This Halloween, nearly 170,000 middle school students across 48 states read the thrilling new story from ReadWorks, Alien Kids. In this five-part, cliffhanger series set on a faraway planet, readers follow the story of Francisco and Katie as they sneak beyond the fence of their space colony to explore on their own.
To celebrate the new series, created as part of our Fiction Library Expansion Project, ReadWorks held a national illustration contest, giving students the chance to show their knowledge of the story in a creative and exciting way. With hundreds of entries, our volunteer judges picked one final winner and four runners-up.
"Drawing the illustrations made the story more meaningful than reading it alone."
We’re thrilled to share that our winner is Ada Hernandez, a 5th-grader in Texas. Ada’s teacher, Shannon, shared what it was like to read the story and complete the contest as a class, "I had already decided to incorporate more visualization strategies with my students and the ReadWorks' #AlienKids Illustration Contest was the perfect way to kickstart that routine. My students were highly engaged and motivated by the Alien Kids storyline! The cliffhangers kept them interested and they were thrilled to create a draft illustration after each chapter. Furthermore, creating the illustrations improved their overall reading comprehension by authentically prompting them to re-read the passages for details and/or discussing them with classmates."
On the logistics of holding a contest, Shannon said, "For the contest entries, I asked the students to choose the chapter they felt they could develop the most, using the art technique of their choice. From traditional sketches and drawings to digital illustrations to collages and paintings - students' final creations were as unique as they are. I would definitely guide my students through another ReadWorks contest in the future!"
In addition to the winning entry, our judges selected four runners-up, one for each grade level that participated in the contest. See their outstanding entries below:
It isn’t too late to get creative as a class! Use any of our exciting series to host your own illustration or alternate-ending contest as a classroom or school. Share your contest with ReadWorks on social media using #ReadWorksContest or share your contest stories with our team at Engagement@ReadWorks.org.
Becca Vaughn, Director of Development