Posts Tagged ‘National Literacy Trust’

Hurry – Entries for the 2018 Wicked Young Writer Awards close on 12th March 18

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

“I credit the Wicked Young Writers’ Award with helping me find my voice as a writer and build my confidence. Having my winning story printed in the Anthology and read aloud by an actor from Wicked was a treasured moment. I have recently published my first book, lost and found, and I credit this award with being the first people to believe in me as a writer and so helping me to start this journey. The opportunities this award gives are unrivalled and I would urge every young writer to enter.”

Sophie Max, Wicked Young Writers’ Award winner 11-14 category 2012.  Sophie and one other winner have also shared their TOP TIPS TO BUDDING NEW WRITERS as has the bestselling author of How to Train your Dragon, Cressida Cowell, has also shared her tips too.  Scroll down to view them.

Now in its 8th year, the Wicked Young Writer Awards is a chance for young people from across the UK and Ireland aged between 5 and 25, to write on a theme or subject of their choice, so absolutely anything! It’s your chance to get creative and write on any theme that interests you. Young people are free to submit entries written at home or at school, and teachers are encouraged to enter writing on behalf of their pupils. The judges want to hear your voices through original writing and stories.

 FICTION categories – any creative writing will be accepted including a story, play, or poem with five age ranges – 5-7 years old   •   8-10 years old   •   11-14 years old   •   15-17 years old   •   18-25 years old

NON-FICTION categories – enter the Wicked: For Good Award for Non-Fiction and write an article, essay, biography, review or letter, to name a few! – 15-17 years old   •   18-25 years old

Launched in 2010, the free-to-enter, annual creative writing competition for 5-25 year olds raises money for, and awareness of, the National Literacy Trust who campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy.  The Wicked Young Writer Awards was established by the long-running musical WICKED to link the important messages of the production with a competition that would inspire young people to use creative writing to look at life a little differently. Since its launch in 2010, over 20,000 entries have been received.

Deadline for entries is  MONDAY 12th MARCH 2018. Entrants can submit their writing by visiting www.WickedYoungWriterAwards.com, where they will also find writing tips and resources from the Award judges.

JUDGING PANEL – The acclaimed WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS, created and sponsored by the award-winning musical WICKED in association with the National Literacy Trust, are delighted to announce that author, award-winning journalist and former Labour MP Ed Balls is returning to join on the judging panel, alongside acclaimed Young People’s Laureate for London, Caleb Femi and Editor-in-Chief of First News, Nicky Cox MBE. Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, returns as Head Judge for the fourth consecutive year, together with long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of WICKED.

Check out some Top Tips to Budding New Writers from bestselling children’s author and one of this year’s judges, Cressida Cowell as well as two previous winners:

Cressida Cowell

My top writing tip would be to read lots, to give you a feel for the way different stories can be told. Also practice writing as much as you can – write, and re-write – don’t worry if you don’t finish a story, as long as you are practicing, that’s what matters. Also don’t worry if your stories aren’t very long: I didn’t start out writing books as long as the ones I write now.

You can still do research when you are creating your own fantasy world. Kids often think that ideas get beamed into an author’s head, or that when you write fantasy you can’t do background reading, but many ideas in The Wizards of Once were sparked by books I read about the history of magic, and magical creatures.

You can be inspired by your own experiences. Ideas I had about Vikings and dragons during summer holidays when I was 9 years old became 12 books, and a film and TV series. I had a slightly unusual childhood (I spent my summers on an uninhabited Scottish Island), but the world we all live in is full of extraordinary, wonderful idea for stories. You only have to watch an episode of Blue Planet to see that’s true.

I always begin my stories with a map of my imaginary place. Lots of other authors have done the same – Robert Louis Stevenson drew a map of Treasure Island before starting to write. This is a really easy way of thinking about characters and setting.

Often kids say to be that they aren’t very good at writing, but I know that’s not true – what they’re struggling with is the mechanics of getting the words onto paper. If you can make up a game in the playground, or you tell your friends stories, you can be an author! Get an adult to write or type for you, if you need to.

Keep an ideas notebook so you can scribble down ideas and drawings. This doesn’t need to be neat, and no one should be correcting it for spelling, because spelling doesn’t matter. I kept an sketchbook for The Wizards of Once for about 5 years.

Cressida Cowell’s new book, The Wizards of Once is available now.

Sophie Max (Co – Winner of the 11-12 category, Wicked Young Writer Awards in 2012):

1. Write down all your ideas! I carry a journal to jot down sparks of inspiration. If I don’t have my journal to hand, I’ll use the Notes app on my phone.
2. I always say that I know my characters better than I know some real people in my life. Perhaps its because I’m also an actress, but I think you’ve got to know them inside out to be able to get inside their head and write their experience authentically. You need to love them in order for your readers to love them!
3. Jump in at the deep end! Just write. Try and turn off your inner critic and let the words flow out. Don’t worry about the grammar, the structure, the word count. You can go back and edit later. I like to get some distance from my work by not looking at it for 2 weeks, then go back and re-read it: once for typos/spelling/ grammar, then multiple times more for the sense, word choices and the story, to check I’m expressing myself exactly how I want to. Then, I leave it again for a week or two before starting the whole editing process again.
4. Inspire yourself! Meet interesting people, go to art galleries, watch plays and movies, read a variety of books, travel, keep up with the news, go for walks…you never know what might inspire you. Cultivate yourself because your writing comes from you- the more interested you are, the more interesting your work will be!
5. Each person has a different voice- your biggest power as an author is YOU. Write from your heart and imagination. Write what you’re passionate about. Never worry about what someone else thinks or mimic another writer – you won’t write the same as someone else and that is your
strength!  GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY WRITING!!

