Letters About Literature

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What is Letters About Literature?

The  24th Annual Letters about Literature contest, sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a writing and reading contest for students in grades 4-12.   Students write a letter to the author (living or dead) of a book that affected them personally.  This is not a book report or a fan letter, but a sincere account of how an author's story personally affected the reader. This contest could be an excellent project for a class or for individual students.

Where do teachers & librarians get more information?

For those who would make a class project of Letters About Literature, there is a Teacher's Guide with lots of useful suggestions and examples.  The guide is newly revised and comprehensive; it includes information on how the contest meets several sets of standards, including Common Core Standards.   

Prizes are awarded in three categories on the state and national level.  Go to Letters About Literature on the Library of Congress website and read some of the past winners' letters - don't forget to check out the envelope art!  Then read the Rules and Guidelines to find out how students or entire classes can enter.  

Congratulations to Miles Maxcer, Idaho's 2014-2015 1st place winner, on a job well done! Read  Miles' winning letter here.  We can't wait to see what the 2016-2017 contest year will bring!

When does this have to be done?

Entries will be accepted starting November 2, 2016

Entries for the  2016 - 2017 Contest Entry must be postmarked by:

Level 3 (Grades 9-12) - December 2, 2016

Level 2 ( Grades 7 & 8) - January 9, 2017 

Level 1 (Grades 4-6)  - January 9, 2017

Print the cool new entry guidelines here.  The entry coupon is on the bottom of Page 2 of the form.

Teacher's Guide for Letters About Literature activities for good letter writing.

Happy reading and writing!

The 24th 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.

Congratulations to Idaho's

2016 Letters About Literature Award Winners!

Thank you to all the students, teachers, and librarians who worked on letters, inspired students, and sent letters to the Library of Congress for the 2016 contest!  Idaho had about 20% more entries this year over last and we hope to continue that trend next year.  

This year's award winners are:

Level 1 - Grades 4-6:

First Place: Elise St. Clair, Grade 5, I.B. Perrine Elementary School in Twin Falls.

Second Place: Thomas Quarve, Grade 5, St. Paul's Catholic School in Nampa.

Third Place: Amaya Fischer, Grade 5, St. Paul's Catholic School in Nampa.

Honorable Mention: Ethan Johnson, Grade 5, St. Paul's Catholic School in Nampa.

Level 2 - Grades 7-8: 

First Place: Talia Walsmith, Grade 8, River City Middle School in Post Falls.

Second Place: Mya Klein, Grade 7, Idaho Falls Public Library in Idaho Falls.

Third Place: Laurel Hicke, Grade 7, Individual Entry in Moscow.

Honorable Mention: Moriah Godwin, Grade 8, River City Middle School in Post Falls.

Level 3: Grades 9-12: 

First Place: Ashlyn Yevchak, Grade 10, Timberline High School in Boise.

Second Place: Alexa Swanstrom, Grade 10, Timberline High School in Boise.

Third Place: Emma Clark, Grade 11, Individual Entry in Moscow.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Clements, Grade 10, Fruitland High School in Fruitland.

Many thanks to the following organizations and individuals for their support of Letters About Literature, especially to our guest judges:

Stan Steiner, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, Dept. of Literacy, Language & Culture, College of Education, Boise State University.

Susan Swetnam, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Idaho State University.

Ron McFarland, Ph.D.,  Professor, Dept. of English, University of Idaho.