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Library of Congress and New York Center for the Book sponsor youth reading and writing contest
Library of Congress and New York Center for the Book sponsor youth reading and writing contestOctober 02, 2007Pamela McLaughlinpwmclaug@syr.edu
The New York Center for the Book, located at Syracuse University Library, is again collaborating with the Library of Congress in an annual, nationwide program to encourage reading and writing among students.
Letters About Literature (LAL) is a national reading and writing promotion program for students in grades 4-12, sponsored by the Center for the Book and the Library of Congress in partnership with Target. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, explaining how his or her work changed their view of the world or themselves. Entrants can select authors from any genre — fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. Judges representing the New York State Center for the Book will select the top essayists in the state on three competition levels: Level I for grades 4-6; Level II for grades 7 and 8 and Level III for grades 9-12. Essays will be assessed on three criteria: content, or the writer’s achievement in addressing the theme; exposition, or the writer’s use of language skills; and voice, the writer’s style and originality of expression.
The required entry coupon and a copy of the “how to enter” guidelines can be found on the New York Center for the Book page at http://library.syr.edu/nybook/Activities.html or on the LAL webpage at the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/letters.html). Teaching materials are also available to schools, libraries and home school partnerships on the LAL website. The deadline for entries is Dec. 14, 2007.
New York’s first-place winners will advance to national judging. A panel of national judges for Letters About Literature will select six national winners who will receive a $500 Target GiftCard, plus earn for their community or school library a $10,000 reading promotion grant. In addition, 12 national honorable mentions will each receive a $100 Target GiftCard, plus earn for their community or school library a $1,000 reading promotion grant.
“To be able to give such a generous gift to his or her hometown or school library is an empowering experience for a young person,” says Catherine Gourley, LAL’s national project director. “The goal of these grants is not only to recognize our young readers, but also to bring personal reading experiences to other young people across the country.”
LAL is one of the Center for the Book’s most successful literacy programs for adolescents. Last year, more than 55,000 young people from across the nation entered the competition. “Yes, we do read every one of those letters!” Gourley says. “Some are very moving, very personal. The competition is pretty stiff.” Letters that summarize the plot or are nothing more than fan letters are eliminated during the first round of judging, Gourley says.
Target sponsors Letters About Literature as part of its commitment to supporting education and early childhood reading. Target recognizes the integral role reading plays in shaping a child’s future, because reading is the foundation for lifelong learning and success. Since opening its doors, Target has given 5 percent of its income to organizations that support education, the arts, and safe families and communities. Today, that equates to $3 million every week.
The Center for the Book was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its activities and national reading promotion networks, visit http://www.loc.gov/cfbook.
The New York Center for the Book at SU Library is a state affiliate of the national Center. Information about the New York Center for the Book is available at http://nybook.org or by calling (315) 443-9518.