Letters About Literature Contest

Attention, Connecticut school teachers: The Neag School of Education, the Connecticut Writing Project, and the UConn Department of English invite your students to enter the 26th annual Letters About Literature contest, sponsored by the Library of Congress.

LAL logo with partners

What is Letters About Literature?

Each year, the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress holds a reading and writing contest known as Letters About Literature for students in grades 4-12.

Students are asked to read a book, poem, or speech and write a letter to that author (living or dead) about how the text affected them personally. Letters are judged on the state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year.

How is the University of Connecticut involved?

UConn’s Neag School of Education, along with the Connecticut Writing Project and UConn’s Department of English, are the contest’s designated sponsors for the state of Connecticut for the 2018-19 academic year.

Contest judges from Connecticut will include current Neag teacher education students and teacher-consultants of the Connecticut Writing Project from across the state. These judges will select the best Letters About Literature submitted by Connecticut students at each of the three competition levels:

  • Level 1: grades 4 – 6
  • Level 2: grades 7 – 8
  • Level 3: grades 9 – 12 
Each Connecticut student chosen as a contest winner will receive a prize and state recognition. Their submissions will then go on to be considered for prizes at the national level.

Contest Rules

Read this year’s official rules, guidelines, and deadlines.

Click Here to Learn About the 2018 Winners
Click here to read more about the 2018 Contest Winners.

Resources for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents

  • The Letters About Literature Teaching Guide provides activities teachers 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.

Deadlines and Prizes

Prizes will be awarded in Spring 2019 at the state and national levels, in each of the three competition levels:

  • Level 1: grades 4 – 6  (Submission deadline: Jan. 11, 2019)
  • Level 2: grades 7 – 8  (Submission deadline: Jan. 11, 2019)
  • Level 3: grades 9 – 12  (Submission deadline: Jan. 11, 2019)


Email Doug Kaufman at douglas.kaufman@uconn.edu or Jason Courtmanche at jason.courtmanche@uconn.edu.

For more information, visit the Letters About Literature page on the Library of Congress website at read.gov/letters.

Sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, made possible by a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.