Guest blog: Rhyming Competition for Primary School Children

Guest post by Lauren Oldacre (Leeds Trinity University) on behalf of Christina Gabbitas.  

Christina Gabbitas of Poems and Pictures sends ‘An Invitation to capture the Primary School Nation’ Schools are invited to participate in the Eight Line Rhyme competition at www.poemsandpictures.co.uk/competition .

The  author of children’s book series Felicity Fly www.felicityfly.co.uk has launched this competition which is sponsored by Jordan’s Solicitors and Teachers Building Society , aimed at primary school years five and six. The competition runs between 24th January until 26th April 2013 and participants are asked to write a rhyme of eight lines, on themes covered in the first two books of the Felicity Fly series: either fears and phobias or teamwork and friendship.

The winning child of the competition gets their poem published in the third book of the Felicity Fly series, which is to be released in October, coinciding with National Book Week. Christina will also visit  the winner’s school for the day to read stories and have fun with rhyme. The school’s name will  be featured in each successive print run of the third publication. There will also be a selection of entrants rhymes published in a special book of eight line rhyme book.

The inspiration for the poetry and rhyming element in both the Felicity Fly series and the competition is that young children learn better with rhyme, which makes poetry easier to comprehend. Rhyme engages children more easily and makes reading fun. In particular, this was true for Christina’s son, who is affected with dyslexia which was not detected until he reached his secondary school years. After staging many book signings, throughout WHSmith and Waterstones, Christina, also found the same when speaking to both parents of other children affected by dyslexia and those afflicted themselves.

Eorann Lean of the British Dyslexia Association is one of fourteen judging the competition. The other judges are Christina Gabbitas; Christine Sands, partner at Jordans Solicitors; John Gilmore, BBC Lancashire presenter; Alan Gravett , Teachers Building Society; Wes Butters, BBC Leeds broadcaster and Director of Mediable Ltd.; Paulette Edwards, BBC Sheffield presenter; Clare Burkhill Howarth of Book Events for Children; Elly Fiorentini, BBC York presenter; Russ Piper, CEO of Sovereign Healthcare; Heather McAvan of Twinkl; Julie Omond, illustrator; Elizabeth Davis-Johnstone of Holy Family School, Carlton; and myself, Lauren Oldacre, student of Leeds Trinity University.

With such a vast array of judges from various walks of life, the competition will be provided with a broad and fair judging system despite the themes being those with which anyone can easily identify, regardless of age, occupation, gender and so on. Fears and phobias affect children and adults alike and both age groups need teamwork and friendship to thrive in most everyday situations, albeit our perceptions alter as years progress. Therefore, it will be incredibly rewarding to recapture just what these themes mean to a younger mind.

It would be delightful to see the fruits of our labour in the form of a desk inundated with entries from many primary schools; this would not just be rewarding for us but also for the children who take the time to think up the nearly infinite ways of expressing themselves through the wonderful art of words. Hopefully that will very shortly become a reality, so now all that is left is for the children of the primary schools in the UK to put pen to paper.

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