En­cour­ag­ing cre­ative writ­ing

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page -

Chil­dren in Years 5 and 6 have the op­por­tu­nity to win their share of up to $11 750 when the na­tional Pi­lot Pen Cre­ative Writ­ing Schol­ar­ship opens next week.

Launched in sup­port of Na­tional Lit­er­acy and Nu­mer­acy Week, the Pi­lot Pen Cre­ative Writ­ing Schol­ar­ship aims to en­cour­age the use of imag­i­na­tion and to fos­ter a love of hand­writ­ing in chil­dren.

Judged by celebrity au­thor Andy Grif­fiths and child psy­chol­o­gist Jo­ce­lyn Brewer, the com­pe­ti­tion aims to get chil­dren away from the lap­top or com­puter and get writ­ing.

Hav­ing writ­ten more than 20 chil­dren’s books, in­clud­ing the much-loved Just! se­ries, Mr Grif­fiths is pas­sion­ate about in­spir­ing a love books among chil­dren.

He de­vised this year’s story starter, ‘‘I used to be­lieve,’’ as a way to prompt chil­dren’s imag­i­na­tions to get writ­ing.

‘‘Pro­grams such as the Pi­lot Pen Cre­ative Writ­ing Schol­ar­ship are in­stru­men­tal in fos­ter­ing a love of cre­ative writ­ing, hand­writ­ing and the use of imag­i­na­tion amongst chil­dren — valu­able skills that chil­dren take with them through­out their lives,’’ Mr Grif­fiths said.

Ms Brewer said cre­ative writ­ing was an im­por­tant ac­tiv­ity for young chil­dren to prac­tise and it had many ben­e­fits to their ed­u­ca­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment.

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‘‘De­vis­ing a plot, de­vel­op­ing char­ac­ters and work­ing out a nar­ra­tive is enor­mously re­ward­ing for young chil­dren. It en­cour­ages prob­lem solv­ing, the abil­ity to think in­de­pen­dently, de­vel­ops their cu­rios­ity and gives them a ve­hi­cle to ex­press their in­di­vid­u­al­ity in a cre­ative way,’’ she said.

Ms Brewer said hand­writ­ing was par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to prac­tise and it also en­cour­aged time away from the com­puter key­board and mod­ern tech­nol­ogy — which could be ben­e­fi­cial.

‘‘Tech­nol­ogy has its place, but there is some­thing won­der­fully tac­tile about hold­ing a pen and putting your thoughts on paper. Not only does this help to de­velop fine mo­tor skills, re­search sug­gests that hand­writ­ing ac­tively en­gages the imag­i­na­tive part of the brain, which is so im­por­tant in a young child’s de­vel­op­ment,’’ she said.

En­tries must be be­tween 250 and 350 words. En­tries open on June 2 and must be re­ceived by last mail on Au­gust 22. First, sec­ond and third prizes of up to $1000 will be awarded in each state group (NSW/ACT, Queens­land/ North­ern Ter­ri­tory, Western Aus­tralia, South Aus­tral, and Vic­to­ria/Tas­ma­nia).

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.pi­lot­pen.com.au

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