Want to get your pupils excited about writing? Find out about BBC Radio 2's 500 Words and spark their interest with lesson plans, activity sheets, and much more.
Please note: This competition is now closed. You can hear the results on Friday 14th June, on the BBC website.
500 Words is one of the world's largest writing competitions. It has one aim: to encourage children to realise that, no matter what their background or education, their imagination matters. Last year, the competition received over 135,000 entries, and the winners and runners-up had their stories read to over 10 million people on the radio. The winning pupils won a Chris-Evans-sized (1.88m) stack of books, in addition to 500 books for their schools.
500 Words opens on 29th January 2019, and will close on Friday 8th March. The competition is open to all UK-based children aged 5–13. Children must write a story of no more than 500 words on any topic. To find out more about the competition, visit the 500 Words website.
The BBC and Oxford University Press have worked in collaboration to create a huge number of teaching resources to support pupils' creative writing. From exciting live lessons to activity sheets, you can find everything you need to help your pupils write amazing stories right here.
1. Free live lesson
On Thursday 7th February at 11am, the BBC hosted a live, interactive lesson to inspire pupils to come up with their own 500 Words story ideas. Tailored especially for schools, the programme included a downloadable lesson plan and accompanying resources for ages 5–7 and for ages 7+.
500 Words judges and authors Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell-Boyce shared their tips, answered pupils' questions in real time and attempted to write a whole 500 Words story in the space of a single live lesson! You can watch the lesson again with your class at 500 Words 2019 – Live Lesson.
2. Free lesson plans and activity sheets
Get creative in the classroom with fun lesson plans and easy-to-photocopy activity sheets including story inspiration, word fun, and editing support, all created by Oxford University Press. Download the 500 Words Learning Resource Pack.
There are also lots more resources available from the BBC, including word clouds, author tips, Bitesize lessons for several age groups, and 500 Words posters to stick up around school. Take a look at the BBC's Collection of learning materials for use at home or in the classroom.
3. Creative writing tips from Oxford Owl
For more ideas on inspiring your pupils to write, take a look at our free articles and videos:
- Blog post: 4 tips to inspire children's creative writing >
- Blog post: 4 fun ways to develop characters for a short story >
- Blog post: 4 top tips for writing great plots >
- Blog post: How to find the perfect words for your story >
- YouTube: Oxford Owl creative writing playlist >
- Article: How to write your best story ever! >
- PDF download: Harriet Muncaster's Guide to writing stories >
4. Become a judge!
If you're interested in becoming more involved in 500 Words, the competition is looking for volunteer teachers and librarians to judge the first round of stories. Each judge could expect to mark around 30 stories, and you would be helping 500 Words to grow and flourish! To find out more, visit Become a 500 Words Judge.
500 Words opens opens on 29th January 2019, and will close on Friday 8th March. As a teacher, you can upload all your class's stories in one go. Visit Submit your 500 Words story and set up an account to submit your class's stories.