RI Center for the Book

Letters about literature

Letters About Literature
A national reading and writing contest sponsored by the Library of Congress and locally supported by The Center. Participants, ranging from grades 4-10, write a letter to an author whose work helped to change their personal view of themselves or the world.


Rhode Island students join 70,000 correspondents from across the nation in writing to authors who have made an impact on their lives. Winners receive national recognition and prizes. Rhode Island students in grades 4 – 12 are invited to take the Letters About Literature challenge by writing a personal letter to an admired author – someone who has written a book that has been an inspiration for change in their lives. By encouraging personal reader response and reflective writing, Letters About Literature supports meaningful reading and helps to create and celebrate successful writers. Teachers and librarians can download the directions and guidelines here for entering here: www.read.gov/letters.

Wondering why you should get involved with Letters About Literature? Read the quote from a Moses Brown teacher below:

At Moses Brown, teachers in all three divisions have been endeavoring to use Project Based Learning as a means to help students gain skills and competencies by focusing on particular problems or challenges. As a fifth grade English teacher, I have been looking for an authentic writing challenge that will engage my students as such. I was, therefore, pleased when Laura Gladding, the Lower School Librarian, forwarded me notice of the Letters About Literature contest put on by the Library of Congress. I told my students about it and we had many interesting literature based conversations as we discussed possible texts about which to write to authors. One aspect of a successful writing challenge is to have an authentic audience. My students were truly engaged by the idea of writing a letter to an author that they could both send to the author and submit for judging in a contest. Good Project Based Learning derives from an essential question. Our driving question quickly became, “What kind of letters to authors will do well in the Letters About Literature contest?” My class and I were able to work as a group to come up with elements of a rubric that connected to what they thought judges would appreciate, and which they could use to revise their letters. Again, the excitement about the contest and about the prospect of doing well in the contest motivated students to apply all that they had learned about revision to their own writing independently. The icing on the cake was when several of my students were invited to attend the awards ceremony as honorable mentions and semi­finalists. The excitement built around this ceremony inspired an upper school teacher to engage her students in the Letters About Literature contest next year. I am looking forward to further applying entry in this contest to our Project Based Learning Model at Moses Brown each year. I think it is a perfect match.

Carolyn Garth


2018 Letters About Literature Contest

2017 Letters About Literature Contest

2016 Letters About Literature Contest

2015 Letters About Literature Contest

2014 Letters About Literature Contest

2013 Letters About Literature Contest

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