Literacy Olympics

A creative marathon took place across Caerphilly County Borough Council in partnership with Literature Wales  with a week of events aimed at inspiring improvements in literacy using the Olympic ethos.

The Literacy Olympics programme ran during Adult Learner’s Week (14th May – 18th May), and featured opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to learn to love literature.

Children enjoyed storytellers in both the English and Welsh medium at a number of libraries across the borough, while adults are equally encouraged to embrace the themes of the week and boost their knowledge and literacy skills.

The themes of the week included Early Years, Families, Schools, Communities, with the event culminating with the launch of a new Skills Strategy across all services in the council.

Mererid Hopwood, Michael Harvey and Mike Church delivered a range of interactive workshops across the borough in both Welsh and English to help promote a lifelong love of reading, writing and literature. The workshops included representatives from all eleven Welsh medium Primary Schools, as well as newly renovated Bargoed and Risca libraries.

Community Development Manager, David Phenis said, “The Literacy Olympics is an innovative way of engaging with our residents to spread the Olympic fever.”


Ystrad Primary School with Mike Church

The Suitcase
Go and open the suitcase
Maybe inside will be
A bomb ticking away
Or a giant lightening- breathing grizzly bear
Maybe you will find
A rubber duck
Or maybe
Nothing at all.
Go on open the suitcase
Maybe it will
Be a portal to another world
Or maybe you will find
A money-growing tree
Go on open the suitcase
Maybe you’ll find
A viper’s fork
Or half man, half pig
Maybe there will be
Water but nothing gets wet
Maybe you’ll find the devil’s tail
Or a tiny escalator for clones
Go on open it
Maybe there’s a stopwatch waiting to start World War 3
Or the shadowy figure of death himself
You might find the mayor himself or herself
Or perhaps the bubonic plague
Maybe there will be a royal family on a balcony waving
Or a white horse desperate to be ridden
Go on open the suitcase
Find planet Mars and a milky way
Or maybe it’s Pandora’s Box
You might discover the Jabberwock
Or the very hand that wrote this poem
Go on open the suitcase
There maybe uncertainty crying to get out
Or an undiscovered flower
There maybe a scrabble board searching for its destiny
Or somebody’s dream
Maybe there’ll be a magical magician’s hat and a touch of magic
Or a pair of ruby slippers

Go on open the suitcase
We want to see what’s in there
It’s old, it’s tatty and you want to have a look
We’ve come up with ideas let’s see if we’re right.

No don’t ever open that suitcase
Let’s leave it as an unsolved mystery.

Olympic Games
I wish there was an Olympic event for queuing – the British would win every time
Or gold medals were given out for not missing an episode of Eastenders
I wish there was an Olympic event
For sleeping until one o’clock in the afternoon
Or for biting your nails
Or not tidying your bedroom
I wish gold medals were given out
For staying up all night
Or for beating my friends at make-believe games
Or eating all the chocolate in the house
I wish you could win a gold medal
For doing absolutely nothing at all
Or for playing all night on your X-Box
I wish I could get a gold medal
For winding my little sister up
Or for hating Justin Bieber
Or just for ignoring everybody
I wish there was an Olympic event
For talking non-stop nonsense for hours
Or for wearing the same socks for two months non stop
I wish medals were dished out
For saying ‘I’m bored’
Or for playing a 54 hour mindcraft marathon
I wish you could win a gold medal
For being ginger
Or for being able to fly on a plane to Majorca
I wish they gave out gold medals
For shopping of any kind whatsoever
Or for being very annoying
Or for talking to my Dad about a book
Or for being the richest player in a game of Monopoly

Wouldn’t it be great if there were gold medals for everyday events
As we can’t all be Olympic athletes
Better still why don’t they just hand out
Gold medals at birth
And we’ll all grow up as winners!

Park Primary, Gilfach Bargoes & St Gwladys with Mererid Hopwood

Poetry Olympics
In the poetry Olympics
The sentences sail
The syllables swim along
I watch the letters jump up high
And I surf on a beautiful song
I throw a rhyme
With a rhythm in my hand
I walk a mile with words
I jog my imagination and
Skip my ideas
And I bend the Olympic band
I run my alliteration
All along the track
I fence with inspiration
And then it’s time to go back.

Poems created with Michael Harvey

gwelais  afalau yn llygaid y dylluan
clywais y gwynt yn chwythu trwy wallt y cawr
teimlais ddewrder y glowyr yn canu yn fy nghalon

I saw apples in the owl’s eyes
I heard the wind blowing through the giant’s hair
I felt the courage of the miners singing in my heart
hwyl fawr rwy’n mynd i dy golli di
dy wallt tawel lliw cnau castan
yn arnofio yn yr awyr

hwyl fawr rwy’n mynd i dy golli di
dy lygaid glas sydd yn disgleirio
fel glo yn yr heulwen

hwyl fawr rwy’n mynd i dy golli di
dy lais yn crynu fel telyn yn yr eira
Good-bye I’m going to miss you
your quiet hair the colour of conkers
floating on the wind

Good-bye I’m going to miss you
your blue eyes that shine
like coal in the sunlight

Good-bye I’m going to miss you
your voice shaking like a harp in the snow
Gwelais y lliwiau gwahanol
yn y gemau caled
yn disgleirio
fel sêr y gaeaf

Teimlais y sudd llysnafeddog a’r hadau
un cuddio tu ôl i’r croen
a’r aur yn llithro trwy fy mysedd

Clywais sŵn y gyllell yn hollti’r bwmpen
darnau aur yn bwrw yn erbyn eu gilydd
trysor yn canu wrth gwympo ‘ir llawr
I saw the different colours
in the hard jewels
shining like winter stars

I felt the slimy juice and seeds
hiding behind the skin
and the gold  sliding through my fingers

I heard the sound of the knife splitting the pumpkin
gold coins hitting against each other
treasure singing as it falls to the floor.