Writing Contest Encourages Community Story Sharing

Writing Contest Encourages Community Story Sharing

Writing is a hobby which can help kids and adults in many areas of life including academics, careers, and even relationships. In general, being able to write clearly helps people work through their own thoughts and express their emotions. Writing fiction in particular can build a stronger sense of empathy. In 2013, researchers at The New School in New York City found that reading fiction helped people perform better on tests of their ability to understand what others were thinking or feeling. Writing fiction requires a similarly empathetic process of deciding what characters feel and how those feelings lead to actions.  This summer, the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield is encouraging children and young adults to foster their creative and expressive abilities through a short story writing contest this summer!

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New York Times Summer Reading Contest for Teens Inspires Literacy via Current Affairs

New York Times Summer Reading Contest for Teens

New York Times Summer Reading Contest for Teens helps them become more aware and interested in current world affairs. Following their own interests,  teens are self-direct in their choices of what to read and write about. Every Friday from June 12 – Aug 14, teens can look for the prompt, “What interested you most in The Times this week?” Teens anywhere in the world can post their answers, offering them an international perspective of current affairs through the eyes of their peers.

For many teens, summer can be a whirlwind of activity – between outdoor explorations, visiting friends, working on hobby projects, and maybe some volunteer work or a part-time job, there often isn’t much free time left! However, many schools send students home with a list of books – some required, some suggested – that they are to read and fully digest during their break from classes. Adding some educational material to the summer isn’t a bad thing – though teens can be very busy, it’s also quite healthy for them to stimulate their intellectual curiosity. School lists can include everything from Fyodor Dostoevsky to Barbara Kingsolver, and are compiled with the students’ learning and growth in mind.

The New York Times is, for the sixth summer in a row, offering an additional way for teens to learn and grow through summer reading. However, instead of focusing on major literary works, the program uses the Times’ own content as “required” reading. The New York Times Summer Reading Contest asks teenagers to read at least one interesting news item per week, and to share a brief piece of writing about why the piece sparked their interest. Open to students ages 13-19, the contest allows for one entry per week – meaning that students are welcome to read as many pieces as they want, but that they must choose a single one to write their submission on. After the week has ended, one student opinion will be posted on the New York Times website!

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3 Wishes Writing Contest for Elementary Kids

Three Wishes Writing Contest

South Hadley's independent book store, Odyssey Bookshop, hosts their annual creative writing contest for kids ages 5-11years old. Deadline to enter: April 11, 2012.

If your child had three wishes, what would their wishes be and where would they take them?  The Odyssey Bookshop’s annual children’s creative writing contest’s theme this year is “Wishes” – kids ages 5-11 years old can enter by writing a story or essay addressing their three wishes.

The contest’s goal is to get kids to practice writing creatively and to learn to articulate their thoughts and express themselves freely.  Essays can be submitted in either English or Spanish, and kids are welcome to include their own illustrations.  There are prizes available for each grade/age range, and there are special prizes for the best Spanish story and the best original illustration.

Kids ages 8-11/grades 3-5 should type their stories (a great opportunity to learn about word processing!), but kids ages 6-8/grades 1-2 are encouraged to practice their best handwriting for their submission.

The deadline to enter is April 11th – so get writing!  For more information, visit the Odyssey Bookshop’s website at www.odysseybks.com.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Allan Foster]

Intergenerational Interview & Writing Project

Listen to a Life
An Intergenerational Writing/Interviewing Project

Participating in the Listen to a Life project affords students the opportunity to learn to appreciate experiences of elders in their community and the value of their advice and guidance, something that is too often missing within American communities.

A loss of information and experiences between generations is accepted as relatively normal within American culture- but as each generation misses out on learning about those before them, valuable lessons and stories are lost.  In order to encourage learning from older community members, kids can participate in a unique intergenerational  interview and writing project, the Listen to a Life Contest!

The Listen to a Life Contest calls for students ages 8-18 to interview a community member over the age of 50 (who is not their parent) about their hopes and goals over the course of their life, the ways in which they achieved their goals or overcame obstacles, and how their goals may have changed or evolved over the course of time.  Students are then asked to write an essay (up to 300 words) on the information that they’ve learned.  There are great prizes available to winners (including a computer, EdOptions products for the student’s school, and more!), but the more valuable parts of the contest aren’t prizes.

By conducting interviews and writing the essay, students will learn about and reflect on the changes that take place throughout life and the process of becoming older and wiser as a result of experience.  Students will learn to appreciate the experiences of their elders and will hopefully also learn to value the advice and guidance of older community members- something that is too often missing within American communities.  To learn more about the contest, visit www.tcpnow.com.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Ronn Aldaman]

Deadline this Friday! – Summer Fiction Writing Contest

Nancy Ann Foley, of Western MassCOSH in Springfield, MA shares the following summer fiction writing  contest, open to any young person ages 9 through 16:

If only there had been more…

The Western Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health is sponsoring a summer fiction contest (short story) for young people ages 9 through 16. Top prize is $100. Deadline for entries is Friday, August 14, 2009.

Each short story will begin with the words, “If only there had been more…” Authors can finish the first sentence in any way they like.

Entries will be considered in two age categories: Ages 9-12 and ages 13-16. A prize of $100 will be awarded to the winner in each of the categories. A maximum of three honorable mentions will be named for each category. The winning stories will be posted on the Western MassCOSH website at wmasscosh.org.


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Be Kind to Animals Week: Writing & Art Contest for Kids

Be Kind to Animals Week

The Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society & The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art present Be Kind to Animals Week Writing and Art Contest, for kids in grades K-6th, in celebration of Be Kind to Animals Week (Week of May 4-10, 2008). Click on the above poster to read the contest rules. Entry Deadline: Friday, April 18, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.

All contestants will be honored and prizes will be awarded at the Be Kind to Animals Week Reading and Art Show Celebration on Saturday, May 10 at 3:00 pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Entries will be on display at the Eric Carle Museum on May 5-10, 2008.

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