Neag School of Education Selected as Connecticut Sponsor for Library of Congress’ National “Letters About Literature” Contest

Letters About LiteratureThe Neag School of Education is proud to announce its selection as the Connecticut sponsor for the Letters About Literature (LAL) writing contest for students in grades 4-12. The Neag School was awarded the sponsorship as a result of its sustained commitment to educational outreach in the areas of literature study, reading, and writing.

LAL is a national contest in which elementary, middle, and high school students are asked to read a book, poem, or speech and write a personal letter to that author (living or dead) about how the text affected them personally.

Wendy Glenn, a Neag School professor and the LAL faculty representative for Connecticut, says the Neag School’s involvement will help foster students’ literacy skills and promote professional development opportunities for educators. Graduate students from the Neag School teacher education program, along with schoolteachers from across the state, will also serve as judges at the state competition.

“Through advertising and advocacy, the Neag School will share information about the program among classroom teachers in the state and increase opportunities for young people to participate,” Glenn says. “Additionally, the School’s sponsorship will provide professional development for teachers serving as judges. Upon the selection of the Connecticut state winners, the Neag School will celebrate and share the success of these young writers, highlighting the value of reading and writing.”

The Neag School is Connecticut’s first state-level sponsor of the LAL program in five years. Glenn says sponsoring the program is important in that it gives students the opportunity to write authentically and think creatively about literature.

“Through this process, young people think deeply and critically about a text that matters to them,” she says. “This element of choice fosters engagement and encourages both skill development and play.”

Winners from each state for each of contest’s three categories (grades 4-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-12) will receive a cash prize and state recognition and advance to the national competition. Tens of thousands of students nationwide are expected to enter the 23rd annual LAL contest, made possible by a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The theme of the 2015-2016 competition is: “How did an author’s work change your view of the world or yourself?”

Entries are due by Dec. 4, 2015 for students in grades 9-12 (Level 3) and by Jan. 11, 2016 for students in grades 7-8 (Level 2) and students in grades 4-6 (Level 1). National winners at each level will receive a $1,000 cash award, and national honor winners will receive a $200 cash award. Prizes for winners at the state level vary.

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