Johnstown Primary School Crowned BookSlam Champions
The National Round, held in Brecon this week, saw hundreds of pupils from primary schools throughout Wales competing for the National Championship. Their task was to impress the judges in two rounds, namely a 10 minute discussion and an 8 minute dramatic presentation based on their chosen books.
At the end of an exciting day Johnstown School, Carmarthenshire was crowned BookSlam Champions, having impressed the discussion judge with their knowledge of Teabag the Magnificent and the Road to Wembley by Neil Morgan. In the presentation round they wowed the judge with their colourful interpretation of Paul Manship’s novel Charlie Underwood Fights Back.
During the day’s activities, children and teachers also enjoyed an excellent session with award-winning guest author and artist Shoo Rayner, the author of several books for children, including Dragon Gold published by Firefly Press.
Medi Jones-Jackson, Children’s Books and Reading Promotion Officer at the Books Council, said: "The aim of BookSlam is simple: to get children from all over Wales reading. By analysing and performing what they have read, they are able to use their imagination and breathe life into some of the wonderful children’s books we have here in Wales. It was a great pleasure to see the children brimming with enthusiasm during the national round of BookSlam, and our thanks go to the dedicated and hard-working county organisers, teachers and other supporters that make these events possible."
The 2015 runners-up were Ferryside, Carmarthenshire, and Sully Primary School, Cardiff won third place. Thanks to the support of publishers Pont, Y Lolfa, Firefly and Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, every child who took part in the competition was invited to choose a free book to take home as a memento of the day.
Young Readers take over the Arts Centre
Hundreds of children from 29 schools across Wales took took over the Arts Centre in Aberystwyth for two days of eager competing on 16 and 17 June. It was the national round of Darllen Dros Gymru, the Welsh Books Council’s Welsh-language books competition for primary schools in Wales. All pupils were competing for a number of prestigious awards by discussing books and performing short dramatic presentations based on titles they had read.
The national round is the culmination of reading activities across all the regions, with the regional winners making it through to the final in Aberystwyth.
The competition for Years 3 and 4 took place on Tuesday, 16 June, and Ysgol Cefn Coch, Gwynedd, were named as national champions, taking home the Dr Dewi Davies Award. Ysgol Pen Barras, Denbighshire, came second place and Ysgol Llannon, Carmarthenshire, came third.
Ysgol Bronllwyn, Rhondda Cynon Taf, won the Anwen Tydu Memorial Trophy for the best presentation with their interpretation of Na, Nel! by Meleri Wyn James (Y Lolfa), judged by Heulwen Davies. Gareth William Jones judged that Ysgol Pen Barras gave the best group discussion, and their chosen book was Ti a Dy Rygbi by Sioned Lleinau (Gomer).
On Wednesday, 17 June, it was the turn of Years 5 and 6 to compete and Ysgol Gymraeg Treganna, Cardiff, emerged victorious as overall winners, taking home the Dr Dewi Davies Award. Ysgol Pentreuchaf were in second place and Ysgol Gymraeg Santes Tudful, Merthyr Tudful, in third position.
Ysgol Pentreuchaf also won the Anwen Tydu Memorial Trophy after impressing the judge, Dr Kate Woodward, with their dramatic interpretation of Darn Bach o Bapur by Angharad Tomos (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch). Ysgol Gymraeg Treganna won the award for the best group discussion, based on Ci Rhyfel, adapted by Gareth F. Williams (Gwasg Gomer), judged by Menna Lloyd Williams.
As part of the activities, children and teachers also enjoyed entertaining sessions with children’s author, Meleri Wyn James, author of numerous books for young readers, and the older pupils enjoyed poetry and rapping sessions with the Welsh Children’s Poet Laureate 2013–15, Aneirin Karadog, the following day. For many children, this interaction with an author can inspire them to further develop and explore their own reading journeys.
Medi Jones-Jackson, Children’s Books and Reading Promotions Officer at the Welsh Books Council, said: "These competitions aim to get children from across Wales reading. By analysing and performing what they have read, they are able to make use of their imagination and breathe life into some of the wonderful books we have in Wales. It was a great pleasure to see the children brimming with such enthusiasm during the national round of Darllen Dros Gymru at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, and our thanks go to the dedicated and hard-working county organisers, teachers and other supporters that make these events possible."
Thanks to the support of Dalen, Dref Wen, Gomer Press, Carreg Gwalch, Y Lolfa and Rily Publications, every child who took part was invited to choose a free book.