Writer's Guidelines

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Join PTA For Your Child

Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Our Children is the official magazine of the National PTA.


Please submit a brief, descriptive letter summarizing your idea for an article before you send us a finished piece. Include your credentials and a list of other articles you’ve published, if any, and explain your qualifications for writing the proposed article. The editor will get back to you regarding whether the article fits our current needs, and will suggest at that time any possible changes that might make the article more suitable for the magazine.

NOTE: We regret that our limited budget does not enable us to pay authors.


Most of the readers of Our Children are typical American parents, most of whom are officers in their local PTAs. Other readers include teachers, administrators, and others who care about children and their education. Our aim is to provide our readers with straightforward, informative articles that provide practical responses to the following general questions: How can I help my child lead a happier, healthier, more productive and richer life? How can I improve my child’s school and the education that school provides? What do I need to know about the major contemporary issues involving education and child welfare?

Style and editing

Direct, concrete articles written in basic, conversational English appeal most to our readers. Our Children is not a scholarly journal and does not publish articles written in scholarly format or in an overly academic style. Please avoid “educationese” and other jargon, and avoid using the passive voice. Articles will be edited for conformity to National PTA style and readability, and in some cases for content.

Submitting your article

The best way to get articles to the editor is to email them to the editor. The article can be submitted as the body copy of the message or as an attachment to the message. Please do not submit published articles or articles that are under consideration for publication elsewhere. We rely on the credibility and expertise of our authors for the material that appears in Our Children to be factually correct and authoritative.

Noncommercial considerations

Our Children does not publish articles about programs or projects other than those sponsored by cooperating organizations and those in which PTAs are key decision-makers or participants. Our Children may publish an article about a general subject in which the author gives a successful program as an example of how something can be improved. For example, one article on “how parents can communicate better with their children” referred to the parenting program STEP, citing some STEP program communication techniques for as an example. However, the article did not focus on STEP and did not advocate the use of STEP.

Because of the National PTA noncommercial policy, Our Children does not publish articles or news items about products/services, and will not mention a particular product/service in an article, unless it is among other products/services listed.

We can include the following information after articles:

  • Author’s name, degree and credential (if author chooses)
  • Names and publishers of recently published books
  • References to names of programs that the author sponsors
  • Author’s address (for questions/comments regarding the article only)
  • Transfer of rights

All authors retain copyright of their published articles. By accepting an author’s work for publication, the National PTA is assuming the following copyright privileges:

  • North American first serial rights: This entails the right to publish the work in Our Children and to use an excerpt in the magazine insert, Our Children Newsletter.
  • Right of reproduction in National PTA online and other electronic media: This entails the right to republish material that appeared in Our Children collectively or individually on the National PTA website and in other current and future electronic media created by the National PTA.
  • Right of reproduction by PTA and other nonprofit groups for noncommercial purposes: This entails allowing PTAs and nonprofit educational/parents’ groups to reproduce articles for nonprofit purposes of meetings and newsletters, provided appropriate author credit is given.
  • Right to translate text into foreign languages.


The writer warrants and represents to the National PTA (1) that he or she is the sole, exclusive owner of all submitted material, and that the submitted material is his or her original creation; (2) that none of the submitted material will violate the privacy of, nor constitute a libel or slander against or violate the rights of any person, firm or corporation.

Agreed to and accepted by:

Signed: _____________________________________ Date: ___________

Please send copies of the published articles to the following address (please print):

Name: _____________________________________________________________


City________________State____Zip Code:________

Please return the signed agreement by mail to Kisha DeSandies Lester, Senior Editorial Manager, Our Children, National PTA, 1250 N. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, by fax to (703) 836-0942, or by email to klester@pta.org.