The "Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest," an effort sponsored by WMVS-TV and WMVT-TV in Milwaukee, Wis., since 1994, is inspiring kids to be authors. The annual program kicks off in the classroom, where teachers are provided information from the stations on how to start a Reading Rainbow Writers Club. To date, 44 schools are using the contest as a classroom activity and another 11 as an after-school club. In 2008, the stations received nearly 1,200 story entries from students in kindergarten to third grade. Twenty winning submissions were chosen, to which the stations added sound effects and aired together as a 30-minute special. The stories were also broadcast separately as interstitials during the year. Promotional spots for the contest feature the winning children individually, each holding up his or her story with a voiceover that says, "Some of the best stories in the world are written by children. So what are you waiting for? Tell us your story." The spots play 365 days a year. In addition to the Reading Rainbow project, the stations offer community workshops directly addressing issues of family literacy. This service helped more than 5,000 people in 2007. Ten workshops are conducted in English and 10 in Spanish each year.
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