Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12, sponsored by the Library of Congress National Center for the Book and Dollar General. Students are asked to read a book, poem, or speech and write to that author (living or dead) about how the work affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. Here are the Rules and Guidelines, and here is a Teaching Guide. The Letters About Literature Teaching Guide provides activities teachers and librarians can use to guide their students through the book discussion and letter-writing process. The guide addresses the LAL teaching strategies and ways in which the program can dovetail with national standards for teaching reading and writing as well as Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Also included are worksheets for duplication and assessment checklists.

The Empire State Center for the Book is a participant in the national Letters About Literature program.The state winners in the three age categories go on to represent New York at the national level.

There are three competition levels:
• Level 1 for grades 4-6; • Level 2 for grades 7-8; Level 3 for grades 9-12

Submission deadlines to the Library of Congress national program are:

Level 3 – December 4, 2015

Levels 1 & 2 – January 11, 2016

The Empire State Center for the Book’s Letters About Literature program will select a state winner and 1-2 finalists in each of the three age categories. The winners and finalists will receive certificates and cash awards. The winners will be recognized at the New York State Writers Hall of Fame Induction Gala on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, at the Princeton Club in New York City. The NYS Writers Hall of Fame is also a program of the Empire State Center for the Book.

National winners, announced in late April/early May, receive additional cash prizes. For more information, please visit the national web site at: http://www.read.gov/letters/

Please contact Ellen Rubin, NYS Letters About Literature Coordinator, with any questions at: ellenbr47 @ gmail.com