AN author and poet from Selby has launched a national writing competition for children.

Christina Gabbitas wants youngsters aged from seven to 11 from schools across York, North and East Yorkshire to turn their hands to poetry and write an eight-line rhyme.

She said the idea came about after she was inspired to write in rhyme herself, when learning that her son – who was later diagnosed with dyslexia – was able to learn more easily through short bursts of rhyming words.

Her initiative, which runs until April 30, has backing from Education Secretary Michael Gove after Christina met him at an event last year.

Christina said: “I felt quite angry when my son was misdiagnosed as not having dyslexia.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of the teachers, I think it is probably a lack of training and information for teachers, not giving them the ability to detect the problem.

“After speaking with many parents at book signings in WH Smith and Waterstones, it seems that my concerns are shared.

“Rhyming helps children become more able readers, improves listening skills, improves memory and a fun way to learn.”

The competition gives youngsters a chance to have their work published in the next book in Christina’s Felicity Fly series, which will also include the school’s name.

The series is a set of children’s books with positive messages about the world.

The school with the winning rhyme can expect a visit from Christina, storytelling and the chance to have fun with rhyme.

To enter your school into the competition go to