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BBC Radio 2’s 500 WORDS 2015

BBC Radio 2’s 500 WORDS 2015

19 January 2015

Get reading. Get writing. Get inspired.

The BBC Radio 2 500 WORDS competition, run by the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, asks children aged 5-13 to compose an original work of fiction in no more than 500 words. Promoting literacy among children by encouraging them to explore their creativity through writing and reading, this year's competition is set to be bigger and better than ever.

The judging panel for 2015 includes 500 WORDS head judge Richard Hammond, the highly-acclaimed author of the Horrid Henry series, Francesca Simon, best-selling authors Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell Boyce, and Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman. Supported by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, the final of the competition will take place at St James's Palace in May 2015.

For the past three years, Oxford Dictionaries for Children has collected and analysed all of the words used by young writers in the competition. With the help of the Oxford Children's Corpus, Oxford Dictionaries for Children explores the ways children use language today, their favourite words, invented words, and new words. This year, Oxford Dictionaries for Children will be looking for trends that have emerged over previous years of analysis including the areas of literary influences, technology, and popular culture.

To give children the inspiration to get writing, OUP has provided the BBC with the data to create an Alphabot (a virtual robot random word generator): a tool which suggests and defines a random selection of words to spark creativity.

Vineeta Gupta, Head of Children's Dictionaries, Oxford University Press, said:
‘Each year we are inspired by new and imaginative ways in which children use language.  We will be working with the University of Oxford to analyse this year’s stories to gain further insights into the use of language by children across the UK.’

OUP’s continued involvement with the competition deepens its understanding of children’s language as part of the organization’s on-going language research to inform its dictionary compilation programme.

The 500 WORDS 2015 competition closes on the February 26th 2015 at 7pm.

Find out more about this year's competition on the BBC website.