Our middle Radish recently entered a writing competition run by Young Writers. As a teacher I have come across these competitions before (and run them), so I am a big fan. What I love about them the most is that they encourage all children to have a go. The main premise is to create a ‘mini saga’ (no more then 50 words), based on a given theme. This time around it was ‘Amazing Adventures’, which is pretty open to interpretation. The themes tend to be ‘boy’ friendly for want of a better phrase. I don’t mean that they are not suitable for girls, but they do tend to focus in more on the stereotypical ‘likes’ of boys, such as pirates! This is not a criticism, it’s just an observation. In my experience, boys can be a tricky lot when it comes to engaging with writing. But, by choosing a genre that they are more likely to be drawn to and throwing in the fact that it’s only 50 words, you’re onto a winner. Of course there are boys out there who love reading and writing without all of the sneaky hocus pocus that teachers and parents conjure up, however, I am a firm believer that you should use whatever means necessary (ethical of course!) to encourage all children to embrace literature and literacy.
I digress (a common occurrence in my blogs). The winning pieces have been published in a paperback anthology which is available to all. I am proud to report that our Radish’s saga was chosen and here it is:
‘At last,’ Captain Seaweed cried, ‘the treasure is mine.’ Proudly, he held it in the air. Suddenly his boat began to sink. He jumped overboard and floated (treasure in hand) to safety. He sat down. He was alone. He sighed heavily and wondered if anyone would ever save him…
Apart from the chance to shamelessly crow about her achievement, I wanted to share this initiative with you because I am genuinely impressed with what Young Writers do. To encourage children to write can sometimes be a tricky business, but the format used seems to create a buzz of excitement. I do urge you to visit the website, which has sections for teachers, parents and children. Go on, you could even buy one of their anthologies. You never know, perhaps you will stumble across the next Dahl or Rowling just waiting to be discovered.