10 Year Anniversary of Story Competition for Dyslexic Writers
In 2008 Dolphin ran a competition for students across the UK, in collaboration with AltFormat.org, the RNIB, Dyslexia Action and the British Dyslexia Association. Dyslexic and visually impaired pupils were invited to write a story by Sir Steve Redgrave, five times Olympic gold medal winner and fellow dyslexic.
Writing a story is a challenge for the 10% of pupils estimated to be living with the learning difficulty dyslexia, which affects reading and spelling. Unencumbered by the fear of being judged on their grammar and spelling, primary and secondary school children from around the country sent in their creative, inspiring and often heartfelt stories.
There were 9 winners in 3 categories (details below), who were presented with their trophies by Sir Steve at the House of Commons. Also in attendance were David Blunkett and other MPs.
At the time, Sir Steve commented “this AltFormat story competition has clearly allowed the children’s writing skills to flourish … parents have spoken to me today about their child’s confidence growing from this amazing experience and for being recognised for their creative intelligence, not just their dyslexia.”
To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of this unique competition, we have added the winners’ stories to a new Dolphin library, as DAISY digital talking books with human narrated voices. You can enjoy these tales by downloading our FREE accessible reading app EasyReader onto your device using the Apple App Store or Google Play. You can find the stories in the "Story Competition Winners" library.
We also tracked down and spoke to two of the winners, to find out how the competition influenced them and what they are up to now.
Rosalind McConville works within the Digital Media Team for Santander and has dyslexia. Rosalind was interested in the concept of developing a diverse narrative and then putting the story to it. This was the inspiration for her winning entry ‘Fallen From Grace’. Rosalind says “it was a major confidence booster winning something like that, especially when it is something that you are so insecure about - having dyslexia – and that creative side of you being suffocated. To know that you can still do things like this and you can still have this creative flurry and use words - it’s empowering to win something like that … The competition was a great thing - a really, really positive thing. When someone is in that ‘in between’ stage, where you don’t really know who you are and whether it’s a gift to be given something like dyslexia, or a hindrance. It was great to get a little boost to make it a positive thing in your own mind”.
Aaron Austin Locke is secretary of the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) and chair of his local branch. He has dyslexia, mild dyspraxia and ADD. Aaron’s winning entry ‘An Unforgettable Dream’ was placed in a historical setting that he was studying at the time. Aaron says “Meeting Sir Steve Redgrave was exciting, particularly to do so in the House of Commons. If I recall, David Blunkett was also present which was exciting as it made me realise that SpLDs or other disabilities were no reason to hold you back. Looking back, the day in London I spent with my family and teacher I will remember forever as a happy, exciting and confidence-boosting day … The immediate impact on myself was to give me confidence, not only in the short-term, but in the longer term because the head of English put me in set 1 for English as a result … I am aware that it gave a boost to my parents with regards to supporting me with issues of self-esteem and through my GCSEs, and to my school too … My mother also taught study skills, and seeing this software introduced it to her so that she could expand her teaching techniques”.
- 1st Joseph Leeland, King Edward VII Sports & Science Community, read ‘You are running and suddenly fall down a hole …’
- 2nd Steven Butler, The Royal Grammar School, read ‘You are running and suddenly fall down a hole. What happens next and where did you fall?’
- 3rd Rosalind McConville, St Mary’s High School, read ‘Fallen from Grace’
- 1st Oscar Marshall, St Anne’s College Grammar School, read ‘The Articulator’
- 2nd Aaron Austin Locke, Newlands School, read ‘An Unforgettable Dream’
- 3rd Hannah Birch, The Grange School, read ‘Sculptures of Hope’
- 1st Katie Lloyd Hughes, Clifton College Prep School, read ‘The Brother Sister Lamps’
- 2nd Jo Macari, East Court School for Dyslexia, read ‘The Kettle Genie’
- 3rd Oliver Holden, Ovingham Middle School, read ‘Adil the Genie’
Millions of blind, partially-sighted and dyslexic people across the globe have chosen Dolphin products for their personal and professional use. We empower users with all degrees of sight loss, computer skills and reading ability, through our Windows software and free apps including SuperNova, Guide, EasyReader and EasyConverter. Dolphin is the only specialist software house producing accessibility solutions for individuals, organisations and those in education. Founded in 1986 this UK-owned company is now a global market leader with over 50 staff worldwide. We support an international community of users from our Worcester HQ and offices in New Jersey, USA and Falköping, Sweden.
#Dyslexia #StoryCompetition #Writing #Accessibility #a11y