teachers and librarians chosen in partnership with the Louisiana Writing Project, will choose a first, second, and third place winner for each grade level on or about March 15, to be announced as soon as possible thereafter.  State honorable mentions may be awarded at the sole discretion of the state judges.  The letters by the state first-place winners for each competition level are sent back to LAL Central where they are then in the running for the national awards.

State first-place winners will each receive a $50 Target GiftCard through the national organization.  Additionally, in Louisiana for the 2012 contest, winners in each competition level will receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place, made possible by a grant from Target Corporation.

National winners, announced in late April, receive additional prizes and earn for their community or school or library LAL Reading Promotion Grants valued at thousands of dollars.  For the upcoming 2012 contest, six National Winners will each receive a $500 Target GiftCard and will secure a $10,000 LAL Reading Promotion Grant in his/her name for a community or school library.  Twelve National Honorable Mention Winners will receive a $100 Target GiftCard and also secure for a school or community library a $1,000 LAL Reading Promotion Grant in his/her name.

Louisiana language arts teachers, school librarians, public children’s and YA librarians, and home school parents/instructors are encouraged to visit the Letters About Literature website for more information and lessons plans, and to incorporate the Letters About Literature into their curriculum and programming to facilitate Louisiana youth’s participation in and representation of our state in this rewarding reading and writing activity.

Lesson Plans: The Library of Congress provides free teaching materials, including lesson plans, writing samples, assessment checklists, and teacher tips--all downloadable through its website, www.lettersaboutliterature.org .

LAL focuses on reader response and reflective writing and supports educational standards established for reading and language arts as recommended by the International Reading Association and the National Council for the Teaching of English.



December 1, 2011


Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
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