Writing Contests: 9 Ways to Help Your Students Win

Cohenworks

Looking for authentic writing opportunities for your students? How about ways to recognize their work? Scope's writing contests are just the thing! With each issue of Scope, students have the chance to enter one of several writing contests and win a fantastic book hand-picked by Scope editors or some other fabulous prize. Share these 9 tricks with your students to increase their chances of winning! Find all the current contests here.

 

Share these 9 tricks with your students to increase their chances of winning!

 

  

Viv (left) and Anny (right), our fabulous contest judges reading your students' amazing essays

1. Follow the rules.
It sounds simple, but so many entries we receive get disqualified right off the bat because they are sent in after the deadline or lack the requested contact information. If an entry is to be considered, it must follow ALL the rules listed on the contest activity sheet.

2. Make it legible.
If we can’t read it, we can’t judge it. Encourage students to type up their entries if you suspect that their handwriting may be difficult to read. (Did you know we accept emailed entries? Send them to ScopeMag@scholastic.com.)

3. Keep it organized.
If you are submitting a class set of contest entries, make sure EACH entry has its own contest form with all relevant contact info and that the form is securely attached or clearly marked.

4. Make your Google Doc public.
We receive so many emailed entries that we WANT to read . . . but can’t. If you want to submit entries as Google Docs, remember to make your entry viewable to anyone with the link. We can’t open your submission unless you give us permission. This is a very important tip! The VAST MAJORITY of Google Docs we receive cannot be viewed.

5. Be passionate and energetic.
Our contest judges Viv and Anny read your students' entries with love and care. But when there are hundreds or thousands of entries, the writing can start to get monotonous. Your students can stand out by writing with pizzazz—with energy and passion. Hint: Make sure your students' vary their sentence constructions.

6. Relate to your experience.
We love a submission that answers the question while relating back to the writer’s world. Has your student ever experienced anything like what the characters or people he or she is writing about experienced? How would your student feel if he or she were in the character's shoes? We award brownie points for answering the question while seamlessly tying in anecdotal life experiences (when it makes sense for the type of writing task, of course).

7. Answer the question(s).
Many of our writing prompts have two-part questions. Make sure students answer all parts of the prompt, or their entries will be disqualified.

8. Cite text evidence.
Make sure your students cite their sources. (In most cases, the source is us.) Call us vain, but we adore it when students write such things as, “In the Scope article ‘Swimming for Her Life,’ Kristin Lewis claims that [insert text evidence here].” It makes our citation-happy-hearts soar.

9. Proofread
Check for spelling and grammar mistakes while making sure the writing flows from one idea to the next.

 

Best of luck! And as we say to our winners, “Keep on reading and writing!”

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