Pupil letter-writers have chance to be published alongside Jacqueline Wilson

A new competition launched by the bestselling author asks children to write a letter to someone living far away

Adi Bloom

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Dear teacher,

Would your pupils like to have a letter published in a book by Jacqueline Wilson?

In that case, you should encourage them to enter Wilson’s new letter-writing competition forthwith.

Yours sincerely,

The judges

Bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson has launched a new competition, intended to encourage children to put pen to paper and write an old-fashioned, low-tech letter.

To tie in with her new book, Wave Me Goodbye, which features evacuees during the Second World War, she is asking pupils to write a letter to someone who lives far away.

The letter could be to an imaginary friend or relative in another country, or even to someone in a different historical period. Alternatively, it could be a letter sent in the future, to someone living on another planet. The only qualifier is that letters must be fictional, and cannot make reference to real people.

“All the evacuee children in my new book have to write letters home, so they can keep in touch with their families,” Wilson said. “Children are more used to texting and emailing nowadays – but I think it’s important to know how to write a stylish, interesting, literate letter.

“It’s a way of honing your language skills and truly expressing yourself.”

Better writers

The competition is open to children between the ages of 7 and 12. Wilson has written an accompanying book, in which she offers letter-writing tips to potential entrants.

The competition will be judged by Wilson, as well as by her editor at Penguin Random House, and representatives from a number of partner organisations, including the National Literacy Trust.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said that research has shown that letter-writing makes a significant difference to children’s broader writing skills.

“Letter writers are better writers,” he said. “Letter-writing helps children express their thoughts, process their emotions and spark their imaginations.”

In addition to having their letter published in a forthcoming book by Wilson, the winner will also receive £100’s worth of books and a subscription to children’s newspaper First News, as well as a bundle of books for their school. And they will be given the opportunity to meet Wilson.

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Adi Bloom

Adi Bloom is Tes comment editor

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