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PBS KIDS Writers Contest

Join the Fun!

The annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest is an initiative designed to promote the advancement of children’s reading skills through hands-on, active learning. Partnering with PBS stations nationwide, the Contest encourages children in grades K-3 to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own original work.

girl and boy writing and drawing

How the Contest Works

The Contest is structured the same as the Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest of years ago. Children in grades kindergarten through third are encouraged to write and illustrate stories and submit them to Buffalo Toronto Public Media, which will select winners and award prizes. The BTPM PBS KIDS Writers Contest is a LOCAL ONLY contest. The deadline this year is March 24, 2023! All entries must be postmarked by March 24, 2023 and received by March 31, 2023 to be eligible.

Writers Contest resources to use in your classroom or home!

Activities Letter

This sheet provides a brief overview of the series of resources to help your students break down the process of story writing. All these worksheets can be downloaded and printed from this page.

Get Ready to Write

This worksheet is intended to help your students start to form ideas for potential stories. The activity provides your students with a blank page to freely develop story ideas through text and illustration. Serving as a precursor to the Brainstorming sheet, this is a place for the child to draw or write topic ideas for their story.


Even short stories are complex, and require students to work on a number of elements: characters, plot/story structure, climax/resolution, and setting. This worksheet is intended to help your students expand upon their story idea(s) to develop a strong story.

Story Revision Checklist

This worksheet is intended to help your students develop self-criticism skills so that they can refine and improve their stories. There are two versions of this worksheet, one with the questions and answers filled out and one with blank questions and answers for you to fill out based on the reading and writing skills of your students.

Draw This

This worksheet is intended to help your students practice making thoughtful, engaging illustrations for their stories. On the worksheet are some examples of words that you can write into the boxes if you would like to provide the students with the words. You can also allow your students to pick words or phrases from their own stories and have them draw corresponding images.

Write This

Write This

This supplementary worksheet is designed to help children think about the relationship of images and illustrations to text, or captions. The worksheet provides a few examples of pictures and captions. You can leave the rest of the worksheet blank for your students to draw pictures and write captions for that that picture or you can pre-populate some of the spaces with images to help your student relate current lessons to the story writing project.

girl in classroom writing

Common Core Alignment

The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is a perfect way to introduce and practice the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Literacy. Students can learn from reading and studying other texts, then reading and writing their own stories, and finally sharing their stories with adults and peers. Not only will K-3 teachers be able to address key standards in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, but students will also have fun creating something special of their own and have the chance to win a competition. What better way for students to grow as readers and writers than to become authors themselves?

Third grade winners from the 2017 PBS KIDS Writers Contest