Local students to compete in lit quiz for kids

Sofi Blythe, 11, George Brown, 12, Niamh Manning, 11, Charlotte Wilde, 12, and Daniel Nelson, 12 enjoy A Feast of Words. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

The world’s biggest literary event for children is coming to the Bay of Plenty, as local super-readers join more than 8000 children worldwide to compete for the title of Kids’ Lit Quiz champion 2018.

The Kids’ Lit Quiz is an annual international literature quiz for students aged 10-13 years, with the goal of encouraging children to read for pleasure, widening the breadth of their reading and celebrating their content knowledge.

It is a unique literary event in the English-speaking world and demand for it increases every year.

Around 100 students will compete in the Bay of Plenty heat for a place in the national final, to be held in Wellington on June 10. There they will compete for a place in the World Final, held in Auckland in July, where the New Zealand team will compete against teams from nine other countries.

The Kids’ Lit Quiz, a Kiwi initiative, was founded 27 years ago by quizmaster Wayne Mills, and is now held in 13 counties including Australia, China, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and America. This year, Nigeria and Indonesia will also compete for the very first time.

More than 2000 New Zealand students in teams of four will take part in the event, in 16 heats across the country.

Wayne says spectators at the Bay of Plenty event can expect a nail-biting competition as the field is fiercely competitive, with students training for months for “the sport of reading”.

“The kids spend months preparing for the quiz, just as athletes train for a sports event,” says Wayne. “We don’t have prescribed texts or reading lists, so competitors must simply read widely in the children and young adult categories.

“The questions vary every year and can be sourced from anything from classic children’s literature to the latest best seller. They have to read everything that’s been written for kids in the last 200 years to be across every question.

“While it is very competitive, it’s also amazing to see the kids bond with one another over a shared love of books and reading – there’s a real sense of camaraderie at Kids’ Lit Quiz events.”

In today’s world of digital distractions, the Kids’ Lit Quiz continues to capture the attention of tweens. Wayne says students love that it isn’t “dumbed down”, and gives them something to aim for that values their reading prowess.

“We stay up-to-date with technology too, as kids use e-readers as well as print books, and train by using the Kids’ Lit Quiz app,” says Wayne.

“Reading is more important than ever as kids have so much ‘digital noise’ competing for their attention. Evidence is strong on the benefits of reading for pleasure - OECD research shows that it is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success.

“Fortunately, kids are spoilt for choice with a great number of wonderful new books being released, such as Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend and The Polar Bear Explorers Club by Alex Bell.”

The Kids’ Lit Quiz is a not-for-profit organisation which is run and managed exclusively by volunteers.

The Kids’ Lit Quiz Bay of Plenty heat, which will be held at Tauranga Intermediate School, is on Tuesday, May 22 from 6.30-9.30pm.