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State library announces Letters About Literature contest


The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana announces the 24th annual Letters About Literature (LAL) contest, a national reading and writing competition for students, sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and coordinated in state by the Louisiana Center.

To enter, fourth through twelfth grade students write a personal letter to an author of any genre, living or dead, explaining how that author’s book, poem, or play changed the students’ views of the world or themselves. Students may enter through their schools or local libraries, or on their own.

There are  three competition levels: Level 1 for grades 4 – 6, Level 2 for grades 7 – 8, and Level 3 for grades 9 – 12.

The national LAL team selects finalists from each state for each competition level; then Louisiana winners are chosen by a panel of judges including teachers and librarians from throughout the state. Louisiana winners receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place and are honored at the Louisiana Book Festival. First place winning letters are submitted to the Library of Congress for the national competition with the chance of winning up to $1,000.

Each student’s letter and entry coupon—available online—must be sent directly to Letters About Literature, c/o Project Manager C. Gourley, 81 Oliver St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705. Note that the earlier postmark deadline for Level 3 is Nov. 2, and the deadline  for Levels 1 and 2 is Jan. 9. The entry forms and information, as well as teacher’s guide with lesson plans, may be downloaded at www.read.gov/letters.

This annual writing contest for young readers has been made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and by gifts to the Library of Congress fund and 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.

In Louisiana, the contest is made possible by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana with the assistance of the Louisiana Writing Project and the Louisiana Library and Book Festival Foundation. Funding for prizes is provided by the Library of Congress grant.

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