Putting It All Together

Running a writing competition

The end of the year is fast approaching and your students will now be consolidating all the Seven Steps knowledge that they have gained this year. As Seven Steps graduates your students are finally ready to write the whole story! A great way to put all their skills into practice and celebrate just how far they have come is to run a writing competition in your class or school. Here are some suggested ideas for different age and ability levels.

Competition categories

  1. The Picture Book category

  • Write a short story of up to 250 words.
  • The story should be based on the illustrations in a published picture book, for example Shhh! Little Mouse by Pamela Allen.
  1. The Fractured Fairy Tale category

  • Write a short story of up to 500 words.
  • The story should be an alternative version of a well-known fairy tale, for example The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka.
  1. The Short Story category

  • Write a short story of between 750 and 1,000 words.
  • The story should be inspired by the opening line of a published children’s book, for example The Cabbage Patch Fib by Paul Jennings.

Teacher information

  • Choose the most appropriate category for your students or given them the choice of all three.
  • Use the stimuli listed above, your own examples or let students pick their own.
  • Specify whether students can submit more than one story.
  • Specify whether students can submit joint/co-authored stories.
  • Allocate time in class or set this as a homework exercise.

Student information

  • All entries should be accompanied with a plan using the Narrative Story Graph template.
  • All entries must include a first and final draft.
  • Students can request assistance with ideas, story structure and proofing if required.
[Related Download] – Narrative Story Graph template
Character with Checklist

Judging criteria

The entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Planning – are the ideas creative and have they been selected and crafted to advance the plot?
  • Structure – does the narrative follow the Story Graph structure?
  • Sizzling Start – does the opening paragraph engage the reader immediately?
  • Tightening Tension – does the tension build up gradually throughout the story and does the final tension scene have the reader on the edge of their seat?
  • Exciting Ending – does the ending include an action climax and a character wrap-up which leave the reader satisfied?
  • Editing – is the story cohesive with no unnecessary or boring content?

Winning entries

Come up with a suitable prize for the winning entry in each category such as a book token, having the story published in the school newsletter or read out at assembly. You could also present student certificates to students who excel in particular Seven Steps techniques.

[Related Download] – Student Certificates

We would also love to feature some of the winning entries on our website, so please send digital copies to [email protected] and confirm that permission has been granted by both the student and their parent or guardian.

Time to watch your students spread their writing wings and fly high!