It was great to see our campus colleague Wayne Mills' hugely successful international project The Kids' Lit Quiz covered in the latest UniNews (3 May 2012). With their kind permission the article is reprinted below:
The University will host the World Kids’ Lit Quiz, a literature competition for children, in July, thanks to Wayne Mills, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Education.
The Kids’ Lit Quiz, an annual literature competition for children aged 10 to 13, is the brainchild of Wayne. He established it more than 20 years ago because “I was frustrated that young students were encouraged to compete in sports, science and maths but not reading. I never saw kids being rewarded for reading and I wanted to make it fun, interactive and challenging.”
“This age group is a critical period for young readers. Reading for pleasure can drop off as students get older and are required to do so much directed reading for their studies. If we capture them now then we can set a pattern for the future.”
Mr Mills compiles all the questions and hosts all the national and international quiz events.No quiz is ever the same. Each heat and final has 10 questions in 10 different categories, from visual literature, comics and nursery rhymes to questions on fish, folktales and royalty.
As quizmaster Mr Mills will probe contestants’ knowledge on anything from The Iliad and The Odyssey to Spongebob Squarepants and the classics. There is no set reading list for the quiz. “As soon as you do this” he says “it becomes a test in disguise and kids love the fact that there are no limits and that it’s a genuine challenge of their literary knowledge.”
Teams from Australia, Canada, China, Scotland, South Africa, the US and New Zealand will compete for the world literacy title at the University’s Owen G Glenn Building on 4 July.
Kids Lit Quiz finalists will be officially welcomed to the University with a pōwhiri on the Tūtahi Tonu marae at The Faculty of Education’s Epsom campus. After competing in the final,teams will travel to Hobbiton in Matamata to see the Lord of the Rings set, visit Rangitoto Island to witness the setting for Maurice Gee’s fantasy adventure Under the Mountain, and watch a presentation of Margaret Mahy’s book, The Great Piratical Rumbustificaton. Popular New Zealand authors Maria Gill, Des Hunt and Stu Duval will also talk with finalists about their books and writing.
Mr Mills was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal in 2008 for his contribution to children’s literature and literacy. Last year he received the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Education, specifically for his contribution to the Kids’ Lit Quiz.
To enter a team in the New Zealand regional heats and for more information about forthcoming regional heats, the national and world final, visit www.kidslitquiz.com