Registration for the 2009-2010 WrestleMania Reading Challenge will close July 31 â€”teens and tweens at your library could win a trip to WrestleMania XXVI in Phoenix, and you could win $2,000 for your library! Just complete Teen Read Weekâ„¢ registration at www.ala.org/teenread and say â€œyesâ€ to the WrestleMania Reading Challenge by July 31. .
The WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment, encourages teens and tweens in grades 5-12 to read one item a week for 10 weeks, starting in January. Teens and tweens can win prizes and incentives from WWE, including the chance to compete in the national WrestleMania Reading Challenge championships to win ringside tickets to WrestleMania XXVI in Phoenix in March. The sponsoring library of each finalist wins $2,000. Details on the 2010 challenge are available on YALSA’s website. After the jump, find out how students can win a trip to WrestleMania this year and read about the experiences of last year’s finalists.
Teens and tweens who want to win the trip to WrestleMania will go to the participating school or public library, check out and read a combined total of ten books, graphic novels and magazines, complete a log sheet, available from your librarian, indicating the name and author of the books, graphic novels and magazines read, and design a bookmark which includes a slogan that promotes reading. The slogan may be written in either English or Spanish.’ The bookmark and slogan will be judged based on the following objective criteria: (a) impact of the slogan; (b) originality of the design; (c) relevance of the graphics and images to the slogan; and (d) overall visual appeal.
Students are divided into three grade levels (5-6, 7-8, and 9-12) for judging. Based on the submitted reviews, a national judging committee of YALSA members will select five finalists from each grade level to attend the championships. Whichever finalist from each grade levels answers the most correct questions about their required book will win ringside seats. Author Will Weaver will judge the championship round. Weaver’s appearance is courtesy of Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers and Square Fish, imprints of Macmillan Publishing Group.
Looking for more info? Some of last year’s finalists talked to Paula Brehm-Heeger, a past YALSA president. Lori Guenthner, chair of YALSA’s WrestleMania Reading Challenge Jury, put together a summary of their experiences:
Paula Brehm-Heeger, a past YALSA president, met with several of the winners, including Stephanie Diaz, Karolina Flores, Angelica Kruth, and Marissa Braun, at Wrestlemania 25 in Houston. They all admitted to being fans of WWE when they entered the contest. As one of them noted, â€œfirst my friend entered’ and when I heard about how you can get a trip, I thought it was a hoax or something. But then when it was true, I said, â€˜hot dog – I’m doing it.’â€
Stephanie, Karolina, and Marissa saw posters at their library and asked the librarian for details about the contest. Marissa’s librarian told her to enter â€œbecause you like drawing stuff and you like wrestling.â€ As it turns out, each teen had an artistic background. Karolina was inspired by her personal experience. She told Paula, â€œI am a second degree black belt in tae kwon do. I wrote my text in English and Spanish since my family is from Mexico. The English side has a tae kwon do dude. On the Spanish side, I did a little girl baking because I am interested in cooking too.â€
Angelica was inspired by her description of reading, â€œas the key to the present, past, and future.â€ Marissa brainstormed ideas. She says, â€œI bounced a couple slogans off of friends and cousins and picked the best one and then just sort of put the pictures to words.â€ Each bookmark was unique and creative regardless of how they came about their design.
The teens each recommended entering this year’s contest and had positive remarks to share. Stephanie said, â€œIf you’re really interested in something just go for it and do what you have to do.â€ Karolina said she got a lot out of the experience. She enjoyed â€œgoing other places,â€ and discovering vocabulary words and different authors. Marissa enthusiastically added, â€œYou get to meet a lot of wrestlers and of course there’s always the two tickets to Wrestlemania â€” awesome!â€
Angelica revealed she was â€œnever a fan of reading.â€ She said,’ â€œSchool just deteriorated my whole interest in reading. When I heard about the contest, I thought I’ll give it a try. It is 10 books. When I actually read the mission of the program, to get kids who aren’t really interested in reading to read, I knew I would be the perfect candidate for that. It was the first time I actually enjoyed reading. Now when I get a book or assignment, I think I’ll give it a shot.â€