For Adults

What To Write

Children have a unique voice and an organic way of looking at the world around them. The purpose of 500 Words is to get children reading and writing about any subject. We are asking children to engage with our changing world. The stories could be visionary and wildly imaginative, touching, or even quirky and humorous. We want to encourage kids to write what they want to write, and tell an amazing story of 500 words or fewer.

Why This Is Important

Our competition is about togetherness, learning, empathy and building on the global conversation around Black Lives Matter. Stories allow the writer to express their personal experiences and learn something from the process.

Children of all ages could think about people they look up to, writers and stories they love, plus films with a diverse cast –  what’s their role model’s story?

It’s always good to read a story aloud to get a sense of its order, rhythm and the length of sentences before submitting! This forms part of the editing, and leaving a story in the drawer to return to a day or two later gives a writer the time they need to look at the story again with fresh eyes. We believe that children can be encouraged to think carefully about their words and what they communicate.

Every story starts with a spark. Children can find their creative spark from anywhere, but the facts and prompts in the ‘Kids’ page here can help teachers, parents and carers start the conversation but please hesitate before you provide too many prompts; please let your child write what they want.

Online Resource

There are loads of resources available online to start the conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter.

Oxford Owl is a resource for parents / teachers to use to help children write – these are focused on general creative story-writing activities, rather than BLM stories.

Historical Context

Some historical context can help children think about these themes:

On 22nd June 1948, the SS Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury docks, Essex carrying passengers from the Caribbean. They’d been invited to help Britain rebuild in the post-war years (and many different people fought on Britain’s behalf in the Second World War).

Across the pond in the USA, on December 1st 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger. On August 28th 1963, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in front of a crowd of 250,000 people in Washington.

What ideas do children have, in story form, in 2020? We can’t wait to read these stories!