Are you a parent or carer of bilingual children? Encourage them to channel their inner creative and enter a dual-language short story and poem competition.
Bilingual children and young people across the county are encouraged to enter, to boost confidence, honour their languages and win an award, too!
The dual-language short story and poem competition is open to all English as an Additional Language pupils aged 5 to 13 years old. The competition will reward a first-place winner and runner-up in two different categories with certificates and a book token. Entries for the competition close on Friday 29 May 2020.
The English as an Additional Languages Service (EALS) Team at East Sussex County Council is also working to award every participant who enters with a certificate and book that has a collection of all the entries from this year’s competition.
Ultimately, the English as an Additional Language Service (EALS) hopes the competition will inspire bilingual students to have confidence to make progress in learning and to honour both their learned and home language.
Susan VanHaeften from the EALS team explained that the competition is more about students building confidence and respecting both of their languages equally.
“Everyone has a story in them,” Susan said. “I would encourage students to have a go… give it a start and believe in yourself and just start writing. You’ll be amazed at what you can produce.”
A legacy left behind
While the competition is in its second year, the Val Larkin Award would not have existed without the legacies from a devoted team member.
In February 2019, the EALS team lost one of their most dedicated team members, Val Larkin. But her legacies from her 15-year-long career and her inspiration lives on in the annual EALS competition named in her honour.
Susan described Val’s persistent drive to always find various ways to support the bilingual children she worked with and said that the competition is something Val would have thought of and encouraged.
“She was a really vibrant, lively member of our team who always contributed,” Susan explained. “She was massively positive about working with children, she really supported the children she worked with … and it’s important she’s remembered.”
And, this year’s competition has an added element of inspiration and honour.
The creative illustrations that dance across the award flyer are form Val’s daughter, Ashling Larkin, who is an illustrator and wanted to contribute.
Ashling explained that her mother always ‘went out of her way to help the students’ and that it’s been nice to still have a sense of collaboration with her mum through this award.
“She would be happy to know I did the illustrations,” Ashling said. “She would be over the moon to know this is happening and she would be honoured”.
How to Enter the Competition
The dual-language short story or poetry competition will be divided into two categories based on age: the first category will be for 5 to 9-year-olds and the second category is for 10 to 13-year-olds.
Your story and poem can be:
- Mostly in your home language, with some English
- mostly in English, with some of your home language
- or, in English and your home language.
The EALS team looks forward to reading each of the stories and poems and each participant is encouraged to be as creative as they can!
Participants can add illustrations or a border to their work. The short story or poem can also be handwritten or typed! Participants can ask adults to help with their story or poem, but the ideas must be the pupil’s.
It must be 50-500 words and it needs to have the entrant cover sheet attached.
The first-prize winner in each category will receive: A printed copy of their story, a certificate and a book token for £20.
The second-place winner in each category will receive: A printed copy of their story, a certificate and a book token for £15.
The EALS team is also working to award every participant who enters with a certificate and book that has a collection of all the entries for the Val Larkin Award 2020.
Make sure to send your entry via email to Bilingual.firstname.lastname@example.org or through the post. If you are sending through the post, you can send it to EALS, 3rd Floor St. Marks House, 14, Upperton Road, Eastbourne BN21 1EP.
Please submit your entries by Friday 29 May, 2020.