Authentic Audiences for Students
At about this time in the year, many of our teachers are nearing the end of their narrative writing unit. Some of the students are writing some great stories, and others would benefit by having some sort of motivation in order to write one more story or go back and make some meaningful revisions. Contests may be a tool you want to introduce at this point in the year.
Audience and purpose are such important components of Writing Workshops. While peers and parents do serve as good audiences, and there are more and more digital communities available to teachers and students, there are also many contests and opportunities for publishing student writing.
An important word of caution about contests and publication opportunities: they have the potential to take away the element of choice from writers. Yes, they can be motivating–as a writer myself, I may choose to accept a topic in order to enter a contest. However, for students and adults alike, removing the element of pure choice by having specific topics and constraints may not be a healthy choice for writing workshops, depending on the nature of the student, the contest, the topic, and the volume of work the writer has already produced. Any of these options should fit the writer, and the writer shouldn’t have to alter his/her style and voice to fit the opportunity. There’s a balance, and it’s important to be aware of it. It’s a really important point to be aware of as you consider contests and publishing opportunities.
I have compiled other lists in the past of contests and publishing opportunities. At this point in time–August of 2016–all of these options are viable and functioning, but that could change. One of the challenges of these lists is that some contests take years off or end, and some publications temporarily–or permanently–close submission windows. That being said, I am sharing a chart of resources.
If any readers have other resources to share, please do in the comments. We can all benefit from each other’s knowledge of authentic writing opportunities!
A Few Contests
|Contest||Age Range||Special notes and/or considerations||Prizes and/or compensation||Publication Deadline|
|Henry Ford Contest||Grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12||Annual contest with deadlines posted each year
Students write on a specified topic that relates to history and innovators
|Varies–last year was a membership and an iPad Air||Check back in October.
Historically, around March
|The Betty Contest||Ages 8-12||Entry fee of $15, 1,000 word limit for stories||Cash||Two contests in the spring and fall. Deadline for fall 2016 contest is October 8|
|Mrs. P.’s Be a Famous Writer Contest||Grades k-4||Prompt based contest which varies annually||Book allowances||September through October 15 every year|
|Letters about Literature||Grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12||Students write to an author of their choosing about how a book that has impacted them.||Varies||Deadline is late December or January|
Opportunities for Publication
|Age Range||Special notes and/or considerations||Prizes and/or compensation||Publication Deadline|
|Stone Soup||Ages 8-13||2 ways to submit work||Seeing work in print||On-going|
|Highlights||Elementary||Welcomes a variety of genres||Seeing it in print||On-going|
|Creative Kids||Ages 8-16||Explicit directions for submitting work that must be followed||Seeing work in print||On-going|
|Canvas Literary Journal||Ages 13-19||Submit online. Accepts many different genres up to 5,000 words||Seeing work in print||On-going|
|The Claremont Review||Ages 13-19||Accepts mailed work only–see website for instructions.
Annual contest is additionally sponsored
|Prizes for the contest||September to April|
|Kidlit||Elementary||Accepts work digitally||Seeing work in print||On-going|
|Cyberkids||Elementary||Especially likes stories, poems, and articles that are funny||Seeing work in print||On-going|
|New Moon Girls
Once at the website, go to “how to get published as a girl”
|Ages 8-14||All genres welcome, material that supports upcoming themes is especially welcome.
Must be written by girls
|Seeing work in print||On-going
See upcoming themes for best chance of publication
|Guardian Angel Kids||Ages up to 14||Monthly themes drive publication.
Submissions require a cover letter and a Paypal account
Strict word count restrictions
|$.03 a word, $10 a poem, paid through Paypal||On-going
See upcoming themes
|Ember||Ages 10-18||Accepts several genres and offers suggestions.||$.02 a word of $20 a piece, whichever is higher||
Ongoing- Ember is published semi- annually
Sometimes the incentive of submitting a piece, even if it doesn’t win, really energizes writers. In any case, it’s always good to know some of the opportunities that are out there!