Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Citizen Writer Challenge is ON!

New Writing Contest Emphasizes Civics, Citizenship, and Communities

Reading Rockets and are back with a new writing contest! Citizen Writer offers great writing prompts with connections to civics, citizenship, and our communities.  

This year's contest challenges students to think and learn more about America's people, places, and ideals as they write. To inspire maximum creativity, four very different kinds of writing prompts are being offered, each designed to match students' interests and stretch their creative skills. For kids who enjoy visualizing their ideas, the mapmaking challenge could be a perfect fit; or, if you have students gifted in music and poetry, they might want to try the songwriting and verse challenge. As always, each prompt includes links to helpful background resources.

There are four grade levels for entries:

Level I: K-grade 2
Level II: grades 3-5
Level III: grades 6-8
Level IV: grades 9-12

Prize winners will have their work published on and and will receive a gift basket of age-appropriate books and a personalized certificate.

All contest entries must be received by April 30, 2011.

Begin Your Research with Our White House!
To get your young writers in the spirit for the contest, be sure to check out the excellent resources on civic education at This educational website is a companion to the remarkable book Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, created by the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance and published by Candlewick Press. 

Our White House is designed to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive. The illustrations, essays, short stories, presidential letters, personal reflections, and historical accounts in Our White House inform and entertain, offering a window on more than 200 years of American history. Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback. The new paperback edition features a NEW poem by Nikki Grimes about President Obama’s inauguration!