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Buzzers at the ready in Kids’ Lit Quiz final

Buzzers at the ready in Kids’ Lit Quiz final

The country’s passionate young readers go head to head this Sunday in the finals of the Paper Plus Kids’ Lit Quiz at the Aotea Centre, Auckland.

Twelve teams of schoolchildren from around New Zealand will pit their knowledge against each other and a visiting team from Dunblane High School in Scotland.

In an atmosphere as fierce as any sports competition, with buzzers set to split-second timing, children in teams of four will answer 60 wide-ranging questions in five literature categories spanning over two hundred years. The winning team receives a computer, book vouchers totalling $1,000 and the Paper Plus Kids' Lit Quiz cup. No school leaves empty-handed.

Wayne Mills, senior lecturer at Auckland College of Education and Past President of the Children’s Literature Foundation of New Zealand, invented the competition 13 years ago and runs the quiz throughout the country every year. “The quiz is a way of rewarding children who love to read. These children have, in many ways, been the unsung heroes of schools. Achievement in sport and in areas such as science and maths has been recognised for decades.”

The quiz grew to a record 388 teams this year. The quiz deliberately targets 11 to 13 year olds.

“These children are on the cusp. Once they become independent readers we say to them ‘you are own your own’ and we cut the anchor, so they have tended to stop reading for pleasure. If we can grab them now, we grab them for life.

“What this quiz does is put the pleasure back into reading books. The event itself is highly interactive and staged with as much dramatic effect as possible. I want kids to feel invigorated by the quiz, and leave wanting to read more and search out new titles.”

Last year a trial of the quiz was so successful in Newcastle, England, that Wayne was invited to run the quiz throughout the United Kingdom, sponsored by the Times Educational Supplement. The winner of the first UK Kids’ Lit Quiz was Dunblane High School, Scotland. The team of four and their supporters arrive in New Zealand this Friday, to a special Kiwi “Lord of the Rings” welcome at Auckland International Airport, organised by Paper Plus.

Kids' Lit Quiz: ASB Auditorium, Aotea Centre, Auckland, Sunday 20 June 2004, 10 am to midday. Entry: free

Teams competing: Auckland – Waikowhai Intermediate, Sacred Heart College; Manawatu – Palmerston North Normal Intermediate; Hawkes Bay – Havelock North Intermediate; Wellington – Evans Bay Intermediate; Waikato – Peachgrove Intermediate; Canterbury – St Margaret’s College; Northland – Whangarei Intermediate; Otago – Tahuna Normal Intermediate; Taranaki/Wanganui – Devon Intermediate; Southland – Riversdale School; Nelson/Marlborough – Broadgreen Intermediate; Scotland – Dunblane High School.

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