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** This contest is being replaced by a “Letters to the Editor” contest for the 2019–2020 school year.**

A contest for short stories of travels gone wrong

200–500 words

Welcome to the first Cover Story contest and live webinar event of the new year! Any student who is currently using the curriculum is eligible to enter their short story from lesson 48 for a chance to win some awesome prizes!

Guidelines for short stories can be reviewed below or in lesson 48 of your Student Book.





For this contest, we will select three winners and two finalists.

The first-place, second-place, and third-place winners will each receive an Amazon gift card worth $25 USD.

Finalists will receive an autographed copy of one of the novels from Mr. Schwabauer’s Legends of Tira-Nor series: Runt the Brave, Runt the Hunted, or The Curse of the Seer. (If your student is a finalist, we will email you to ask which book he or she would prefer.)

How Your Student Can Enter

  1. Any student using Cover Story this school year is eligible to submit one short story.
  2. The story must be submitted by the parent/teacher of the student.
  3. To be eligible for prizes, the story must come from the student’s own mind, with no outside input from family, friends, or teachers.
  4. The story must be accompanied by the student’s first name, age, state/province of residence, and shipping address. (The address should be accompanied by a first and last name, but only the student’s first name will be listed next to his or her entry.)
  5. Submissions should be emailed to Please include the phrase “Disastrous Directions” in the subject line of your email.
  6. When contest winners are chosen, we will contact you to find out which prize your student would prefer. If your student is a winner, please be watching for this email.

Submission deadline is 11:59 p.m. CST on January 31, 2019

Live Webinar

The webinar will be Thursday, February 7, at 7:00 p.m. CST. It will be roughly 45 minutes long. Mr. S. (accompanied by his daughter) will read aloud from short stories, award prizes to the winners, and celebrate these humorous tales.

NOTEYou do NOT have to be present at the webinar to win your prize. But it will be fun, so don’t miss it!

Thursday, February 7, 2019
7:00 p.m. CDT

How to Join the Webinar:

Follow the link to the Webinar Room to join the event. The online “room” will be open a few minutes early—generally within 15 minutes before start time—so that you can connect and be ready before it starts. If it will be your first time watching one of our webinars, we recommend joining early so you have time to install the Zoom extension if you need to (the webinar service we use).

Parents / Family members:

Only students are eligible to receive giveaway items. Again, please make sure that short stories credited to students originated with the students themselves without input from the parent.

PLEASE NOTE:  We will only share your student’s submissions using their first name, age, and state/province of residence. No last names will be mentioned.

Short Story Guidelines

This particular contest submission is covered in Lesson 48 of the Cover Story Student Book.

Although the Student Book gives a 200–300 word guideline, we are accepting short stories between 200 words and 500 words in length. Longer or shorter pieces will be disqualified.

In Lesson 46, your student practiced writing step-by-step instructions by composing a set of directions leading the reader to a fictional place (invented by the student), pretending that this place is located within his or her hometown.

For this contest, your student will submit the follow-up content from Lesson 48. Here, they are asked to write an article as if they are following the directions written in Lesson 46. Instead of writing from the perspective of the magazine editor, they will write from the perspective of a travel writer, documenting their journey to your student’s invented location.

Ultimately, the student is meant to produce a humorous piece of writing detailing “how everything went wrong.” Using sensory details, they will describe what unexpected difficulties they encountered on their journey—at least one for each of the steps your student previously created when they wrote the directions.

Your student may enter the humor piece from their magazine if they wish, or they may compose a new short story to send in. Please refer to the video lecture and the textbook chapter for more information on writing this short story.

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