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Bringing out the Young Author in your child!

Bedtime stories

It may sound cliché, but there’s very little I love more than curling up in bed and reading a good book. Thinking about how much books have influenced my life, it suddenly struck me as funny to think that all of my favourite authors were once just as teeny as Bubba. Picture Roald Dahl, for instance, having bedtime stories read to him, his imagination rich with seedlings that would one day grow into stories cherished by children the world over.

Ashwini Sridhar
Ashwini Sridhar, winner of the Young Author Awards

Just recently, the 2012/13 Young Author Awards took place in Singapore, a writing competition open to regional youths under the age of 18. Taking top place was Ashwini Sridhar, aged 16, from the Global Indian International School who wrote an incredible 41,900 word essay titled ‘Chasing The Elements‘. No less than 480 entries were submitted from 50 schools, with 23 primary and secondary school students awarded prizes for their efforts. Here is a brilliantly gripping excerpt from Ashwini’s winning piece, ‘Chasing The Elements’, below:

The darkness was so complete, so entire, and only more so after the beast’s eyes closed. I didn’t think of him as a beast anymore, but I couldn’t think of anything else to call him. 

The darkness was so thick, it was suffocating, as if it was alive and trying to strangle the life from me. I couldn’t see the hand in front of my face. It wreaked havoc with my mind, making me afraid of the monsters that were surely hiding in the cloak of darkness. I don’t know how long I allowed the darkness to toy with my sanity, in the darkness no time passes; every moment is as black as the rest.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I lit a match, and I let its meagre light comfort me. It’s amazing how such a small flame lights so much darkness.

I could see the flames reflect a million times over in his iridescent scales. His scales were a pearl white, and though they were beautiful, they looked sad, as if they had lost something precious to them.

I walked towards the beast, hypnotized by the millions of flames that danced on his skin. Every time he breathed, the colours shifted and transformed. It was breath-taking, mesmerizing. 

He was magnificent, the kind of creature that stirred dreams and inspired hope.

He woke up, and stared at me with those eternal emerald eyes. I stared back into them. Neither of us uttered a word.

Isn’t it amazing? It gives me goose bumps reading her entry, I can’t wait to see where Ashwini’s gift for writing takes her – watch this space!

Encouraging a love for reading and writing can open up a whole new world to your child and transport them to places they have never been before. Who knows, in opening this door, you may even bring up a little J.K Rowling or C.S Lewis! There are many ways to spark your child’s interest in learning to write creatively…here are a few ways to get you started:

  • Read to your child and give them opportunities for them to read to you! If your child is of reading age, think outside the box – write them little notes in their school lunches or put on a performance at home so that they can enjoy performing whilst reading off a script they helped to write.
  • Take your child to different places, such as the Zoo or Jurong Bird Park, get them excited about a multitude of new experiences and then have them write about what they saw and how they felt.
  • Be a good role model! In this new age of technology, it’s sometimes hard to tear yourself away from emails…but try and be an example to your child by writing a letter to a family member now and again.
  • Be interested in what your child has to say. Offer to read their school projects and applaud their wonderful efforts. Key word here: PRAISE. Every child loves to be praised…keep on the look out for opportunities to tell them how absolutely amazing they are!

Do any of you have any tips for igniting the flame of creativity in your child? If so, post your ideas in the Comments section, we’d love to hear from you!

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