Contest will reward stories written by boys and girls around the country

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Translator: Arianna Hernández

Do you know boys and girls who love to read and write? The national 2021 My Fantastic Story contest might be the platform that strengthens their talent even more.

The tenth annual contest is open to elementary school students throughout the country, including Guanacaste. In fact, children from Guanacaste have even received awards in previous years. As its name indicates, the contest invites children to write a story.

The initiative is organized by the Friends of Learning Association (ADA- Asociación Amigos del Aprendizaje), the Ministry of Public Education (MEP- Ministerio de Educación Pública), the State Distance University (UNED- Universidad Estatal a Distancia ), the Books for Everyone Association and the Community of Communication Companies, with sponsorships from others allies.

The project was developed with the goal of planting seeds to cultivate writers, fostering the passion for this art and creativity from an early age, with the support of teachers and educational centers, said the Minister of Public Education, Guiselle Cruz.

In the 10 years that the contest has run, almost 70,000 children have participated nationwide from 1,500 schools in the 27 educational regions.

One of the novelties this year is the Virtual Library, which makes more than 100 literary and informative texts available to teachers and students, complemented with didactic guides to practice reading comprehension and creative writing.

Teachers can download the material for free to use in the classroom or adapt it to the Autonomous Work Guides so their students can do them at home,” explained Melissa Arias, ADA’s pedagogical director.

The library includes stories, poems and novels contributed by Costa Rican authors: Jaime Gamboa, Floria Jimenez, Byron Espinoza, Lara Rios, Hector Gamboa, Vicky Ramos and Camila Schumacher, among others. The international repertoire includes works by Ruben Dario, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Horacio Quiroga, Jose Marti, Juana de Ibarbourou and others.

The site also includes guides endorsed by the MEP to work on elementary reading comprehension and writing.

How can someone participate?

Stories should be submitted through the website Pre-registration and regulations to participate are available now. The registration period begins on July 12 and ends on August 12 this year. The idea is that kids can start working on the texts that they are going to submit now.

The jury will choose 12 national winners (first, second and third place, from third to sixth grades) and 27 regional winners (one for each educational region).

The awards are meant to promote learning among the student body: computers for the first place winners and electronic tablets for second and third places, their teachers their and librarians, donated by the Monge Foundation; school supply packages for students, teachers and librarians, donated by Universal stores; TOTTO brand bags and items for the students, their teachers, librarians, school principals and regional Spanish advisers.

Additionally, the stories that win first and second place will be published in a print and digital anthology.

What subject can they write about?

There is complete freedom to choose the topic, but there are two special categories. The first, called self-care, seeks to promote good habits and is sponsored by Auto Mercado.

The idea is that teachers promote reflection in the classroom and motivate students to write about those habits that we should cultivate from childhood; for example, a healthy diet, exercise, sleeping well and maintaining good hygiene,” explained Arias.

Count your savings, sponsored by BAC Credomatic, is the second special category, which seeks to teach about the importance of saving. In this case, the winning story will be turned into an animated video to promote financial education in the classroom.

Awards that Guanacaste received in 2020

In the 2020 contest, 22 students from Guanacaste participated, from four cantons: Cañas, Liberia, Nicoya and Santa Cruz. Two of them obtained national awards:

  • Third place in fourth grade: “The Power of Dance” by Monica Kamila Murillo from Huacas, Santa Cruz.
  • First place in fifth grade: “The Moon and the Magician” by Josue David Lopez from Corazon de Jesus School in Liberia.

In addition, each year, the jury awards one boy or girl per participating educational region, so four won in the regional category:

  • Liberia: “The Monster that Cleans My City” by Irwin Martinez Zuñiga from Moracia School.
  • Cañas: “Simple Virusillo” by Aibsel Naomi Sanchez from Rio Piedras School.
  • Nicoya: “Nature Speaks and Has No Mouth; It Has Spirit” by Maireny Herrera from San Fernando School.
  • Santa Cruz: “A Fabulous Enclosure in Seven Hides” by Samaddy Rodriguez Gomez from Filadelfia School.