‘Creativity’ leads schoolyard prose in 2018
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‘Creativity’ leads schoolyard prose in 2018

Bravery, pollution, technology and environment were all strong contenders for the 2018 Australian Children’s Word of the Year but it was creativity that was named this year’s winner by Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand (OUP ANZ).

More than 500 entries were submitted by primary school and home-schooled children across rural, regional and metropolitan Australia.

Students submitted a piece of writing, of up to 500 words, based on a word they chose to reflect their lives and interests. Their work could be fiction or non-fiction, funny or serious, using the theme of their choosing.

A judging panel, consisting of academics and experts in children’s English language then evaluated the entries based on a word’s popularity, use of the word in context and frequency, to determine the Australian Children’s Word of the Year for 2018.

OUP ANZ Director of School Publishing, Lee Walker, said the strong theme of ‘creativity’ in this year’s written submissions gave her confidence that this generation of children will have the skills to confront some of the world’s greatest challenges in new ways.

“This year’s children’s writing submissions were filled with imagination, insights and possibilities. Children wrote of magic hens, happy lands, adventurous snails and many creative ideas linked to improving the world around them,” she said.

“Some of Australia’s greatest visionaries, such as Professor Graeme Clarke and Howard Florey, dared to imagine new concepts, inventions, and technologies that transformed the world we live in today. The originality and richness of the writing submitted by Australian children illustrates that this generation has the potential to do the same.”

Ms Walker also added that this year’s creative pieces reflected children’s aptitude for good structural writing.

“It’s evident when reviewing this year’s submissions that children across Australia are making excellent progress in the classroom. The communication of ideas and the quality of writing has been particularly impressive. This indicates a high level of student engagement, comprehension, and academic capability.”

Resilience and technology were also noted as strong themes in children’s writing, with recurring words including persistence, courage, and confidence, as well as some previously less common terms, such as meme, pixels, programming and gaming.

Seven winning wordsmiths ranging from Prep to Year Six, and one class winner from Victoria was also announced, with Prep student Nirbhay Singh (pictured) among the winners.

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