This Storytelling Week, Stoke Reads – the local literacy campaign delivered by the National Literacy Trust – launched a city-wide creative writing competition entitled Six Towns Stories. Based on the theme of journeys, the competition is encouraging young people to write for pleasure and celebrate the storyteller within them. It is open to all young people aged 7-11 across the city, running from 30 January to the 6 March.
The competition has been carefully designed by 12 Youth Literacy Champions from The Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent in partnership with Kreative Foundations. The students have co-created the writing packs and storytelling prompts, and will judge the finalists. By challenging the local primary school children to tell their own story, the secondary school volunteers hope to inspire Stoke’s next generation of writers with creativity and confidence.
To kick off the activity, Stoke Reads hosted two brilliant days of workshops in Tunstall Library. The Youth Literacy Champions helped to lead these engaging sessions and empower the 120 lucky children who attended from four local schools.
“It’s been so much fun producing the competition and hosting the library workshops. I wanted to take part so I could show the younger students that there are no rights or wrongs in creativity, helping them to go into their imagination and enjoy creative writing as much as I do. Being creative can help you overcome challenges and allow you to think your way around a problem. That would have helped me when I was younger, and will still help me now.”One Youth Literacy Champion from The Co-op Academy
The competition seeks to combat some of the lowest levels of national writing enjoyment seen in a decade by allowing young people to experiment with creativity. National Literacy Trust research from 2022 showed that on average, well over half of children across the country (59.7%) do not enjoy writing in their free time. This is a worrying figure when we know that writing can help improve children’s wellbeing and attainment at school. Making writing for pleasure accessible will break down barriers to literacy more broadly.
“The competition has been a joy to co-create, from training the KS3 Youth Literacy Champions in creative writing with our education partner Kreative Foundations, to seeing the mentorship that’s developed between the ages. It is wonderful to see the older children take pride in passing the baton of creative writing down to their younger peers. We want to show Stoke that creative writing is not just for the classroom, but for developing creativity, imagination, and new skills. These attributes are vital for both wellbeing and educational attainment, giving our city’s young people the literacy skills they need to achieve in life.”Lois Bateman, Hub Manager for Stoke Reads
Enter the competition
Stoke Reads would love to see your story. Entrants will be in with the chance of seeing their work published in a Stoke Reads Anthology. For details on how to enter, please visit our Six Towns Stories webpage.