Teacher Awards for Lifelong Readers & Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry - NCTE


  • 1 (one) $10,000 Penguin Random House and NCTE Teacher Award for Lifelong Readers grant award for use by the winning teacher, made payable to Awardee’s school.
  • 1 (one) $10,000 Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry designated for programs specifically centered around poetry, made payable to Awardee’s school.
  • $2,500 in Penguin Random House titles for Awardees’ respective schools.
  • Transportation, lodging, and conference registration for the two Awardees to attend the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, November 19-22, 2020, if not already attending.
  • Select honorable mentions will receive Penguin Random House books for their classrooms.
  • Multimedia coverage of the winning teachers and schools via the Penguin Random House and NCTE websites, press releases, and newsletters.



These awards are available to full-time or part-time teachers in grades K-12 in the United States.

Criteria (must meet all or some)

  • Teachers who foster a passion and love of reading in students through programs and curricula that are innovative, original, and have measurable success. Innovative can be defined as, but not limited to, multimedia, interdisciplinary, or interactive.
  • Teachers who take risks in presenting books and literature or poetry to students in a unique way.
  • Teachers who are committed to reluctant readers and are visionary in their methods of reaching them.
  • Teachers who create distinctive programs and activities that support and promote a community of readers beyond the classroom, such as parents, community groups, and nonprofits.

Application Process

  • Complete the Application Form, including a detailed project plan, detailed budget, and detailed timeline.
  • Attach two letters of support—each not to exceed one page. One letter must be from a parent or student and the other from a supervisor or teaching peer. If you are nominated by someone else, the supervisor or teaching peer letter of support is not necessary.
  • Attach your professional resume.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete submissions will be disqualified.
  • The availability of these awards are under review for 2021. We do not currently have an open application or submission deadline in place. Please check back in the spring for further updates.


  • An evaluation committee of NCTE educators/members as well as selected Penguin Random House staff and authors will review all applications and determine the final award winners.
  • Winners will be notified by September each year and announced at the NCTE Annual Convention.
  • Official winners’ announcement and press release for 2019 were posted on Penguin Random House’s website and NCTE’s Awards page.

 If you have any questions, please contact us at TeacherAwards@ncte.org.