Hundreds of children from 30 schools across Wales took over the Arts Centre in Aberystwyth for two days of eager competing last week. It was the national round of Darllen Dros Gymru, the Welsh Books Council’s Welsh-language books competition for primary schools in Wales. All pupils were competing for a number of prestigious awards by discussing books and performing short dramatic presentations based on titles they had read.
The national rounds are the culmination of activities that take place in all parts of Wales over several months, with children competing for the honour of representing their counties.
The competition for Years 3 and 4 took place on Tuesday, 24 June, and Ysgol Gymraeg Santes Tudful, Merthyr, were crowned the overall winners. They scored highly for their discussion of Dafydd a Dad by Manon Steffan Ros and Jac Jones, and for their presentation of Brwydro by Meinir Wyn Edwards. Ysgol Llannon, Carmarthenshire, took second place, and Ysgol Pen Barras, Denbighshire, came third overall. Ysgol Pen Barras also won the Anwen Tydu Memorial Trophy for the best dramatic presentation with a performance based on Gwneud Fel Maen Nhw’n ei Ddweud by Gwenno M. Davies. Ysgol Llannon, Carmarthenshire, won the award for the best group discussion, having chosen to discuss Parri’r Pobydd by Rhiannon Roberts and Dewi Pws Morris.
On Wednesday, 25 June, it was the turn of Years 5 and 6 to compete and Ysgol Gymraeg Treganna, Cardiff, emerged victorious as overall winners, taking home the Dr Dewi Davies Award. Ysgol Gymraeg Santes Tudful, Merthyr Tudful, were in second place and Ysgol Abernant, Carmarthenshire, in third position. Ysgol Gymraeg Treganna also won the Anwen Tydu Memorial Trophy after impressing the judges with their presentation based on Yr CMM, Elin Meek's Welsh adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG. Ysgol Gymraeg Santes Tudful, Merthyr, had another successful day and won the award for the best group discussion, based on Breuddwyd Siôn ap Rhys by Haf Llewelyn.
As part of the activities, children and teachers also enjoyed excellent sessions with the Welsh Children’s Poet Laureate for 2013–15, Aneirin Karadog, on 24 June, and the older pupils enjoyed the lively company of author Bethan Gwanas the following day. For many children, this interaction with an author can inspire them to further develop and explore their own reading journeys.
Medi Jones-Jackson, Children’s Books and Reading Promotion Officer at the Books Council, said: "These competitions aim to get children from across Wales reading. By analysing and performing what they have read, they are able to make use of their imagination and breathe life into some of the wonderful books we have in Wales. It was a great pleasure to see the children brimming with such enthusiasm during the national round of Darllen Dros Gymru at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, and our thanks go to the dedicated and hard-working county organisers, teachers and other supporters that make these events possible."
Thanks to the support of Dalen, Dref Wen, Gomer Press, Carreg Gwalch, Y Lolfa and Rily Publications, every child who took part was invited to choose a free book.