500 Words

500 WordsPhil: Because I am old (Apparently, although not old enough to shop at Marks & Spencer. Still at least 130 years too young for that) during the day, my wireless is tuned to Radio 2.

In the morning, they have been running a short story competition for children entitled “500 Words”. This tells you pretty much all you need to know about the rules. Sadly, we are too old to enter but that doesn’t mean they will be short of stuff to read. This year, there have been 120,000 stories submitted. That’s one child in 30 taking part – an impressive statistic.

With all these words, 50 million, there is an interesting analysis performed by the Oxford University Press. You can read the full report in PDF form here.

Children use the characters around them as characters in the stories they make up. Minions, from the film Despicable Me, are big this year. Lego gets a look in with and increased appearance too.

Sinkholes have been in the news and obviously attracted a lot of attention. You can see why – who knows what is at the bottom of the crevasses that has suddenly opened up? (Geologists I suppose, but I bet their answers are boring).  News programmes full of flooding earlier in the year have provided some handy jeopardy, perhaps the kids are putting themselves in the soggy shoes of those they see on-screen.

Cynics will scoff but I think this is brilliant. Children have always made up stories, I know I did, and encouraging them to limber up their imagination is surely a good thing.

Mind you, reading Chris Evans height in books might take them until they hit university!


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