Kids can win cash for reading a book and writing to the author

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If you live in Illinois and have a child between fourth grade and high school senior, there’s an opportunity to win cash in exchange for reading — and then writing about it.

The 2016 Letters About Literature contest is a national reading and writing competition sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book.

This gist is this: Students read a book, poem, or play; then they write a letter to the author about how the work changed their lives or view of the world. Students can enter on their own or through schools, libraries, or youth organizations.

There are three levels of participation:

  • Level I for grades four through six.
  • Level II for grades seven through eight.
  • Level III for grades nine through 12.

One Illinois winner is selected for each level and receives a $200 cash award.

Winning not only benefits the student, but also the school: Teachers of winning students receive a $100 cash award to purchase materials for the school library. Winners and teachers also are invited to an awards ceremony in Springfield. The state winners’ letters will be forwarded for national judging.

The deadline to enter is Friday, Dec. 4, for Level III and Monday, Jan. 11, for Levels I and II. State winners will be announced in April.

To download an entry form, click here. If you’re a teacher and are interested in downloading the teachers’ guides, click here for the first guide and here for the second. For additional information or general contest information, click here, or contact Bonnie Matheis at 217-558-2065 orbmatheis@ilsos.net.

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