What is going to be the Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year?

We have been enjoying reading through the entries for the 2018 Children’s Word of the Year writing competition, which closed this week.

Hundreds of entries from primary schools across Australia, representing all year levels, have made their way into the Oxford University Press office. This year, a significant number of home-schooled students have also taken part in the competition.

The entries cover a vast range of topics, from slime to soccer, although some trends have already started to emerge.

According to competition coordinator Liz Barber, it has been encouraging to see the frequency with which words of empowerment have been mentioned.

“We’re seeing lots of children writing about dedication, aspiration and confidence,” she said.

“There have also been a lot of mentions of different sporting activities, and gymnastics in particular. It probably won’t surprise anyone, but there have also been lots of stories with a focus on gaming, and it won’t surprise many parents that Fortnite has been the most popular game mentioned.”

Other themes that had been popular included the environment, science, friends and family.

Liz said that while she had received both fiction and non-fiction entries, she particularly enjoyed reading the stories that showcased the students’ creativity.

“I’m very lucky that getting to read Children’s Word of the Year entries is part of my job. I love seeing where a child’s imagination takes them!”

Caufield Junior College teacher Catherine Wilson said students had also enjoyed writing their entries.

“We loved the challenge of thinking about the importance of words and describing their meaning to us,” she said.

Students from across the country were invited to enter the writing competition, in which they nominated a word that reflected their lives, or was important to them.

Judges from the Australian National Dictionary Centre, Western Sydney University and Oxford University Press will draw on the most popular words and themes to determine the 2018 Australian Children’s Word of the Year.

The 2017 Children’s Word of the Year was ‘equality’, which was used in entries to refer to a wide range of issues, including racial, gender, marriage, sporting, pay, disability rights and even sibling equality. It was included in both fictional and non-fiction writing.

The Children’s Word of the Year will be announced on Wednesday, 24 October and class and individual winners will be contacted in coming weeks.


Browse OUP’s children’s dictionary range.


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