Thursday, May 22, 2014

Team South Africa 2014: St John's Prep

L -R: Wayne,  Sean, Justin, Max, Andi, Nicky

Introducing the team from St John's Preparatory College in Johannesburg:

My name is Max and I go to St John’s Prep Johannesburg.

I started reading when I was about 7. My favourite series is the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage and The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Besides reading, I enjoy playing sports, video games and listening to music. My favourite sports include swimming, water-polo and rugby. I enjoy listening to most types of music but rock and heavy metal are my favourite.

My name is Andi.

I go to St John’s Prep. My hobbies include reading, collecting cards and playing video games. My favourite books are The Middle School series by James Patterson because they are really funny. My least favourite books are the boring ones. My favourite sport is rock climbing because it is not as brutal as rugby or hockey and I am good at it.

Hi, my name is Justin.

I am age 12 and attend St John’s School. I enjoy playing Chess and Soccer. I like playing Video Games. My favourite video game is Duke Nukem 3D. I also love reading and I read to my baby sister, Rebecca. I enjoy watching movies and my favourite movies are Ender’s Game and Terminator (Which I haven’t watched but would like to.)

My name is Sean.

My favourite book is the book I am reading at the moment! My hobbies (other than reading) include playing cricket and playing on my iPad. Almost every holiday my family and I go to the bush for as long as possible.

L - R: Justin, Max, Andi and Sean, Team South Africa 2014

 Lorde, Fundraising and the Kids' Lit Quiz by Nicky Sulter

St John’s Prep has been involved in the Kids’ Lit Quiz since its inception in South Africa in 2004. In 2009, St John’s hosted the World Finals at which, the now very famous singer  Lorde, was a member of the NZ KLQ team.

Our team has made it to the South African national finals a number of times and we have missed the top spot by a whisker, more times than I care to remember! So, this year, we are thrilled to be taking part in the World Finals. Over the past couple of months we have been furiously fund-raising and after many cake sales, raffles and “braaiing” of boerewors rolls at sporting events, we are on our way to raising enough to get us to Cornwall.

We all look forward to meeting the teams and coaches from all over the world and to a memorable Cornish adventure.

Nicky Sulter

Congratulations to Yeoville Community School, winners in Johannesberg

The Phendulani Literary Quiz

This introduction to the Phendulani Literary Quiz, a uniquely South African extension of the Kids' Lit Quiz, is based on Marj Brown's Report on the Johannesburg Phendulani Quiz held at The Ridge School on 18 October, 2013.

St John's Prep has been involved with the Phendulani Literary Quiz since it started in 2008 and partnered three schools in the Johannesburg area in the 2013 competition.

The Kids' Lit Quiz was brought to South Africa in 2004  by Marj Brown, now the National Coordinator, after she had seen it while working in the UK as an expat teacher/librarian.

Upon Marj's return to South Africa, she identified a need for literacy support in under-resourced South African schools which could not be addressed by the Kids' Lit Quiz, an international literary competition based on the last 200 years of world literature, which requires contestants to have access to a well-stocked school library.

Only 7% of South African schools have functioning libraries so Phendulani, founded by Marj in 2008, spreads the fun of the Kids' Lit Quiz to under-resourced South African schools.

As with the KLQ, Phendulani provides an incentive for kids to read for fun and to earn book prizes in the process. Similarly, authors hand out the prizes and speak about their work, so that these kids can also have the opportunities of being inspired to write. Many of the authors themselves come from humble backgrounds. Phendulani aims to:
  • provide an incentive for children to read the books
  • promote literacy in SA schools
  • provide opportunities for children to meet authors
  • promote reading with understanding
  • ensure that books are circulated in a school, and not locked up as a valuable resource, where they could remain hidden from children.
In the Phendulani Quiz, well-resourced schools participating in the international Kids' Lit Quiz contribute a portion of their KLQ entry fee to enable under-resourced schools to also participate in the "sport of reading".

Each KLQ school identifies an under-resourced school that it will twin with in the Phendulani competition. Twenty four books from international and local authors, picture books, graphic novels and classics and contemporary books, are selected and copies are distributed to each needy school. The quiz questions are based on these books.

The KLQ schools, usually the kids in the KLQ teams, work with their Phendulani counterparts to prepare them for the quiz,  handing out the books and providing other support such as summarising stories and running mock quizzes.  KLQ participants also help with book selection by completing a book evaluation form on the day of their KLQ heat while the Phendulani participants also give feedback on the book selection each year.

Phendulani is a rewarding cultural exchange for both sets of schools and significant benefits flow both ways.

Congratulations to Motheong Primary School, Atteridgeville winners in Pretoria 

The 2013 Phendulani Quiz

Held last October,  the top three books of 2013 were:

Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume,
The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum,
Mystery of the Hidden Gold by SA author Helen Moss.

Other popular books were; The White Giraffe by Zimbabwean author Lauren St John, The Lorax by Dr Seuss, and No. 1 Car Spotter by Nigerian author Atinuke.

In 2013, books for the Phendulani Quiz were provided by book publishers and Exclusive Books, following Marj's letter of request which was distributed by The Times newspaper.

Forty under-resourced schools (from Johannesburg, Peitermaritzburg, Durban, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth) participated in the Phendulani Quiz this year (one group in Johannesburg, Ubambiswano, is a mobile library project that visits 31 schools and had 3 teams representing these schools.)

Congratulations to  Charles Hugo Primary, winners in Durban

Marj says:

It is exciting to see the difference Phendulani has made, since 2008, to both to the schools and students taking part and in the wider picture of South African education.

In Johannesburg, many of the participating schools have been identified as schools at risk and Mr Potledi Ngoepe from the Department of Basic Education attended the heat as he wanted to witness the quiz first hand and see how the department can build a quiz into their broader literacy work.

For some schools, the quiz was an eye opener to how one can read and enjoy literature and be rewarded for this activity – schools from as far afield as Alexandra, Diepsloot, Nootgedacht, Lawley near Orange Farm, Daveyton and Soweto attended and will be back determined to win next year.

The teachers have worked with the children to ensure the teams know the books and it is encouraging to see levels of literacy rise in these schools. Most importantly it is good to see the children enjoying reading – something that will enhance their progress in all subjects besides their level of critical thinking, imagination, knowledge, and emotional happiness.

There is a critical need for children's books in many South African schools.  New or gently used books can be sent to Marj Brown at 14 O’Brien Ave, Northcliff, Johannesburg SA, 2195 for distribution to schools and children in need.

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