Chalk talk: A creative competition to help foster a love of literature


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The Independent Online

And now for a welcome move to foster more creativity in the classroom.

Children's (and adults') poet Kit Wright is urging secondary-school pupils to come up with their own poems as part of the annual Children's Bookshow competition – supported by The Independent.

Wright, famous for his The Magic Box: Poems for Children collection, has asked them to write a poem inspired by a picture they have come across. It could be an Old Master or even a favourite family photograph – and children can base the poem on the whole picture or just a part of it. The competition, for which the closing date is 30 November, is part of a campaign to promote a love of literature among schoolchildren. There are two categories: one for children under nine and the second for nine- to 13-year-olds.

As part of the campaign, 14 authors and poets, including Michael Rosen and Catherine Rayner, winner of the Best New Illustrator Award by Booktrust, will be touring theatres and halls to give readings. The winners will each receive a signed copy of a book by each of the 14 authors involved, plus £150 worth of free books for their school. To submit an entry, email your poem and a copy of the picture that inspired it to:, along with your name, age, address and the telephone number of your school. Or entries can be posted to: The Children's Bookshow, PO Box 72006, London NW6 9RU.

On a similar theme, Hinchingbroke School pupils, in Cambridgeshire, will be declaring war on their normal school timetable today in a move that will probably receive the blessing of industry chiefs.

It will be one of four days in the school year devoted to developing skills such as resilience, teamwork and creative thinking – all the kind of things the Conferation of British Industry says should be developed in school, but often are not.

First-year pupils will be asked to tackle the question: "What made Lewis Hamilton?" Those in their final year will be doing archery, climbing, taking part in a boat race and tackling an assault course. Could catch on.