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Read Across America Student Contest

Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on or near March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can, too!

Read Across America also provides DSEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year, to motivate children to read and generate new enthusiasm for reading.


2019 Student Contest

Every year, the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) hosts a Read Across America contest that centers on a theme in a book. This year’s book is Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev. Delaware public school students are invited to draw a poster, make a video, or write an essay (depending on your grade level) based on the book’s theme of respecting the differences in others and respecting each other's cultural backgrounds.

This is the story of a little boy who wants to participate in Pet Club Day, but he is excluded because his pet is an elephant and the club members say no elephants allowed! When he meets another little girl that has been excluded from Pet Club Day because of her skunk, they decide to start their own club, where everyone is included. Together, they prove that friends come in all shapes and sizes!  

This book showed one little boy who had respect for everyone no matter what animal they had as a pet. Once he opened up his clubhouse to all pet owners regardless of their pet, everyone was able to play together. The book also shows us that friends come in all shapes and sizes and if you leave someone out based on prejudices you may have than you might be missing out. The little boy was left out because of his elephant but once everyone got to know both of them, they all played together.


2018 Book Focus: Strictly No Elephants  by Lisa Mantchev

Theme: Respecting differences in others


 Contest Rules               

-All entries must be submitted with signed parent/guardian approval or they will not be considered during the judging of the contest.  If you have a group or class entry, please have one parent/guardian approval for each student involved included with the contest entry.

-All entries must be submitted with the first page of this form.

-Individual students, not groups, should submit poster drawings or essay entries.

-Posters (grades k-8) should be no larger than 11x17 in size and show how you can respect differences in other people. 

- Essays (grades 9-12) should be 600-800 words in length, have in-text citations, follow the APA format, and have a reference page. Please consult your school librarian or english teacher for assistance with the APA format. The essay should showcase how to respect the differences in others, including their cultural backgrounds, or write about someone in history who was known for respecting differences in people.

-Video entries (grades 4-12) may be submitted by an individual student, group or a class of students who worked together on the project. Videos should be a maximum of three minutes in length and include a title as well as a credit listing of the students who worked on the project and the names of any teachers or paraprofessionals who advised or helped. Please submit videos on a DVD, flash drive, or email links to Only one video entry per student, group, or class. Videos should reflect on how you respect differences in others. -All winners will be featured in an ad in The News Journal and Delaware State News – and all winning artwork, essays, and videos will be posted on DSEA’s website.

-Every entry must be sent in with an entry form.  Please [Click Here] for an entry form.

 Contest Prizes       

Grand Prize Winner (chosen from all of the grade levels/entries)

An assembly at their school for their class/grade

First prize
K-3: art supplies kit and a gift certificate to the movies

Grades 4-8 and 9-12 winners: art and/or writing supplies and a gift certificate to the movies

Second and Third prize
K-3, 4-8 and 9-12: art supplies and a certificate of appreciation

All winners will be featured in an ad in The News Journal and Delaware State News on or around March 2nd, 2017 – Read Across America Day – and all winning artwork, and videos will be posted on DSEA’s website.  

How to Enter

Mail entries with this form to DSEA Read Across America Contest, Attn: Shelley Meadowcroft, 136 E. Water Street, Dover, DE 19901 or 4135 Ogletown-Stanton Rd, Newark DE 19713.

Deadline:  All entries must be received by the DSEA by 5 PM on Monday, February 18, 2019.

Questions? Contact Shelley Meadowcroft at DSEA by email ( or phone (302-922-7554)