On 14 and 15 June, scores of children from 25 schools across Wales took over the Arts Centre in Aberystwyth for two days of keen competition. 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, 14 June, and Ysgol Llannon, Carmarthenshire, were named as national champions, taking home the Dr Dewi Davies Award. Ysgol y Gelli, Gwynedd, came second and Ysgol Gynradd Eglwyswrw, Pembrokeshire, were in third place.
Ysgol Llannon won the Anwen Tydu Memorial Trophy for the best presentation with their interpretation of Siencyn a'r Sipsiwn by Eurgain Haf (Dref Wen). Ysgol y Gelli, Gwynedd, gave the best group discussion and their chosen book was Nefoedd yr Adar by Ceris James (Gwasg Gomer). The adjudicators this year were Lowri Steffan for the presentations and Owenna Davies for the discussions.
On Wednesday, 15 June, it was the turn of Years 5 and 6 to compete and Ysgol Sant Baruc, from the Vale of Glamorgan, emerged victorious, taking home the Dr Dewi Davies Award. Ysgol Glan Cleddau, Pembrokeshire, were in second place and Ysgol Edern, Gwynedd, in third position.
Ysgol Edern also won the Anwen Tydu Memorial Trophy after impressing the adjudicator, Lowri Steffan, with their interpretation of Twm Bach ar y Mimosa by Siân Lewis (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch). Adjudicator Eirian Pritchard gave the award for best group discussion to Ysgol Glan Cleddau, who chose to discuss Eliffant yn yr Ardd, adapted by Emily Huws (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch).
As part of the national rounds, the children and teachers had the opportunity to enjoy sessions in the company of the author Caryl Lewis. On the following day, the older pupils enjoyed the company of Manon Steffan Ros, winner of the 2010 Tir na n-Og award (junior category) with her novel Trwy’r Tonnau, winning again with Prism in 2012.
Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council, said: "Darllen Dros Gymru is a great opportunity for children to reach for a book, read it and really enjoy its content. Children can use their imagination, dissect the book's contents and discuss what's happening in the story. Special thanks go to the dedicated organisers for their hard work in the county rounds, and to the teachers and supporters for ensuring the success of this event."
Thanks to the support of Dref Wen, Gomer, Carreg Gwalch, Y Lolfa, Dalen, Atebol and Rily Publications, every child who took part was invited to choose a free book to take home.