WQPT announces its annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest empowering children in grades K-3 to celebrate creativity and build literacy skills by writing and illustrating their own stories.

Stories, which must be the original work of the child, may be non-fiction, fiction, prose or poetry. Entries, postmarked by Friday, March 30 can be dropped off at WQPT’s office at Western Illinois University’s riverfront campus, or mailed to WQPT, 3300 River Drive, Moline, Illinois 61265.

“WQPT is committed to helping Quad City area children build valuable literacy skills through fun, hands-on opportunities. This contest will allow children to express their creativity and explore their imaginations,” said WQPT Director of Education and Outreach Michael Carton. “By providing opportunities for Quad City area kids to learn and explore through creative writing, WQPT is making a commitment to children and their long-term success—in school and in life.”

Sixteen local winners (four from each grade) will be honored with prizes at a ceremony held at the Butterworth Center in May and will appear on-air in a promotion for PBS Kids programs on WQPT. Each participant will receive a Certificate of Achievement, and teachers who enter their students will earn free books for their classrooms.

Find resources for children, parents and teachers at www.wqpt.org/storycontest. Story ideas and activity sheets are available on the contest website to inspire children during the brainstorming process.

Funding and support for the writing contest has been provided in part by the Butterworth Center and Deere-Wiman House, Family Museum, Figge Art Museum, Midwest Writing Center and WQPT.

WQPT is a public media service of Western Illinois University-Quad Cities.

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.