A national storytelling competition from Pearson, the leading digital media learning company, is seeking to boost child literacy and representation in writing, as teachers throughout England call for greater diversity across the curriculum.
Now in its fourth year, My Twist on a Tale: Represent! encourages children to shine a light on the page, representing what, and who, they feel is being left out in literature today. The competition comes after recent findings from Pearson’s landmark School Report, which sought the views of almost 7,000 educators in schools around England, found that only 1 in 20 teachers say education in schools today reflects the diversity of pupils’ lives.
As the journey to achieve inclusion continues in classrooms and communities, Pearson is empowering pupils aged 4 to 19 to depict people, issues and aspects of life away from society’s mainstream. Writing and reshaping their own diverse stories, this year’s young authors-to-be are invited to delve in to topics that feel close to their heart, whether that be ethnicity, relationships, gender, ability, poverty, technology, or more.
According to findings in the Pearson School Report, which was launched at the end of June, almost 6 in 10 teachers now want the national curriculum to develop a tolerance of diverse opinions among pupils to help them thrive in 2022 and beyond; 57% of teachers want to see a greater social and cultural awareness among pupils.
Commenting on these findings, and this year’s My Twist on a Tale initiative, Lindsay Nadin, Director of Primary Portfolio and Innovation Hub at Pearson said: “There is clearly a widespread desire among the teaching workforce to champion diversity and representation in schools today, which competitions like My Twist on a Tale: Represent! are striving to meet in ways that are inclusive, innovative, and – above all – fun.
“This year’s storytelling challenge has been created to prompt and celebrate better representation in the texts we read, write, listen to and share. Inspiring young people to think about their wider communities, and how their peers can be represented with balance and authenticity is not only important but a crucial step in the journey towards ensuring every learner feels represented and empowered in literacy.”
Supported by a range of competition partners including The Reading Agency, Love 4 Reading, Authors Aloud, Parentkind, Governor Cymru Services, Book Love, Bookmark, Coram Beanstalk, Libraries Connected, School Libraries Association, National Association of Special Schools, Ace Centre, BAMEed, LGBTed and British Stammering Association, My Twist On A Tale: Represent! invites children and young people to put the underrepresented centre-page – and portray today’s world for the readers of tomorrow. As the fourth incarnation of the annual storytelling series, the 2022 challenge follows the success of last year’s theme, My Twist on a Tale: Our Tomorrow, which saw thousands of children submit future-focused tales on a range of subjects covering sustainability, self-protection and more.
Entries for this year’s competition might focus on a minority-group protagonist, or explore non-traditional takes on modern family dynamics. Entrants may even decide to write on lesser-known aspects of current news stories. Whatever their choices and passions, the competition is their chance to contribute to a creative range of local and global narratives.
The winners will not only receive a prize but also see their works published as an illustrated collection for all to read, as well as in a selection of audio stories. One participating primary school will also win the chance to develop their own bespoke book on the theme with an expert author, to be published by Pearson in 2023.
Entries for this year’s competition will need to be submitted by 5pm on Friday 25th November 2022, when an expert judging panel will decide on the winning pieces. In addition to written entries, audio and video entries will also be accepted, as part of Pearson’s commitment to creating accessible opportunities for all learners.
To find out more about Pearson’s My Twist on a Tale writing competition and their range of diverse and inclusive texts for primary and secondary students, please visit go.pearson.com/Represent or follow us on Twitter @PearsonSchools, Facebook @PearsonUKSchools and Instagram @pearsonlitandeng