The new school autumn term has begun with good news for one young entrepreneur. A bulk order from a German school for his writing aid to improve literacy ability arrived on his laptop. Here is the inspirational story of Crawford Johnston and his Creative Writing Magic Money Cards.
From a modest beginning when Crawford Johnston first developed his Creative Writing Magic Money Cards to advance his own writing skills the Peterborough based teenager has seen sales soar across the UK and overseas. World famous authors have penned messages of support to him – and a former Prime Minister has emailed a special message of praise.
Universities have been in contact to discuss Crawford’s success and one Scottish University Vice Chancellor has invited him to talk to students about the impact his unique and legally protected idea is having on education – astonishingly, before Crawford has even taken his own GCSE exams.
It is incredibly inspirational to see such entrepreneurial skills in a teenager who has found success so quickly after bringing the product to market. As a mumpreneur I try my best to nurture these skills in my son and I admire Crawford parents for having instilled such entrepreneurship in their son.
Crawford’s method is really a genius way for kids to have fun while improving writing skills and scoring top marks in exams. And learning how to become an entrepreneur, too.
The cards are primarily designed for 9-15 year olds. But are flexible enough to be of value beyond the main target age group.
One English teacher with 10 year old twin daughters decided to only allow one child to use the cards and clinically kept the other child from using the cards as a ‘control’.
After just a short few weeks the teacher reported that both twins were now using the cards. The advantage the cards brought was so noticeable and quick that the teacher didn’t wish the advantaged child to continue pulling so far ahead in ability. This teacher first gave them to the child whom she thought needed it most, the one without her head in a book all the time, unlike the other twin. The poorer performer without the natural keenness for English shown by her sibling quite simply overtook the other in ability.
“I am amazed that my idea is helping children in so many countries,” warmly smiles Crawford Johnston, a fifth form pupil at Oundle School. “It’s rewarding, too, to have so many pleased parents and teachers tell others about my method.” Tutors, also, use the youngster’s idea to help their tutees.
The cards condense all the main techniques and parts of speech into single cards which include – category, definition, examples of the technique in sentences and a list of options of words or phrases for that category. All the categories are colour coded to aid memory.
Uniquely every card is given a coin value which reflects the importance of the technique when it is used in writing tasks. At the end of any writing task the cards which have been used can be counted to measure the writers ‘investment’ in his/her essay. Children naturally aim to improve successive totals encouraging a rich style and technique.
Importantly, the card categories match the teaching for Key Stages 2 and 3 for the National Curriculum.
Additionally, the cards include a well thought out selection of creative story starts which look at different creative styles.
The cards can be separated out and categories place at the side of the writer’s desk so that the techniques can be compared ‘at a glance’ and moved to a spent pile as they are employed (as in the video on the website). More expert users might keep the set together on the stud holder and just swish around to the technique they wish to use.
There are three separate ways to ‘play’ the cards – master the first way and then try the more challenging 2nd and 3rd stages. Each level ratchets up the thought required and embeds the information into the memory.
The flexibility of the method ensures that it can be used as a standalone exercise or employed with any task of writing. To be used at home with any writing task of English homework. Many schools use them and allow them in class, too.
Although designed as a writing aid the cards advance comprehension skills, too, as readers quickly begin to recognise the techniques authors use and advance their enjoyment and understanding of language.
“Magnificent. A most remarkable idea.”
International bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith
Award winning author Joanna Trollope
If you wish to buy them check www.creativewritingmmc.co.uk
: a single set is £16.90 + p&p. A multi-set box contains a larger number of identical sets for PTAs or schools to buy: 30 at £10 per set + p&p. For more information call 01733 223367 or 07754 055455.
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