Support our Lit Kids

2010-02-10 00:00

IN the book Spud by John van de Ruit, who was Wombat?

Little Nguni Calf worried that he didn’t look “cool” like the cattle overseas. What did his mother do to prove he was special?

Who is Luke Skywalker’s twin?

What institution did J. M. Barrie ­select to receive his royalties from ­Peter Pan: a hospital, a school, an ­orphanage or a bookshop?

Know the answers? Plenty of ­primary school kids do, and will be showing their wide-ranging knowledge of books and their characters when the national finals of the Kids Lit Quiz come to town on Saturday between 12.30 pm and 2.30 pm in the food court foyer at the Liberty Midlands Mall. This is something not to miss for anyone who likes competition with a bit of needle, who loves reading, and who cares about education in South Africa.

The competition is open to schools all over the country, with regional heats being held in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg — the Pietermaritzburg heat will be on Friday at Athlone School from 11 am to 2 pm.

This year, the local heat will be contested between a record 22 teams. The following day, the winners will join the other teams of pupils from Grades 6 and 7 around the country to have their knowledge tested by quizmaster and the brains behind the whole concept, Wayne Mills.

Mills, who is a senior lecturer in children’s literature at the Auckland college of Education in New Zealand, set up his international Olympic Games of Reading to motivate children to read for pleasure and develop the reading habit, and to give children for whom reading is a favourite pastime a chance to compete, team-build, win prizes and have a whole load of fun.

Schools enter teams of four pupils who will work together to answer 100 questions in 10 categories. The regional winners get R1 000 and the ­national winners R2 000, as well as various additional book voucher prizes as the competition goes along. And the national winning team will be heading off overseas for the international finals in August.

So why not get down to the mall on Saturday afternoon, and cheer on our local winners when they come up against the winners of the other regional finals for a chance to go and represent South Africa overseas in August. You will be amazed by what they know, what they have read, and how they see reading as something to celebrate.

(And just in case you were stumped by the questions at the top of the column, the answers, in order, are: Spud’s grandmother; showed him the skin patterns on Nguni cows; Princess Leia; a hospital.)

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