The competition, organised by Explore Learning is now in its fifth year and will be judged by best-selling author, Cressida Cowell, writer of the world famous How To Train Your Dragon series, which inspired the hugely successful DreamWorks movie.
Children aged 5 to 14 from Swindon are busy writing a 500 word short story on this year’s theme – “Around the World”. The competition launched on Monday 15 April and the closing date is Monday 3 June.
It is absolutely free to enter via www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngwriters or by picking up an entry form from your local Explore Learning centre. The winner will be awarded with their prize of a trip to Disneyland Paris for their whole family – and £500 worth of books for their school – presented by Cressida Cowell in June. There will also be prizes for Regional winners and certificates for all participants.
Cressida actually won a similar writing competition when she was nine years old and says that it inspired her to go on to become one of the UK’s best loved children’s authors.
Cressida says: “I’m delighted to be involved in this year’s National Young Writers’ Award. Writing in itself is quite intimidating so competitions like this give children confidence in themselves. When I won the writing competition I was just nine and it made me think, ‘I could do this one day’ and appreciate that I was actually quite good at it.”
She adds: “It is so important to encourage children to write stories and think creatively – especially when the time for children to write their own stories and explore their creativity in an uninhibited way is being squeezed under the national curriculum.”
“There are many jobs where writing is very important so if we can inspire children to love writing early on – and have confidence in themselves – they will be inspired to keep going and write their stories down. Children need to realise that all writers began somewhere and this could be the perfect opportunity to start!”
Explore Learning, who are organising the competition, provide English and maths tuition to children aged 5 to 14. They have 78 centres located across the UK and will be running free workshops with local libraries, schools and community groups to inspire children’s love of writing.
Carey Ann Dodah, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “We’re very excited about this year’s National Young Writers’ Awards and anticipate it to be bigger than ever before. There will be regional winners selected and each child who enters will receive a certificate celebrating their efforts. Cressida and the team will be judging the entries on their creative approach, ingenuity and use of descriptive language – and of course taking into account age.”
“Many children have a gift for writing and it’s so important to nurture this from an early age to build up confidence, and most importantly, enjoy it. We’re really looking forward to seeing what the children of Swindon have to offer.”
Last year’s winner was seven year old Jamie Reger from Surrey who took first prize with his story, “The Black and White Bear”. You can read his story at www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngwriters.
Currently over 20,000 children attend Explore Learning nationally. Each session is tailored to a child’s needs and Explore tutors work with children in a very low ratio (the maximum ratio is 1:6), ensuring the right balance between individual support and independent learning.
Explore Learning will be running free workshops with local libraries, schools and community groups to inspire children’s love of writing and encourage them to get involved in the competition.
Explore Learning is located inside Sainsbury’s Bridgemead, Swindon SN5 7YG. Parents wanting to find out more can call their local Explore Learning centre on 01793 614641 or visit www.explorelearing.co.uk.