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Texas State Library Seeks Student Letters


Has a book brought you to laughter, tears or changed your life? Write a letter to the author. See the 2018 Winners!

Letters About Literature is a reading/writing contest for fourth-12th-grade students under the direction of the Library of Congress.

State winners receive $100 and a trip to the Texas Library Association Conference. National winners receive $2,000 and travel assistance to Washington D.C. for a special awards ceremony.

Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. See this printable handout as a frame of reference for key information.


There are three categories for contestants:  

Level 1 – Grades 4-6
Level 2 – Grades 7-8
Level 3 – Grades 9-12.

READ – Select a fiction or nonfiction book, a poem or play you have read that you feel strongly about. (Sorry, no song lyrics!) It might be a book that helped you through a difficult time, or it might be a book that simply touched your heart or inspired you.

REFLECT – Think before you write. How did this author’s work change you or your view of the world? How and why are you different now than you were before you read this work?

PERSUADE – Write a personal letter to the author stating how reading his or her work changed you. Be personal and persuasive! Support your ideas with specific details, including details from the work itself. This is not a fan letter, but rather a reflection on how an author influenced you.

WRITE – Type your entry in letter format. All submitted letters must be typed.

SUBMIT – Upload your letter to the new online submission platform. Be sure to read the submission steps and official rules from the Library of CongressA permission form is required for all students entering who will be under the age of 13 on Nov. 11, 2018.

Plan to make sure entries are in by Dec. 14, 2018.

Need some tips to get started? Not sure how to write a personal letter? Visit Letters About Literature website to read winning letters from past competitions and to access the Letters About Literature Teaching Guide (PDF).

Here are the complete Rules and Guidelines for 2018 (PDF).


The Library of Congress has an FAQ sheet on their website: www.read.gov/letters. Link to the online submission form will be available by Nov. 1, 2018.

All fourth-12th graders are invited to participate! Read a book or poem and write a letter. Texas submissions for the 2018-2019 contest are due to the new online submission platform by Dec. 14, 2018. Be sure to read the submission steps and official rules set by the Library of Congress. A permission form is required for all students under the age of 13 on Nov. 1, 2018. The contest will open on Nov. 1, 2018.