A Sparkly Waistcoat

500 Words Competition

In 2019 I volunteered to be a judge on the 500 Words Competition.

The reason I wanted to be a judge is that I love reading children’s story writing ideas.

Having left full-time teaching to write my own stories, I took on the role of a Supply/Cover Teacher.

It was great visiting so many different schools and to meet so many children of different ages. I loved each new place I visited, but the one thing I found difficult was not seeing the end product of the work and only snippets or moments in their learning. It was because of this that I volunteered to be a judge.

I was also a judge in 2023.

I was pleased to hear, that one of the winners, said that he was unsure about entering because he was not so good at spelling etc.. This is exactly why he should enter as the competition is not about the grammar or the spelling and not even the handwriting and presentation, it’s about the ideas. I love that.

Creative Writing with Children

In my ‘Creative Writing ‘, group at school I would offer this advice: -

“Don’t worry about the spelling or the presentation or punctuation, just write down your ideas, you can always edit afterwards”.

“Don’t use a rubber, put a line through it if you don’t want it, who knows maybe it will fit perfectly somewhere else”

In school, with some of the less able writers we might do a shared write together where we would use their ideas and write them down.

My book ‘A Spooky Tale’ was just such an occasion. The children had ideas about why their walk around the community led to the teacher feeling poorly.

Alexander and the Sparkly Waistcoat

The Sparkly WaistcoatRecently I had a visit with my young grandson, he is 4 and does not write yet but he does have lots of imagination and ideas.

Alexander's Visit

It was the end of term and Alexander and I managed to have a special day.

He had missed visiting Nanny and he was pleased to come along and play with some of my Christmas Lego.

He didn't want to read any books today, he just wanted to play.

He dressed up as Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.

Well, he wore Nanny's antler hat and Nanny painted his nose red.

A bit later he asked me to tell a story, he didn't want a book he just wanted a story.

So, I told him the story of my sparkly waistcoat, which I wore to school and how one day it went missing.

He listened with interest and was excited when I showed him the real waistcoat.

He decided he wanted to tell me his story version of the waistcoat.

(I recorded his story and wrote it down.)


The Sparkly Waistcoat by Alexander

(aged 4)

The WaistcoatOne day Alexander bought a lovely nice coat and he gave it to Nanny.

It was so sparkly.

But one windy wet day the coat blew away and Alexander was trying to catch it.

He found a hook and he chased after it.

He was running fast chasing it.

Then he caught it and he gave it back to Nanny.

“Thank you so much,” said Nanny she really liked her coat from Alexander.

Nanny had her purse; it was a very sparkly purse.

“I gave that to you too.” said Alexander

“Do you remember what was in that purse?” asked Nanny.

Alexander looked inside.

“A chocolate coin!” said Alexander with excitement.

(Aww! He certainly told a good story and of course enjoyed the 'Chocolate coin'.)

The Christmas Play Rehearsal

Where to get my books

Books are available from the following:   My Books

Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.com     Waterstones    

Barnes&Noble    Foyles (amongst others)

Don't forget to look and ask in your local Museum, book shop or even buy on your Sainsburys on line shop!


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