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English - Winning resource

Inspirational stories

Paralympic hopeful Ellie Simmonds tells her story in Swimming the Dream, part of the Collins Big Cat series of non-fiction readers.

What is it?

"If I go to the supermarket on my own I have to ask strangers to get things down from the shelves for me" - not words you'd expect to hear from a sporting champion. But Ellie faces challenges like this every day. However, four years ago, aged only 13, she won gold in the 100m and 400m freestyle swimming races in Beijing.

Ellie has achondroplasia (a bone growth disorder that causes the most common form of restricted growth, or dwarfism) and Swimming the Dream is her life story in her words: from splashing around in the family swimming pool in Birmingham to her new-found fame after the Beijing Games. She has since received an MBE, appeared on Blue Peter and won BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2008.

Why is it useful?

A topical story that introduces pupils to autobiographical writing with a useful glossary and learning objectives included, it is great for motivating pupils and reminding them that whatever challenges they may face, they can still achieve great things.

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