Who doesn’t love a good contest? Your teenager—once he or she finds out it is a summer reading contest. And the contest might be still less
appealing once your teenager realizes it actually also requires writing.
Nonetheless, the contest is worth a serious look, sponsored as it is by The New York Times for seven years now. It started a few weeks ago, but every week is a new week, and there are still plenty of weeks left. According to The Learning Network blog of the Times, here are the rules:
“Every Friday from June 17 to Aug. 19, we’ll pose the same questions: What interested you most in The Times this week? Why?
“Anyone 13 to 19 years old from anywhere in the world can post an answer any week until Friday, Aug. 26, and contestants can choose from any Times article, essay, video, interactive, or photograph published in 2016, on any topic they like.
“Every Tuesday starting July 5, we will announce winners from a previous week and publish their writing on the blog.
“We don’t care what you choose or whether you loved or hated it; what we care about is what you have to say about why you picked it.
“Whatever the subject, you’ll see that the best pieces year after year make both personal connections to the news and go beyond the personal to discuss the broader questions and ideas that the topic raises.
Parents, do this now: Look up the winners of previous weeks’ contests and see what the quality of teenagers’ writing is—and how your teenager’s writing stacks up. Encourage your teenager to enter at least one week, though I bet some kids who are motivated enter every week (don’t we all wish we had one of those at home). Tell your teenager this: If you actually win one of the weekly contests, just think how great that will look on your college applications.