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Reading Rockets And Adlit.Org Join National Children’s Book And Literacy Alliance For Creative Writing Contest About The White House

Contest launches on Inauguration Day; Entries due on Presidents Day

Reading Rockets And Adlit.Org Join National Children’s Book And Literacy Alliance For Creative Writing Contest About The White House

-- Contest launches on Inauguration Day; Entries due on Presidents Day --

Coinciding with the inauguration of the new U.S. president, WETA’s Reading Rockets and AdLit.org kick off a national creative writing contest, “Letters from the White House,” which invites youngsters from preschool through high school to imagine life in the Executive Mansion.

In partnership with the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA), the project is part of the celebration of the American history publication, Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.

The “Letters from the White House” contest encourages students to write letters and journal entries that explore the history of America and tap into their own creativity when they imagine and write about themselves in a role from a past, present or future White House.

“Writing is a great way to work on reading skills,” says Noel Gunther, executive director of Reading Rockets and AdLit.org. “Writing helps students build vocabulary, comprehension and spelling skills, which all feed into reading improvement.”

The contest has five competition levels: Level I, PreK and K; Level II, grades 1-3; Level III, grades 4-6; Level IV, grades 7-9; and Level V, grades 10-12. Grand-prize winners from each competition level will have their letters or journal entries published on ReadingRockets.org and AdLit.org; receive a copy of Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, from Candlewick Press; win a stationery set and journal from Peaceable Kingdom Press and a $100 gift certificate from Better World Books.

The contest will launch on January 20, 2009, Inauguration Day, with entries due on February 16, 2009, Presidents Day. Five finalists will be chosen in each competition level and a grand-prize winner will be named in each level on April 30, 2009, the 100th day of the new presidential term.

A grand-prize winner from each competition level will be selected by a panel of judges whose members have lived or worked at the White House. Entries will be judged on creativity, illustrations (in Levels I and II), character development, research and factual accuracy, and grammar and spelling. Invented spelling will be accepted for Levels I and II. Entries must be no more than 350 words. For official contest rules, selection criteria and contest resources, click here.

About the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance
The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA) is a not-for-profit organization founded by award-winning young people’s authors and illustrators. Acting as an independent creative agent or in partnership with interested parties, the NCBLA develops original projects, programs, and educational outreach that advocate for and educate about literacy, literature, libraries, and the arts. The main goal of the NCBLA is to make issues related to young people’s literacy, literature, and libraries an ongoing priority on our national agenda.

About Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
Introduced by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out is an anthology of poetry, prose and art by 108 renowned authors and illustrators. The collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and original art, offers a multifaceted look at more than 200 years of American history through the prism of the White House.

About Reading Rockets and AdLit.org
Reading Rockets and AdLit.org are a service of public television station WETA Washington, D.C. Reading Rockets uses television, the Internet, print and outreach to disseminate research-based information about teaching young children how to read and helping those who struggle. Reading Rockets is funded primarily by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

AdLit.org is a national multimedia project offering information and resources to parents and educators of struggling adolescent readers and writers. AdLit.org is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and by the Ann B. and Thomas L. Friedman Family Foundation. In addition to Reading Rockets, sister sites include LDOnLine.org, the world’s leading website on learning disabilities and ADHD; and ColorinColorado.org, the first major, comprehensive bilingual website for Spanish-speaking families and teachers of English-language learners.

WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television and the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital. WETA productions and co-productions include The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal; America at a Crossroads; and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including the upcoming series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, airing in the fall of 2009. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of WETA. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at weta.org.

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