Thirty-six schoolchildren from across the country were on Friday named winners in various categories of the seventh edition of The Standard Cover to Cover Short Story Writing Competition.
For her story under the title My Best Friend, Sisa Hope Mabhena from Robert Tredgold in Bulawayo was the overall winner in the Grade Six and Seven category.
Sisa showered praises over the Mzilikazi Library which she said was her "best friend".
Florence Sakala from Sizane High school, also in Bulawayo, scooped the overall prize in the Form One and Two category for her story The Lightning Struck Four Members of the Family.
Columbus Pangura from Seke 2 High in Chitungwiza was the overall winner in the Form Three and Four category for his story It Was A Chance To Make Money.
Lemuel Batanai Rupiya from Bulawayo, won the overall award in the Lower and Upper Sixth category for the story We Were Too Young.
Chair of the panel of judges, Josephine Muganiwa said scores of children from 57 areas across the country participated in the competition.
She said the quality of creativity was this year higher than in the previous editions dating back to 2006.
Alpha Media Holdings Editor-in-Chief, Vincent Kahiya bemoaned lack of discipline among school children, saying it affected their writing skills which institutions like AMH relied on.
"It is a good thing to see pupils wearing uniform the correct way," Kahiya said. "If you walk around town, you will see school shorts flying at half-mast and that shows indiscipline.
"You cannot be a good writer without the correct discipline."
Kahiya said the reading culture was declining as schoolchildren pre-occupied themselves with pictures and motions brought by new technologies.
He urged authorities to employ technology to encourage a reading culture.
"Some of the entries were written in a new language, the cellphone language, an indication that children are taking it into their books," Kahiya said. "As a writer and an editor, I come across a challenge everyday whereby you find someone with a BA (Bachelor of Arts) failing to write well."