Monday, 10 November 2008


The Scissett Middle School orchestra played a welcoming medley of tunes as schools entered the North Light Gallery for the quiz, and so the stage was set for this year's heat of the Serco KLQ.
John Mc Coomb, local artist and storyteller awarded prizes to North Halifax Grammar School for coming first, followed by Woodleigh School.
The traditional Kids' Lit Quiz chocolate cake has been a great favourite and all the teams enjoyed a scrumptious piece again this year.  the book prizes were generously given by Chicken House.

Happy Reading


1 comment:

Tom Tolkien said...

Why every school should enter the Kid’s Lit Quiz

THE THEME is “Doctors”. Doctor Zhivago perhaps, Pasternak, Dr No, Fleming. The question begins, “Which Paediatrician...” Paediatrician? Doctor Lecter – no he was a psychiatrist. Mr – no! Doctor ... Beaten to it someone who raised their children using Dr Spock. My pupils look aghast or askance with only five rounds left for redemption. The most nerve wracking moment of every year - and that’s just the teachers’ round.
There are many reasons why children can identify with the Kid’s Lit Quiz. Foremost – it isn’t school. It can’t be revised for. There’s no curriculum and responses don’t conform to any expectations. It isn’t limited to those with an academic all round knowledge. Most importantly for Year Seven and Eight, the pub quiz format means it isn’t nerdy. Instead the quiz praises a love of reading or an interest in a particular genre. Good teams often comprise of individuals who have particular tastes, favourite authors, and not a working knowledge of some programmed curriculum. Teachers are attracted too - the school won’t be ranked alongside the others in your borough. It doesn’t favour the brightest pupils, or those with greater advantages in life. There is valued added however – the children win money for enjoying reading.

The Kid’s Lit Quiz categories are cleverly designed. The informal approach creates a refreshingly non academic and yet quietly competitive atmosphere. Cryptic topic titles make choosing which round to double up on a life or death lottery - teams whisper furtively, trying to pre-empt which questions might be asked or which books could possibly feature. Although not immediately apparent, the wide range of topics challenge even the most unlikely reading demographics. Picture books and nursery rhymes questions for 12 year olds seem surprising initially, but prove very motivating for those who read to younger siblings or help as reading buddies in school. Comics and action heroes, myths and legends, science fiction, film adaptations – there’s always a category for everyone. This quiz is perfect not only for the avid young bibliophile, but for reluctant boys, visual learners, dyslexics and the selective reader who sticks voraciously to one genre. In short – Kid’s Lit Quiz praises every reader, whatever they read and however they read it.
As Kid’s Lit Quiz organiser Wayne Mills points out, we see pictures before we see words, and the visual round and oral delivery of the questions helps highlight the importance of a how narrative is communicated, how we remember it, and not necessarily how it’s been written down. There’s no reading in this competition and this emphasises the power of the story. The skill of the quizmaster in exposing new works, revisiting classics and identifying memorable characters shines through.

Lots of opportunities exist for schools looking to improve reading. Book fairs with tempting commission, author visits, library displays, government book handouts – none of which should be criticised and yet not all of which directly tap into a child’s motivation to read. The Kid’s Lit Quiz does. What could be more motivating than sticking your hand up before dozens of others in a hall of 200 people and correctly revealing the title of a book? Perhaps Wayne Mills leaping forward, voice erupting enthusiasm, “AFTER ONLY TWO CLUES – AMAZING! SO FAST,” and thrusting an instant cash prize into a happy and unsuspecting hand.
This is where governments and educational bodies get it wrong. Initiatives are simply icing. The Kid’s Lit Quiz is cake. Every school needs to take a bite.

Tom Tolkien
Head of English at Woodleigh School