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UK bookworms to be put to test

UK bookworms to be put to test

Passionate young readers in the United Kingdom are on the edges of their seats, waiting for the return next week of New Zealand’s children’s literature competition, the Paper Plus Kids’ Lit Quiz.

It’s the second year the UK Kids’ Lit Quiz has been run by Wayne Mills, senior lecturer in languages at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education.

Over 1000 children from 14 regions throughout the country will take part over five weeks, up from 10 regions last year. The quiz, in which teams of 11 to 13 year olds compete to answer wide-ranging literary questions, is again being sponsored by the Times Educational Supplement. Dunblane High School in Scotland won last year’s quiz, and they also won the NZ quiz this year, coming out to compete in June.

Wayne says the idea of ‘reading as sport’ is getting the same reaction overseas as it did in New Zealand thirteen years ago, from teachers, children and parents who see it as a way of rewarding children who love to read.

He has recently returned from running the first ever South African Kids’ Lit Quiz in Capetown and Johannesburg. Canada is interested in starting the quiz from next year.

“The word spreads and the quiz keeps growing - people have not seen the concept before. It’s becoming clear that kids who love to read are just that, and are comparable in their knowledge, no matter where they live.”

Wayne hopes to introduce the quiz to more countries, and create a global community of young readers.

“I see the quiz as both a figurative and literal passport to new worlds. The whole idea of reading being a passport to dreams, adventure, imagination, and fantasy is now becoming true in the literal sense as well.”

The 2005 Paper Plus Kids’ lit quiz begins in New Zealand next March, culminating in the finals in June in Auckland. www.kidslitquiz.com

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