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My Words My World

A journalistic writing competition for secondary schools

magnifying glass3 September to 16 November 2014. Please note that this competition is now closed. Read about the results here

What was it all about? 
The competition task 
The prizes 
Supporting resources 

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What was it all about?

Following the success of our 2013 competition Write On, we once again teamed up with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) to bring secondary school teachers and librarians a competition and resources that aimed to engage young people with writing and provided interesting opportunities for teaching and learning around copyright law.

EarthResearch by the National Literacy Trust found that children and young people who do not enjoy writing and have negative attitudes towards the activity are much more likely to be below average writers[1]. The same research found that enjoyment of writing decreases significantly with age; secondary school students enjoy writing significantly less than primary school students. This competition inspired young people by asking them to write about issues that were important to them through an engaging and highly relevant form of writing, journalistic writing.

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The competition task

The challenge: students must put themselves in the shoes of a journalist and research and write a feature article for a newspaper or magazine on an issue that they’re passionate about.

To ensure that the competition task was flexible and could be easily integrated into class time students could work individually or in a group of up to three, and we did not placed any restriction on the topics that students could write about.

Entries were reviewed by a judging panel of journalists and teachers and the winning article will be featured in children’s newspaper First News, providing a real purpose and (huge!) audience for the students’ writing.

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The prizes

The winning entry was chosen by a judging panel that included journalists Judy Yorke and Maurice McLeod . The student selected won some fantastic prizes, including:

  • For themselves: Book vouchers and a tablet computer 
  • For their school: A journalistic writing workshop from Bim Adewunmi, professional journalist and Guardian Masterclasses tutor

FN logo smallThe winning article will also be featured in children’s newspaper First News, with an audience of over 1 million young people!

All winners and shortlisted entrants are invited to a prize-giving event in London in February 2015, where they will have the opportunity to mingle with and learn from professional journalists.

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Supporting resources

Promotional poster

Download here.

Stimulus film clips from freelance journalists

film clip screenshotFreelance journalists including Maurice McLeod and Judy Yorke share their passion for writing and their personal experiences of copyright and illegal reproduction of work. Use these film clips as a stimulus for discussion to focus your students’ attention before they begin the competition task.

Watch these film clips or find out more about our journalists.

Teaching ideas to support the competition task

Embed the competition task into class time using these curriculum-supporting teaching ideas and student handouts. Download

My Words My World teaching resourceThe resource covers five areas: 

  • Setting the context: Ideas for using the journalist stimulus clips to set the context and introduce the competition, and activities to support students to select their topic and formulate a key question to frame their enquiry.
  • Researching and organising data: Information about research techniques and resources to help students organise their data effectively, alongside a student guide to copyright law in the context of researching and organising data.
  • Preparing to write: Ideas and resources to support students to identify the features of non-fiction feature writing, as well as shared writing and planning activities.
  • Writing: A framework for teaching writing, with links to Key Stage 3 English.
  • Extending learning: Activities to support students to develop a social media campaign to promote their articles and the issues covered within them, with teaching ideas for linking this to current issues with copyright law in the context of emerging technologies and social media.

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[1] Children and Young People’s Writing in 2012, Clark (2013)


The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.