Beechwood student takes writing national

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Beechwood Elementary fourth-grader has advanced to the final level of a national reading and writing competition.

Ten-year-old Garreth Ayres, the son of Macon Ayres and Angela Gallagher, received third place in Mississippi. He was one of 54,000 students nationwide who entered the contest, called Letters About Literature. Winners of the national level will be announced next month.

In the competition, students wrote letters to authors of their favorite books. Teacher Marion Margaret Hern assisted Garreth with his entry.

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“He loves to read and has excellent penmanship,” said Hern. “He followed through with it, and he is a great kid.”

Letters About Literature consists of three levels. Garreth participated in Level 1 for fourth- through sixth-graders and received a cash award and medal for his third-place win. Level 2 is for seventh- and eight-graders, and Level 3 is for ninth- through 12th-graders.

Each student who entered the competition wrote a letter to an author who has inspired him or her. Garreth wrote to Andrew Clements, author of “No Talking,” a fictional story about a no-talking challenge between boys and girls in a fifth-grade class.

Garreth said he loves to talk and enjoyed the story, in which the characters were challenged to answer questions from the teacher in three words or less.

“One funny thing about the story is that ‘um’ is a word, so the girls lost a lot of points in the challenge,” said Garreth.

According to the Letters About Literature program, research has shown that students develop a better understanding of what they have read if they are able to respond by writing and talking about it. The program’s slogan is “Children who read, write better; children who write, read more.”

Besides reading and writing, Garreth enjoys drawing. He is currently working on a mini-comic.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at