Iona Mandal (co-winner of the 8 to 10 category, Wicked Young Writer Awards 2017)

King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, Birmingham

“Good writing needs practice and is best nurtured over time. Try to write something new every day for the joy of it and refine your work continuously with time and patience.

Good reading makes good writing. A latent idea often needs a spark to emerge. Good books inspire conceptualizing new plots besides helping barge onto unfamiliar territory and subjects. Technology is a blessing and can be used judiciously to boost online reading. I tend to rely on personal experiences, anecdotes or even stories passed down orally over generations in the family. These can be valuable repositories in framing characters and situations from myriad perspectives as one chooses. Research becomes crucial especially if one is delving onto subjects demanding historical authenticity in terms of dates or facts. But I also tend to let my imagination run wild.

An inquisitive and sensitive mind always helps. Observation, often deliberately or unknowingly (till it becomes almost second nature) can help one make mental notes to be later translated onto paper.

A good piece of writing oozes power and yet remains silent. Hence, handpicking right words or phrases is vital so as to express ones thoughts and feelings as eloquently as possible so as to touch a chord with the reader. Building one’s vocabulary always helps but what is more important is to appreciate the meaning and feel of words so as to enrich the quality of writing.

Clarity of thought comes from knowing what you wish to accomplish exactly. It is worth keeping the plot simple with a few well thought out characters. Imperfections and peculiarities always work, so avoid clichés.

Normal is boring. There is a big, wide world out there waiting to be explored!”

RULES

  • 750-word limit (not including the title words)
  • Entrants must be aged between 5-25 years old when entering the Wicked Young Writer Awards
  • Entries can be hand-written or typed
  • Writing must be original and your own ideas
  • Judges criteria: originality, narrative, descriptive language, characterisation.
  • Ensure that all students include their name, surname and age on the entry form
  • Open to UK residents only

Full Rules can be found at Wicked Young Writer Awards

PRIZES

  • 120 finalists from across the UK will see their work published in the WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS Anthology, which will be published in association with Young Writers (www.youngwriters.co.uk). The 120 finalists are also invited to an exclusive ceremony at London’s Apollo Victoria, home to the musical WICKED since 2006, where judges and members of the WICKED cast announce who has won in each category.
  • The overall winners from each category will win £50 book/eBook tokens, and the 5-14 year old winners will receive £100 worth of books for their school library kindly donated by Hachette Children’s Group.
  • Winners in the 15-17, 18-25 and FOR GOOD categories will also win an exclusive writing experience with one of the Awards’ literacy partners.
  • The three schools that submit the most entries will also win a Creative Writing Workshop for their school for up to thirty students delivered by WICKED’s education team.
  • Winners in all categories receive a VIP family experience at the West End production of WICKED, including tickets, an exclusive backstage tour and a meet-and-greet with members of the cast.

AWARD PARTNERS

NATIONAL LITERACY TRUST – The Award is proud to partner with National Literacy Trust.  One person in six in the UK lives with poor literacy. This holds them back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and on becoming a parent they won’t be able to support their child’s learning. Lacking these vital skills undermines their well being and stops them making a full contribution to the economic and cultural life of our nation. The National Literacy Trust is a national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK. It works to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities, where up to 40 per cent of people have literacy problems. Its research and analysis make it the leading authority on literacy. Because low literacy is intergenerational, the National Literacy Trust focuses its work on families, young people and children.

FIRST NEWS – First News is the Media Partner to the awards and is the UK’s only newspaper for young people. It was founded in 2006 by Sarah and Steve Thomson with editor Nicky Cox. It has always been independently owned and have no political affiliations. It is published both print and digital editions every Friday. Ten years on, over 2 million young people nationwide read First News each week with over half of all UK schools subscribing to the paper.

LOVEREADING – We have just joined the Awards as a partner for 2018. LoveReading is a unique family of websites including Lovereading.co.uk, Lovereading4Kids.co.uk and Lovereading4schools, and media channels which helps to connect writers, readers, publishers and organisations with an active and enthusiastic audience of book lovers.

THE LITERACY SHED – a unique online resource for teachers, home to a wealth of visual resources collected by primary school teacher Rob Smith over 10 years as a teacher. The Literacy Shed has over 24k followers on Twitter.

PRIMARY TIMES – over 18 million copies of Primary Times magazines distributed every year through primary schools in 59 regions across the UK and Ireland.

