Letter Writing Clinics

Librarians and Teachers to Host Letter Writing Clinics

Q. What could motivate Nebraska young people to write letters?

A. A great story—and the opportunity to tell an author about how a book made a difference in their own life.

Teachers and librarians across Nebraska were recently awarded grants to host pilot Letter Writing Clinics for students in their area. The clinics will introduce students to the Letters About Literature contest and letter writing techniques. Students will get ideas for selecting books and learn how to craft letters that can be submitted to the Letters About Literature contest, a national reading and writing promotion program that anually engages nearly 50,000 adolescent and young readers in grades four through twelve. The competition encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) who had an impact on their lives.

Other Nebraska teachers and librarians are invited to host Letter Writing Clinics in their communities. The Resources in this website can help with teaching students how to select books and how to craft letters to the authors that wrote the books that made a difference in their lives. Letter Writing Clinic components include:
a) Choose a target audience and select promotional activities and resources to match the audience.
b) Plan activities for the Letter Writing Clinic (the clinic can involve two sessions--one to introduce the idea and to help the students to select books and another to learn letter writing techniques and to craft the letters.
c) Following the clinic(s), completed letters should be collected and submitted to the contest when it officially opens in September.

Keep up with Letter Writing Clinic activities on social media at www.facebook.com/NebraskaCenterfortheBook.

Target Market for Letter Writing Clinics: The target market(s) are selected by the teacher or librarian. The grade-level competition categories for the contest are set by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Contest participants compete on three levels:

  • Level I for young readers in grades 4-6
  • Level II for young adult readers in grades 7-8
  • Level III for readers in grades 9-12

Deadline: The Contest deadline for all Levels is December 9, 2017.

Letters About Literature Contest: To learn more about the Letters About Literature Contest, refer to the Letters About Literature web page on The Nebraska Center for the Book’s website. Deadline for letters: December 9, 2017.

2017 Grant Opportunity Deadline is Past
2018 Grant Information Coming Soon!
Timeline for the Grant Opportunity:
Grant Applications Accepted: February 1, 2017 to March 30, 2017
Grant Deadline: March 30, 2017, 11:59 p.m. CT
Notification: The last week of April 2017
Funded Letter Writing Clinics must be held no earlier than May 15, 2017 and no later than October 31, 2017.

Purpose of Grant: Grants will support Letters About Literature (LAL) Letter Writing Clinics (held in Nebraska) to introduce students to the Letters About Literature contest and letter writing techniques.The Letter Writing Clinic/Letters About Literature competition should NOT be a required school assignment and Clinics should be offered at no charge to interested students.

Grant Amount: Five $300 grants were awarded in April 2017. The grant funds will be used for items such as instructor honorarium, supplies, marketing, small participation prizes, etc. The 2017 Winning Applications are:

  • Lisa Guenther, Norfolk Catholic Elementary School Director of Reading, Norfolk
  • Jennifer Van Winkle, Lux Middle School Teacher, Lincoln
  • Lori Springer, Valparaiso Public Library Director, Valparaiso
  • Noelle Thompson, Lied Scottsbluff Public Library Director, Scottsbluff Library Foundation, Scottsbluff
  • Denise Ketchens, Oshkosh Public Library Director, Oshkosh

Eligible Grant Applicants: Eligible Nebraska applicants included the following: public libraries, public and private schools (Elementary, Middle, Jr. High, High Schools), public librarians, public and private school librarians, and public and private school teachers (grades 4–12). Partnerships between schools and libraries were encouraged.

Grant Expectations: Awarded applicants are expected to:

  • Provide information to the Nebraska Center for the Book - JoAnn McManus
    RE: time and location details about the Letter Writing Clinic at least two weeks prior to the event.
  • Report on how many students were served, how many letters were submitted to the contest, and the primary trainer for the clinic(s). Photographs taken during the clinic along with signed Photo Releases are appreciated.

Grant opportunity provided by: The Nebraska Center for the Book
This grant opportunity is made possible by funding provided to the Nebraska Center for the Book by Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, with support from the Nebraska Library Commission.


Read. Be inspired. Write Back.



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Nebraska Book Awards



JoAnn McManus, Nebraska Library Commission at 402-471-4870, 800-307-2665.