Student Choice encourages young people to read short stories
This week, young people across the UK are choosing their favourite short story from the top five entries to the BBC National Short Story Award in partnership with Book Trust.
Schools can shadow the Award by downloading resources, which include the shortlisted stories, general guidance on what makes a good short story and discussion points about the shortlisted stories. And young writers can also find short story writing tips to help them develop their stories.
The Award is now in its tenth year, and is one of the most celebrated Awards for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, the runner-up £3,000 and three further shortlisted authors £500 each. Past winners include Lionel Shriver, Kate Clanchy and Zadie Smith.
This year, 186 schools in the UK applied to take part in Student Choice, an opportunity for A Level students to shadow judge the award, and just under 500 A-Level students in 21 secondary schools across the UK have been chosen as official student judges.
One student at Kingsthorpe College in Northampton said:
I love reading and I adore books. I am so excited because it has given me the opportunity to discover and understand the short story genre. I am excited that I can be a shadow judge and share my opinions with my fellow students. I am also really looking forward to casting my vote. It is a fantastic opportunity to be inspired by these authors and their work.
Student Choice meeting at Kingsthorpe College in Northampton.
The Award shortlist will be announced on the 16 September, and participating schools have until the 29 September to read the shortlist and vote for their favourites to win the Award. Schools from every UK region are taking part in the judging process, including St Vincent's School for the Blind in Liverpool who are reading the Award anthologies in Braille.
Anne Stokes, the Manager of Learning Resources at St John's School in Wiltshire said of the opportunity to shadow the Award:
In Sixth Form, workload increases substantially and 'free' time for reading things other than set texts sadly sometimes gets sidelined.
To shadow a prestigious award such as this (especially short stories) would be a wonderful way of engaging our students in a very positive way with reading. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing the students discussing what they have read in the stairwells, in the common room and over lunch, and what a wonderful role model this presents to the whole school community.
Other schools noted the value to students of taking part in a high profile competition with media coverage, and the benefit to students of reading and discussing a less familiar literary form.
It is really good for our students here on the island to be involved in things beyond the Isle of Man - they can be rather insular sometimes, and things like this give them an idea of a world beyond the island.
Both the winning Student Choice story and the overall Award winner will be announced on BBC's Front Row programme on 6 October.
The official schools taking part in Student Choice 2015 are: Caistor Grammar School, Kingsthorpe College, Valentines High School, Eastbrook School, The Highfield School, Ballakermeen High School, Bishop Thomas Grant School, Paddington Academy, Drayton Manor High School, Excelsior Academy, Bellerive FCJ Catholic College, St Louis Grammar School, Princes Risborough Secondary School, St John the Baptist School, St John's School, The Woodroffe School, King Edward Vi School, Thirsk School and Sixth Form College, St Gerard's School, Jedburgh Grammar School, St Vincent's School for the Blind