 

ABOUT WICKED
Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire that ingeniously re-imagines the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.  Now in its 12th year in London and acclaimed as “one of the West End’s true modern classics” (Metro), WICKED has already been seen by over 8.5 million people in London alone and is the recipient of over 100 major awards worldwide, including ten theatregoer-voted WhatsOnStage Awards (winning ‘Best West End Show’ on three occasions) and two Olivier Audience Awards in the UK.

 

 

Children’s love of reading at all-time high, research shows

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Children’s love of reading is at an all-time high according to a survey of more than 42,000 pupils.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the National Literacy Trust’s (NLT) Young Readers Programme – the first national initiative of its kind – the charity has published data showing that more than three quarters of primary school children (77.6%) enjoy reading, the highest ever recorded by the NLT. It also showed that 10-year-olds who enjoy books have a reading age 1.3 years higher than their peers who do not, rising to 2.1 years for 12-year-olds and 3.3 years for children aged 14.

The NLT will also publish on its website ’20 Years of Children’s Choices’ which celebrates the most popular books chosen over the last two decades by the children who have taken part in the project.  The first year of the programme (1997) saw Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Bloomsbury) top the list. Subsequent favourites included Skellig by David Almond (Hodder Children’s Books) the following year, The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler (Macmillan Children’s Books) in 1999 with Anthony Horowitz’s Stormbreaker (Walker Books) riding high in 2000. Last year’s winner was Bake Me a Story by Nadiya Hussain and illustrated by Clair Rossiter (Hodder Children’s Books).

Liz Pichon’s The Brilliant World of Tom Gates (Scholastic) was chosen as the most inspirational children’s read of 2011. Pichon has supported the scheme for many years, delivering storytelling sessions in numerous primary schools.

She said: “I’m often contacted by parents who tell me how their kids were reluctant readers and how seeing them with their noses in a book – sometimes for the first time – makes them both happy. Helping children to find the books that they enjoy is so important, as reading should be a pleasure that will hopefully stay with them for life.”

Jonathan Douglas, director of the NLT, said: “We are thrilled that our research has found children’s enjoyment of reading to be at an all-time high. When children enjoy reading and have books of their own, they do better at school and later in life, so we must continue to do everything we can to inspire children to fall in love with reading for a lifetime.”

A recent evaluation found that, after taking part, reading enjoyment levels rose for 93% of participants and reading attainment levels rose for 92%.

In February, the NLT exposed a “literacy crisis” with  86% of constituencies (a total of 458 out of 533) contain at least one ward with literacy issues.

For more information, visit literacytrust.org.uk or read the full report here.

Share tales over tea to raise money for literacy

Friday, May 26th, 2017

The National Literacy Trust and Boots Opticians are calling on book lovers and baking enthusiasts to help give disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed, by holding a Tales and Teapots party.

 

The fundraising initiative, which was developed by Boots Opticians, launched last year when hundreds of people held parties across the UK. It encourages friends, family and colleagues to come together and share books they’ve enjoyed over a slice of cake, while raising money to support the National Literacy Trust’s work in the UK.

 

This year Tales and Teapots is being supported by author and Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, who has provided an exclusive recipe for party hosts and is encouraging baking and book fans across the country to get involved. Nadiya said:

 

“Hold a Tales and Teapots party and celebrate two of my favourite things – books and baking!  The funds you raise will go to an incredibly worthwhile cause – the National Literacy Trust’s work to give disadvantaged children books and a path to a successful future. I love sharing stories with my children and I hope there will be many parties across the UK to ensure that all children have the opportunity to enjoy reading and the world of stories too.”

 

Tea party hosts can register for a free party pack, which contains posters, invitations, balloons and decorations, at literacytrust.org.uk/talesandteapots. Recipes and other useful resources will also be available on the website.

 

The National Literacy Trust and Boots Opticians have been working together since May 2015 to highlight the links between eye health and literacy. Their partnership aims to improve the literacy skills and life chances of the UK’s most disadvantaged children.

 

Amy Grilli, Project Manager at the National Literacy Trust said: “For many of us, sitting down to enjoy a good book with a cup of tea is one of life’s simple pleasures, but for one child in seven in the UK there are no books of their own to read at home.

 

A Tales and Teapots party is a great chance to catch up with friends and share your favourite stories, while helping the National Literacy Trust inspire more children to enjoy reading. After a successful first year, we are delighted to be working with Boots Opticians on this exciting initiative again and hope to see even more people enjoying parties this June.”

 

Demonstrating their commitment to the initiative, every one of Boots Opticians’ 600* practices across the UK will host a Tales and Teapots party on 2 June 2017. Everyone who hosts a party and sends in their donations before 30 June 2017 will have the chance to win exciting prizes, including a fantastic box of books from Walker Books.

 

The money raised at Tales and Teapots parties across the country will give children and young people books to keep and empower them with the literacy skills they need to improve their employability and reach their full potential.

 

To sign up for a free party pack, visit literacytrust.org.uk/talesandteapots.


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