On April 22, the Dallas County Reading Council held an award ceremony to honor students in both creative writing and poetry. Together with the Iowa Reading Association, the council works to promote literacy through leadership and educational programming. This includes an annual creative writing and poetry contest held for students aged Kindergarten to 12th grade.


Contestants begin by submitting their completed work at the county level. Each year approximately 100-200 creative writing stories and poems are submitted to the Dallas County Reading Council. From there, one winner per category per grade is chosen along with multiple honorable mentions.


Short story entries were judged based on continuity, creativity, originality, organization, defined and developed story elements, along with technical mechanics. In addition, the poetry entries were also judged on creativity and originality along with rhythm, spelling, the response evoked, the interest stimulated and imagery.


This year’s award ceremony was held at the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center in Waukee. Participants first heard from local author Julia Dellitt. Winners of each category were then invited to read their stories and poems in front of the author, family and friends. Winners and honorable mentions also received a certificate and journal.


Coming up, the county winners will go on to compete at the state level throughout the summer. This will conclude with a Young Author’s Celebration located at the Scheman Building in Ames.


2018-19 Dallas County Reading Short Story WinnersOlivia Crandall, a second-grader at South Prairie Elementary in Grimes placed 1st with “Friends by Surprise”Kole Deppe, a second grader at North Ridge Elementary in Grimes received an honorable mention for “Mr. Fast”


2018-19 Iowa Reading Association Short Short WinnersSecond-grader Olivia Crandall, at South Prairie Elementary in Grimes, placed third at the state level with her short story, “Friends by Surprise.”