I got my earliest taste of writing for publication from these contests. It was a big boost of self-confidence just to finish and submit a story, even if mine wasn't the best. Typing away on a monstrous grey typewriter, my grandmother poked away at the keys while I dictated. Our writing sessions always ended with a game of cards or a homemade vanilla shake. Writing during the summer was great fun, and didn't count for real work at all. At least for me.
Keeping kids reading and writing during the summer can be a challenge, but the key is to make it fun. With that in mind, the sponsors of the following contests have come up with some engaging themes for young writers to keep their creativity flowing and reading/writing skills sharp during the months ahead. (And it might not hurt to stock up on ice cream for a post-writing session treat). Enjoy!
Creative Communication, a site run by teachers and educators, offers a poetry and essay contest several times throughout the year. There's no entry fee. Prizes include a cash award and publication in an anthology.
Boys' Life magazine is offering a reading contest to boys who write a book report on 'The Best Book I Read This Year'. Prizes are Amazon gift cards in several age groups. Details can be found on the magazine's website.
Totem Head's Story Contest is sponsored by AdventureWrite, and is open to kids 18 years old and under. There's a cash prize, publication on the website, and a certificate of achievement for the winning story which must start with the words 'So there I was.'
Young Voices Foundation is hosting a short story contest for three age categories, from preschool to grade 12. They're offering cash prizes, but you'll have to hurry: deadline for submissions is May 31st!
KidPub hosts a writing contest each month in different genres. The judges choose three winners, each earning gift cards. Kids post their stories for readers. You need to be a member to enter the contest.
Also, your local public library sponsors summer reading programs and contests. Some of my kids' best summer memories were the cool presentations and speakers that our library hosted during June. Thinking back, we saw a balloon artist, yo-yo expert, Ronald McDonald, and animals from a local petting zoo.
Do you know of any other contests which are open to young writers?