INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed author Joanne Harris has given her support to The Yorkshire Post Turning the Page campaign’s aim of promoting a love of reading and writing among children.
The campaign will include two new competitions which will celebrate the best work being done in Yorkshire schools and the best writing produced by youngsters in a short story competition being run by the paper.
Mrs Harris, whose novels include Chocolat, Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange Holy Fools, Coastliners said the most important step to raising literacy standards in the county’s schools would be to ensure children develop a love of stories.
She said: “I’m so happy to hear about TheYorkshire Post’s initiative to help improve literacy in Yorkshire.
“Children perform best in the subjects they love, not in the ones they are told are important,or the ones in which they will be tested.
“Therefore, the first essential step in promoting literacy is to encourage children to love stories.
“A love of stories leads children to books; to reading; to writing stories of their own.
“Stories open the doors of the mind; they encourage empathy and understanding of others; they activate the imagination; they offer worlds of possibility.”
Next week’s Education on Monday will include full details of the Turning the Page short story writing competition.
It will be inviting entries from pupils across Yorkshire in three age categories: Up to the age of 11; up to the age of 14 and up to the age of 16.
The best entries will be shortlisted by an expert panel with winners announced in May.
Mrs Harris, who was born and brought up in Barnsley, added: “Stories are not about performance, or assessment, but about excitement; sharing; discovery. I hope this competition will encourage lots of young people to tell their stories in their own ways; to play; to create; to experiment; and most of all, to have fun.”
The campaign will also include a competition to celebrate the best teaching which will be launched later this month.