Prose is words in their best order; poetry is the best words in the best order.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Students are invited to participate in the ReadSC Writing Contest! ReadSC invites all South Carolina students in grades 4-12 to participate by submitting writing in either (or both!) categories - Letters and Poetry. Students may enter each contest in one of three levels corresponding to their grade:

  • Level I for children in grades 4-6
  • Level II for grades 7&8
  • Level III, grades 9–12


Each category (Letters and Poetry) will have 3 winners in each grade level and will receive cash prizes as follows:

  • First - $100
  • Second - $75
  • Third - $50

    Writing Contest Entry Deadline is January 31, 2022.

Letters Contest

Letters is a reading-writing contest that encourages students to write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre, explaining how that author’s work changed your way of thinking about the world or yourself. 

Letters have a minimum word count of 250 and a maximum of 1000.

Letters Judging Criteria

  • Addresses theme: The entry is written to the author and provides reflective details to support how the author’s work changed the reader’s view of the world or self.
  • Content: The student provides specific, supporting details as to how the author impacted their perspective; they avoid (just) summarizing.
  • Expression: The writing is fluent, creative, unique, and includes appropriately-chosen vocabulary.
  • Structure: The student’s letter is written in a logical, organized manner and avoids redundancy.
  • Grammar: The reader proofread the letter for errors of spelling and punctuation.

Poetry Contest

This year's poetry contest invites students to write a poem on how you wish to shape the world, the impact you wish to have and how you wish the world to be, no matter how big or small.

Poetry submissions have a maximum word count of 500 words.

Poetry Judging Criteria

  • Addresses theme: The entry provides reflective details to support how they see the world and/or the impact they wish to have.
  • Language: The student uses poetic devices (such as symbols, simile, metaphors, onomatopoeia, alliteration, etc.) to enhance the overall effect of the poem.
  • Rhythm and Rhyme: The poem has a musical quality. If the student employs rhyme, it should contribute to your understanding and appreciation of the piece as a whole.
  • Punctuation and Grammar: If the poem includes punctuation, it enhances the musicality meaning of the piece. If the poem includes non-Standard English, the student employs it consistently, as appropriate.
  • Voice: The student chooses their words with care, creating an original piece that is clear, engaging and unique to the poem.

Submission Details

Click the button below to enter either contest. Please check the criteria below before entering.

Enter the Contest

In order to qualify for entry into this competition, the following criteria must be met:

  • Student must live in South Carolina
  • The submission is the student's original work
  • Files should be named as follows: AgeGroup_Lastname_Firstname (for example, 4-6_Doe_Jane)
  • Only entries in PDF, DOC, and DOCX files formats are accepted
  • Entries must be typed in sans serif font, size 12
  • Entries may not contain profanity or graphic content
  • All entries must be submitted online

For any questions regarding the ReadSC Writing Contests, please contact Andersen Cook at 803-545-4432 at