Service of Contests for Kids: We’re All Winners

August 18th, 2018

Categories: Books, Contests, Driving, Kids, Reading, Safety

Contests that teach, encourage and reward kids to better themselves and/or their communities help us all.

Author Karen Russell told NPR “New Yorker Radio Hour” listeners on a recent August weekend about how proud she was to treat her family to a pizza when she was a kid. An avid reader, she’d qualified for a free pie with one topping through Pizza Hut’s Book It program. She’d read 10 books.

Books tossed recently at the Millbrook, NY Transfer Station

Book It was founded in 1985. It runs from October 1 to March 31 for children from Kindergarten to the sixth grade and homeschoolers can also participate.

Things may have changed since Russell won her pizza. She read printed books and today many children use Kindles and other tablets. Some may still record their books on paper and some access an app that reaches teachers who track their participation. But the goal remains–to promote reading.

The National Road Safety Foundation [NRSF] conducts contests for kids to help its campaign to drive down the number of traffic accidents, deaths and injuries here. I know about it because a colleague, David Reich, runs and promotes the contests. One is “Drive2Life,” in its seventh year, in which teens submit messages to be turned into public service announcements [PSAs] to warn drivers about the dangers of speeding. This year’s winner, a California 8th grader, received $1,000 and a trip to New York where he collaborated with Emmy Award-winning producers to script, film and edit his winning PSA, “Cars Aren’t Toys.” The PSA aired on “Teen Kids News” on 150 TV stations.

In addition to Drive2Life, there are NRSF Drive Safe student contests in Washington DC, LA, Chicago and Atlanta as well as Safe Rides Save Lives for members of Family Career and Community Leaders of America [FCCLA] and #DrivingSkills101 for Students Against Destructive Decisions [SADD] Chapters nationwide.

Can you name other great contests for children? Did you participate in any when you were a kid?

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2 Responses to “Service of Contests for Kids: We’re All Winners”

  1. Protius Said:

    I take issue with the concept that it takes a contest to get a kid to read.

    I remember when I first read to myself.

    I must have been about 8 or 9, and I had my tonsils out in the hospital. When I came out of the ether I was in bed and my mother was reading to be from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” After an hour or so, she had to go back to work. (It was wartime, and she had a fancy job at the OSS from which she had a hard time getting time off.) I was awake and bored. I wanted to know what happened next in the book.

    I picked “Treasure Island” up, read it to myself and finished it. The next day I read “Tom Sawyer,” and I’ve been reading ever since. The joy of reading was my prize.

    Want your kids to read? Get rid of your TV; throw away those electronic gadgets, and read to them. Then, give them books. If they are like me, they will soon be addicted to them.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Not everyone has a mother or father to read to them and not everyone is as smart as you are.

    Today, there are so many distractions that didn’t exist when you were 8 so it’s hard to compare. I applaud anything that encourages at least one child to read even if it is a pizza that gets them started. Good for your mother to take the little free time she had to share it with you. Time is also the challenge of many a mother these days.

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