Manor Gardens wins Durban round of Lit Quiz

2014-02-12 00:00

THE team from Manor Gardens Primary No. 1 team will go on to represent KwaZulu-Natal in Cape Town on Saturday, after winning the Durban round of the Kids’ Lit Quiz (KLQ) yesterday.

Thomas More College was placed second, with Westville Senior Primary’s No. 1 team in third place. Schools in Pietermaritzburg will battle it out today at Athlone Primary.

New Zealander Wayne Mills, the creator of KLQ, was the question master for the quiz, which took place at Durban Girls’ College. He had come to South Africa direct from Canada’s competition, having already completed heats in Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.

“I have been coming here for 11 years, and the knowledge is just expanding,” Mills said. “This quiz is about vocabulary and content knowledge — good readers have that in spades full.”

He said the South African leg of the competition, which saw 21 schools entering 39 teams, “is the world’s toughest quiz”.

Mills is a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland in the Faculty of Education. “When my kids were the age the quiz is aimed at — 11 to 13 years — I was going to a lot of school prize givings and I realised no kid was recognised for being a good reader. There would be medals for rugby and cricket and maybe for maths or music, but nothing for literary knowledge or reading.”

Mills decided to remedy the situation. “Initially, I envisaged something along the lines of Trivial Pursuit, but with all the wedges being literary genres”. And so began what Mills dubbs “the sport of reading”.

The first KLQ took place in New Zealand in 1991 with just 14 participating schools. Since then it’s gone global, spreading to the UK, Canada, United States, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, with Singapore and Hong Kong coming aboard later this year. Every year, thousands of children compete in national heats and the best team from each country heads for the world final.

The real aim of KLQ is to get children to read, and its success saw Mills awarded the New Zealand Margaret Mahy Medal in 2008 for his contribution to literature and literacy. In 2011, he was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to children’s literature.

There were 21 competing schools in yesterday’s KLQ: Durban Girls’ College, Manor Gardens Primary School, Grantleigh School, St Henry’s Marist College, Glenwood Preparatory School, Gordon Road Girls’ School, Our Lady of Fatima Dominican Convent School, Crawford La Lucia, Athlone Park Primary, Maris Stella, Northlands Primary School, St Mary’s DSG, Eden College, Glenashley Preparatory School, Thomas More College, Westville Senior Primary, Embury College, Clifton School, Virginia Preparatory School, Chelsea Preparatory School and Atholl Heights Primary School.

The winner of the national finals in Cape Town will represent South Africa at the world finals in Falmouth, UK, in July.

South Africa won last year’s competition held in Durban, represented by Roedean School in Johannesburg.

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