I am a huge proponent of literacy programs for kids. Reading, vocabulary, and writing skills are strong predictors for success in life. So I was excited to find that Reading Rockets — a national literacy initiative of WETA, the PBS station in Washington, D.C. — is running a student writing contest focusing on Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The contest runs through May 4, 2012, and seeks to capitalize on the release of John Carter by Disney. Winners will be announced May 18th and receive, among other things, John Carter movie swag including posters and, more importantly, a set of John Carter books courtesy of the Library of Congress.
There are a couple of things that I liked about this contest. First of all, it is nice to see a contest that focuses on a writer with strong imagination. Whatever else you can say about Burroughs, and there there is much to complain about, he had a fabulous imagination which helped spawn whole genres of imaginative fiction. Then there is the geek factor. John Carter and Tarzan both rank high on the geek-o-meter. Pretty cool!
Here are summaries of the writing prompts which Reading Rockets created for their contest:
Grades K-2 (Level I): Create an illustrated bookplate for the books in your home library and write about it.
Grades 3-5 (Level II): Write a travel brochure … to Mars (or Barsoom).
Grades 6-8 (Level III): Create a scifaiku: haiku about a science fiction concept.
Grades 9-12 (Level IV): Write about the real history of your hometown’s name, or propose a new name and explain your choice.
The contests are open to all students. You can find out more about how to enter on their site.