Engage Your Students and Young Patrons with the Annual Letters About Literature and Sequoyah Reading Programs
The Oklahoma Center for the Book’s 2016-2017 Letters About Literature contest is now accepting entries. There are cash prizes for the winning students and their libraries, and even more prizes at the national level through the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
To enter, young readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre—fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic—explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves.
There are three competition levels: Level I for children in grades 4 through 6; Level II for grades 7 and 8, and Level III, grades 9–12. Winners are announced in the spring of each year.
- Level III deadline — entries must be postmarked by December 2, 2016.
- Levels I & II deadline — entries must be postmarked by January 9, 2017.
Oklahoma students submitted 496 letters last year. Take a look at recent Oklahoma winners, and then view photos from last year’s state ceremony honoring these young readers and writers.
Sequoyah encourages Oklahoma students to read books of literary quality. OLA’s Sequoyah Reading Teams release masterlists of titles for each annual round. Then classrooms and libraries across the state are encouraged to promote the program with their young readers. Here’s how it works:
- Students in grades 3-5 who have read or listened to at least three titles from the Children’s Masterlist are eligible to vote for the Children’s Sequoyah Book Award.
- Students in grades 6-8 who have read or listened to at least three titles from the Intermediate Masterlist are eligible to vote for the Intermediate Sequoyah Book Award.
- Students in grades 9-12 who have read or listened to at least three titles from the High School Masterlist are eligible to vote for the High School Sequoyah Book Award.
Voting happens from February 1 to March 15 in classrooms and libraries throughout Oklahoma—and online. (We’ll let you know when voting opens!) The winning titles are announced in April.
For the past five years, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries has partnered with OLA and other sponsors to provide Sequoyah posters and lessons through The Oklahoman’s Newspapers in Education (NIE) service. The Sequoyah Book Award week promotion begins early in the school year each fall.
From 2012 to 2016, more than 2,100 individual classrooms and school libraries around the state signed up with NIE to receive the posters and lesson plans. More than 55,000 posters have been distributed to schools and public libraries for posting and for sharing with individual students. ODL also provides bookmarks for each masterlist, and this year we also gave away reading logs, reading certificates, and “I voted” stickers.
OK, young people, get readin’! We can’t wait to find out what books win this time around!
(NOTE: ODL’s participation in the Sequoyah Book Awards program is courtesy of funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.)