Take a Letter

Take a Letter: Citizen Writer writing challenge

American History is filled with courageous, inventive people whose lives changed our own in big ways and small. The Founding Fathers of course come to mind, but there are many others whose discoveries, ideas, and actions made an impact on us. Choose a person from history and write them a letter. This isn't one of those "How are you? Wish you were here." letters someone makes you write. This letter should be tailored to your special historical pen pal and inform this person about aspects of our lives now that they would especially be interested in. For instance, if you choose a scientist, what kinds of questions do you think he/she would have about science, research, and medicine today? What would you tell them about their legacy? What would be most surprising to them? What would you like to ask them about their work?

Your letter should demonstrate that you have researched your historical pen pal and have a good understanding of who this person was and what they did.

Submission guidelines:

  • Deadline: April 30, 2011
  • e-mail a Word doc or PDF of your letter.
  • Subject line for your e-mail: 2011 Writing Contest
  • Include your name, age, grade level, and address with your submission.
  • If you are not able to e-mail the letter, please send a hard copy to:
    Reading Rockets
    WETA Public Television
    2775 S. Quincy St.
    Arlington, VA 22206

Common Core Standards

  • Range of Writing
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge
  • Text Types and Purposes

See Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (2MB PDF)*

Related resources


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