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NZ’s best young readers compete in the ‘sport of reading'

New Zealand’s best young readers compete in the ‘sport of reading’

5 June 2018: The Kids’ Lit Quiz continues to prove a good book is just as strong as the pull of social media, with New Zealand’s best young readers facing off in the riveting and tension-filled national final on Sunday.

The national final, to be held in Wellington on June 10, will be the culmination of a series of heats around the country which saw more than 2000 competitors aged 10 to 13 whittled down to 16 teams of four.

The winners of the event, which is supported by the Wright Family Foundation, Whitcoulls, South Pacific Books and Softlink, will earn the chance to represent New Zealand at the World Final, to be held in Auckland in July.

Quizmaster Wayne Mills says in today’s world of ‘screen time’ and short attention spans, the Kids’ Lit Quiz – known as the ‘sport of reading’ for its competitive edge - holds its own in captivating the attention of children.

“Among the noise of digital distractions, the Kids’ Lit Quiz is focused solely on books, at a time when reading has never been so important,” says Wayne, a former top academic in the University of Auckland Faculty of Education.

“Kids still love books. As the pull of social media and other distractions is stronger than ever, readers can get overlooked and the value of reading for pleasure diminished. The Kids’ Lit Quiz gives readers something to aim for and values their reading.

“The fact that the quiz continues to grow each year, both in New Zealand and worldwide, proves the demand for a literary event that challenges and motivates readers to further expand their knowledge of authors and genres.”

Wayne, who was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work with the Kids’ Lit Quiz, founded the competition in New Zealand 27 years ago with the aim of encouraging children to read. It has since grown to 13 countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom and USA, with more than 8000 children taking part worldwide. This year Indonesia competed for the first time, with Nigeria and Thailand set to take part in 2019.

New Zealand teams have a sterling record on the world stage, winning five of the 14 international finals. Wayne says the Kids’ Lit Quiz encourages reading for pleasure – increasing children’s vocabulary and expanding their knowledge of the past, present and future.

OECD research shows that reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success. It’s an even more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.

“Reading also helps kids develop empathy and emotional intelligence, which is well documented as an indicator of successful relationships and success in the workplace,” says Wayne.

“Kids identify with characters as role models of behaviour, and the well-developed characters in books discourage stereotyping.

“So just by opening up a book there are worlds to explore. It’s absolutely no fluke that books are shaped like doors for that very reason.”

The winners of each regional heat to be competing in the 2018 New Zealand final are:

• Northland: Kamo Intermediate

• Canterbury: Aidanfield Christian School and Christchurch South Intermediate School

• South and Mid Canterbury: Mt Somers School

• Otago: Columba College

• Southland: Blue Mountain College

• Wellington: Queen Margaret College

• Taranaki/Wanganui: Oakura School

• Manawatu: Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School

• Waikato: St Peter's Cambridge

• Hawke's Bay: Eskdale School

• Nelson/Marlborough: Nelson College Preparatory School

• Auckland: King’s School and Belmont Intermediate

• Bay of Plenty: Tauranga Intermediate

• West Coast: Barrytown School

ENDS


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