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The mission of Nightlight Reading is to encourage the creation of literature that will motivate and engage at-risk boys to read. Our philosophy is that reading skills are developed through the act of reading, and that this will only take place if the student finds writing which excites and entertains him.

Boys don’t necessarily become good readers in school.  Boys become good readers curled up with their books on rainy afternoons, sitting in the library after school, or even under the covers with a flashlight at night.  The common element here is that kids learn to read by reading books that they enjoy.

The purpose of the Nightlight Reading program is to encourage the development of stories that can be enjoyed by kids who:

  1. Are not part of publishing industry’s primary target market today
  2. May not have many choices or easy access to books they are interested in
  3. Desperately need to become good readers to be able to function in the knowledge economy, yet are at risk due to demographic factors

As an ancillary benefit, the project will provide publicity for writers who are capable of writing to this market and expand their opportunities to be published, thus further encouraging the development of literature focused on at-risk kids.

Boys, ages 10 through 12 years old, primarily urban, often minorities, and considered at-risk due to economic or social hardship.

Nightlight Reading is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in the state of Illinois.

To accomplish our mission, Nightlight Reading will administer and fund a writing contest in which the winners will ultimately be chosen by students from the at-risk demographic.  This will provide two social benefits:

  • The program will create literature attractive to target students, and which will be made available both directly and through schools and libraries.
  • The program will also provide profile and publicity to the winning authors and help develop the market in this area.

Submissions will be solicited though writing publications and the internet and taken electronically through the Nightlight Reading website.  Initial evaluations of submissions will be performed by a team of professionals (for example, teachers, scholars, librarians and other writing professionals) chosen by the program board, who will select finalists for evaluation by a student panel consisting of boys from the target demographic.

The program will address multiple genres of literature, and three prizes will be awarded in each genre.  Winners will also be announced in relevant industry publications.