Posted: Mon 8th Jul 2024

Inspirational Flintshire student has her short story published

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A Flintshire student dealing with learning challenges on a daily basis has shown that nothing is impossible as she celebrates her first published story.

Annabel Gower, 14, attends Argoed High School and has a diagnosis of dyslexia. 

Despite this, she wrote her short story called ‘The Mysterious Creature of the Forest’ for the book ‘Anyone Can Be Anything’, which has been published by Pyxis and Lioness Writing Limited.  

All the short stories in the book have been written by young people aged 10 to 25 who have specific learning difficulties and attend various settings across the UK.

Each week, Annabel goes to Positive Leap, an organisation in Wrexham and Chirk that supports children and adults with specific learning difficulties, including Dyslexia, Dyspraxia (DCD), and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  

During her one to one sessions at the Chirk branch, Annabel’s educational support, Victoria Wharam, uses a range of strategies to help Annabel improve her reading and writing skills, many involving creative writing.  

On hearing about the proposed book from Pyxis, Victoria showed Annabel a picture from a picture book and asked if she could create a short story using her imagination.  

Annabel set to work and, using the ‘DADWAVERS’ planning tool to help organise her story step by step, her ideas came to life.  

The short story is about a boy called Matthew and his dog, Doug, who go into a forest where they are chased and caught by a wolf.  The wolf picks them up and drags them into the forest.  But Doug saves the day, by rescuing his owner.  

After working on her idea, editing and tweaking it until she was happy with it, ‘The Mysterious Creature of the Forest’ was typed up, submitted to the publishers and, 8 months later, the book was released. 

Annabel said: “When I found out that my story had been chosen to be published, I was really happy.  I had no idea that people all over the world would have the chance to read and enjoy my words when I planned the story initially. 

“A diagnosis of dyslexia means, for me, that my reading age is lower than most other students’ of my age and I also struggle with my spellings, so I do feel incredibly proud to have accomplished having a story published.  

“I would like to thank Mrs Kincaid at school for the support she has given to me, and for recognising that I need different settings to help me with exams, and sometimes need space to escape the general sounds of the classroom.”

Annabel is hoping to enter writing competitions in the future to help develop her writing abilities further. 

Mel Kincaid, acting assistant headteacher responsible for additional learning needs at Argoed High School, said: “We are all incredibly proud of Annabel, and congratulate her on this momentous achievement.  It is wonderful to see her determination and hard work be rewarded and we look forward to seeing what she does in the future.”

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