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2012 Oakseed Ministries International Essay Contest for Youth (worldwide)

04 April 2012
2012 Oakseed Ministries International Essay Contest for Youth (worldwide)
Deadline: 1 May 2012

Oakseed Ministries International is proud to announce their seventh annual international essay contest for youth on the topic: Compassion and the Illiterate Child. Students are invited to explore the issues facing child illiteracy and to offer innovative ideas to help these children.

2012 Contest Topic is "Compassion and the Illiterate Child". The deadline for the essay contest is May 1, 2012. First place, second place, and honorable mention prizes will be awarded for the amounts of $1,000, $500, and $250. The two age categories are 17 & under and 18-22. The winner will be notified in June 2012 and winning essays will be posted on our website. Submissions will be accepted starting December 1, 2011.



To be eligible to submit an essay, students must meet the age requirements as of May 2, 2012. You may submit only ONE essay.

Age Categories
  • 17 & under: 5,000 characters or less ( 1000 words in length).
  • 18 – 22: 7,500 characters or less ( 1500 words in length).

  • The essay must be an original, unpublished work.
  • Essays may be written in the formal or informal voice, but most importantly, an individual perspective should be present within the essay.
  • Sources are to be cited in the text. Do not use footnotes or endnotes. You do not need to provide a bibliography.

The essay must be an original, unpublished work.

Essays may be written in the formal or informal voice, but most importantly, an individual perspective should be present within the essay.

Sources are to be cited in the text. Do not use footnotes or endnotes. You do not need to provide a bibliography.

Essays should be typed in 12-point font, double-spaced with 1″ margins. On the lower right corner of your last page enter your word count. Your name must not appear on the essay pages, only on the cover sheet.

Entries that do not meet these submission guidelines will be automatically disqualified. Entries will not be returned. All entries must be postmarked by May 1, 2012.


$1,000 will be awarded to the author of the best essay in each age category. Second place essays will receive a $500 award and Honorable mention will receive a $250 award. The winners will be notified in June 2012 and the winning essays posted on the Internet at http://essay.oakseed.org.


Each essay should:
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues surrounding child illiteracy and its implications on society.
  • Show the author has personally wrestled with the nature and character of compassion.
  • Demonstrate the student’s own serious reflection on the current and future problems of child illiteracy.
  • Be focused and well-reasoned.
  • Use correct spelling and grammar.

All entries will be judged, according to age category, using the following criteria:
  • Awareness of the problem (1/3 total score): Demonstrate knowledge and depth of understanding about the issue from your research.
  • Quality of analysis (1/3 total score): Develop your own perspective on the issue. This perspective should be reflected in your analysis of and your personal response to the issue.
  • Style and mechanics (1/3 total score): Use proper spelling and grammar. Your response to the topic should be clear and original.

Essay reviewers from outside Oakseed Ministries will identify the essays that best meet the above criteria. The highest rated essays will go on to a second round of judging by a team of judges who will select the semi-finalists. The prize-winning essays will then be selected by the directors of Oakseed Ministries. All decisions are final.


Essays may also be submitted in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Korean, Swahili, Japanese, and Chinese. See www.oakseed.org/essay for submission guidelines and information on other languages.


To submit your essay online, visit http://essay.oakseed.org for more information and the submission form. All submitted essays must be either in a .pdf or .doc format.

Privacy: Personal Information Form provided by entrants will be used by Oakseed Ministries for contest purposes only and will not be shared or used for solicitation purposes.


Essays must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on May 1, 2012.


Choose one topic and write an essay exploring the specific area, keeping in mind the backdrop of compassion.
  • Survey the problem of illiteracy among poor children. Which countries have the highest children’s illiteracy rates and why? What countries are effectively dealing with this issue and how?
  • What is the most effective way to teach children to read? Compare and contrast the “look and say” method and the “intensive, systematic phonics first” method. Is either effective, or is there a better method for teaching children to read?
  • Many disorders hamper development of reading skills. Discuss the different learning disabilities. What are the causes of these disabilities; biological factors or the learning environment? What methods help each disability most effectively?
  • Illiteracy and crime. Select 2-3 countries or American cities and compare the illiteracy and crime rates. Discuss efforts to promote literacy in high-crime areas and what involvement you could have with them.
  • Illiteracy, culture, and the internet/mass media. How do both cultural norms and modern day technology contribute to the pandemic of illiteracy? What are solutions to this problem?
  • Economic impact of illiteracy for the family, the community, and nations. Is there a relationship between illiteracy and poverty? Is literacy a basic human right of a child? Discuss how children’s literacy should be included in the economic plan of a nation.
  • What are outstanding examples of literacy development among children? Choose three individuals, organizations, or government agencies that have focused on this area. Describe their methods and list the major results. Is there a way for you to exercise compassion by helping one of these?


For submissions: use the essay contest submission form here

Website: http://oakseed.org
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