The National Literacy Trust and Walker Books are launching a new competition in primary schools to encourage five- to nine-year-olds to write creatively while having fun with the well-loved character Wally, from the Where’s Wally? series of children’s books created by British illustrator Martin Handford.
Exploring imagery in books is an engaging way to develop children’s literacy skills and has been shown as a particularly effective way to support reluctant readers and boys. Former children’s laureate Anthony Browne says: “There is a terrible pressure on children to leave pictures behind and grow into words, as though this is an essential part of education and maturity. I strongly believe that the ability to read images is as equally important as the ability to read words.”
The Around the World with Wally writing competition provides teachers with resources and a new platform to improve children’s visual literacy skills, and give them a purpose and audience for writing.
By taking part in the competition, children will put themselves into Wally’s shoes and describe a new scene he has got lost in. This brief description will be written on the back of their own Where’s Wally? postcard template, and on the front they will draw or attach a picture of the scene they have described. The scene could be familiar or foreign, allowing teachers the option to assign something more specific which links into a current lesson plan.â€¨Schools will be provided with a suite of resources to enable them to deliver effective English and cross-curricular lessons and a sequence to elicit writing skills.
The winning pupil, chosen at random, will receive a Where’s Wally? book pack, book vouchers, and a printed winner’s certificate. The school of the winning pupil will win an afternoon of storytelling performances and workshops, £100 worth of Walker Books titles for the library, and a Where’s Wally? wall. Additionally, 10 runner-ups will win a Where’s Wally? book pack.
Gemma Niebieszczanski, the National Literacy Trust’s network and competitions manager, said: “We’re delighted to be launching this exciting new Where’s Wally? competition to provide teachers with a platform for encouraging young children to write using the very popular Wally as inspiration!
“A scenic image, such as those in our Around the World with Wally competition, can open up new realms for pupils to explore which can prompt and build ideas for writing. Encouraging a child to enjoy writing from an early age can boost their literacy skills and support them to reach their full potential.”
Donna Cassanova, Walker Books’ character publisher, says: ‘Walker Books, Martin Handford and Wally are delighted to join The National Literacy Trust in launching the Around the World with Wally writing competition.
“Reading, writing and drawing are central to Wally’s world, and when he’s not out travelling there’s nothing he enjoys more than writing about his experiences. He is thrilled to share his global travels and hopes they will inspire children, in turn, to share in words and pictures, the magic that exists in their own imaginations.’