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PBS KIDS Writers Contest

Join the Fun!

Buffalo Toronto Public Media believes in encouraging children’s imagination, creativity, insight, and providing an audience for young storytellers. The BTPM PBS KIDS Writers Contest fosters children’s creativity by encouraging participants in grades K-3 to write and illustrate stories. 

Storytelling, self-expression, self-confidence, and communication skills are foundational skills developed and introduced in this contest. Writing contests provide opportunities for children to share their stories with an audience and gain exposure to the ideas of deadlines, word count and subject matter boundaries. Creative writing helps power children’s brains and boosts results in other academic subjects including math, science, and languages. 

girl and boy writing and drawing

How the Contest Works

Children in grades kindergarten through third are encouraged to write and illustrate stories and submit them to Buffalo Toronto Public Media, who will select winners and award prizes. The BTPM PBS KIDS Writers Contest is a LOCAL ONLY contest. The 2024 contest has ended.

Winners: There will be four (4) winners in each grade level, sixteen (16) total winners. Kindergarten – first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention; First Grade – first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention; Second Grade – first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention; Third Grade – first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention.

Prizing: Every child’s participation is recognized with a certificate. All winning entries will each receive an Amazon Kindle Kids, Contest t-shirt, their stories published on and WNED PBS social media platforms. Winners will be invited, along with their families and teachers, to a celebration to read their stories at our downtown Buffalo WNED PBS Studios in May 2024.

The 2024 BTPM PBS KIDS Writers Contest is made possible in part by 

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We invite you to consider integrating the Contest into your school’s curricula, and/or offering special writing sessions for interested students. With that in mind, we’ve collected resources designed specifically for K-3 classrooms for your use in conjunction with the contest as well as information on the ways in which the Contest aligns with Common Core standards


While providing a platform for children’s original stories, we also encourage parents and caregivers to help enter their children in the contest and encourage their child’s creativity, imagination, and illustrations. The BTPM PBS KIDS Writers Contest offers families time spent together building literacy and critical thinking skills. Our contest has provided a safe place for children to find their voice, discover the power of storytelling, and discover enjoyable and silly stories. The Contest gives children a boost of confidence when they are able to share their work.

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