Blackburn author shortlisted for national award

This Is Lancashire: Christina Gabbitas is the author of the Felicity Fly children’s series Christina Gabbitas is the author of the Felicity Fly children’s series

A BLACKBURN author has been shortlisted for a prize after she was inspired to help her dyslexic son learn to read.

Christina Gabbitas, 46, is the author of the Felicity Fly children’s series, which teaches children to read using short bursts of rhy-me.

She is now one of 12 UK authors shortlisted in the People’s Book Prize final, founded by Dame Beryl Bainbridge.

The North Yorkshire-based author, who hails from Blackburn, has also co-written a poetry book that will appear on the shelves of national chain Waterstones.

Christina’s Felicity Fly website also runs national rhyme competitions for primary school children to encourage literacy.

Christina, who left Black-burn at the age of 22, was inspired to write her books on discovering her dyslexic son, Will, now 15, found rhymes much easier.

The former Blackburn Billinge High School pupil said: “I am thrilled to have gained so much support.

“I was inspired to write in rhyme after discovering my son was able to learn more easily through short, burs-ts of rhyming words.

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

The Felicity Fly books use rhymes on everyday topics, using the series’ charac-ters: Felicity Fly, William Washing Machine, and Sim-on Spider.

The series also uses audio read along, which helps to engage children in listen-ing, remembering words and learning.

Christina’s work is also being featured in a special national poetry book.

The book, called Poems & Pictures Children’s Poems, features poems by Chris-tina and other children’s authors, and is set to go on sale at Waterstones.Christina is encour-aging local schools to get involved in her project, inviting chil-dren to make their own rhymes.

The school with the winning rhyme can expect a visit from Christina, some story- telling, and having fun with rhyme.

For further infor-mation about Chris- tina, and her series of books, please visit www.felicityfly. co.uk

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