Every year, the Tennessee Reading Association sponsors the “Elizabeth Brashears Celebrate Literacy Awards Program.” “Celebrate Literacy” is a writing contest in which students in grades preK-12 may submit original books to their local council. Books are judged at the local level, and the winners are submitted to the state competition.
A Brief History of Celebrate Literacy
In 1983, the International Reading Association invited state councils to “celebrate literacy” within their states. The then Tennessee International Reading Association (TIRA) asked Dr. Elizabeth Brashears of Middle Tennessee State University to develop Tennessee’s plan for celebrating literacy. Dr. Brashears envisioned a program for Tennessee’s children in grades K-12 to fully create and publish their own books right down to the sturdy binding. In the spring of 1984, local TIRA councils were invited to submit seven (7) books to the State. Olympic style medals, gold, silver, and bronze, were awarded. However, Dr. Brashears disliked using the word “contest” to describe the program because her ultimate goal was to celebrate every student who participated. Therefore, each local council was to hold its own celebration so that each author was celebrated.
Celebrate Literacy has evolved through the years. A special category for authors in special education was added and the number of allowable submissions was increased to fourteen (14). In 2005, it was renamed the Elizabeth Brashears Tennessee Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Awards Program in her honor. Then in 2009, eligibility was expanded to include preschool authors.
Guidelines, entry form, and rubric may be found below or in the forms page of the TRA website. For the state contest, entries must be postmarked by the local council by March 15. For local deadlines, please contact your local council.
Celebrate Literacy Guidelines
Celebrate Literacy Entry Form
Celebrate Literacy Rubric