Many authors have started their publishing careers in children’s literature after participating in or winning writing contests: Sharon Draper, Tim Wynne-Jones, Grace Lin, and Cynthia Leitich Smith, just to name a few.
Writing contests provide an authentic writing opportunity for our students. We can even use writing contests for standardized writing assessment preparation. In writing contests, students respond to a writing prompt and write for an unknown audience.
On behalf of the University of Michigan – Dearborn’s Young Authors’ Festival Committee, I invite all third- through fifth-grade students to participate in this year’s writing contest. This year’s theme is leadership or being in charge. Students are encouraged to write a poem, essay, or narrative about a time they experienced leadership. There is a 500-word limit. Entries must be typed, include a coversheet, and be submitted by October 12, 2018.
Pre-service teachers enrolled in a K-6 writing methodology course will evaluate the writing entries and determine the first, second, and third place winners for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. A grand prize winner is also chosen. Writers will be awarded Barnes and Noble gift cards: $100 for the grand prize, $75 for first, $50 for second, and $25 for third. Writers will also be invited to attend this year’s Young Authors’ Festival (YAF) on Saturday, November 10, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Mardigian Library on the University of Michigan – Dearborn Campus.
Families are invited to this year’s free YAF to hear honorarium, Mark Crilley, share his experiences as a graphic novelist. Highlighting his book Akiko on the Planet Smoo, the first book in a ten-book series, families will learn details of Crilley’s writing and publication processes. The event includes interactive breakout sessions led by pre-service teachers enrolled in a children’s literature course. Parents will also have an opportunity to participate in breakout sessions led by pre-service teachers in the writing course.
Encourage your students to submit a writing contest entry. Invite your students and their families to attend the YAF. We look forward to reading your students’ writing in October. We hope to see you in November!