Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kids Lit Quiz Australia: 2015 in review

This has been an exciting year for the Kids' Lit Quiz around the world and the 2015 Australian Quiz was no exception, bringing the "sport of reading" to even more Australian schools.  

For all our friends in the international Kids' Lit Quiz community and everyone at Reading for Australia, here's National Coordinator, Nicole Deans' review of this year's competition, a true celebration of good books and great readers.  

Thanks also to Queensland coordinator, Jenny Stubbs, for her photos and comments and to Wayne Mills, quizmaster and founder of the Kids' Lit Quiz (in New Zealand, 24 years ago) for his additional comments and observations. These have been added to Nicole's report, together with links to other related posts and resources.

The 2015 Australian team with Nicole Deans, Wayne Mills and their coach

Congratulations to the team from Orange High School, the 2015 national champions. Our first all-girl national team will now represent Australia at the world final in New Britain, Connecticut, USA in July.

With its purpose of encouraging and celebrating literacy in children aged 10 to 13 years, Kids' Lit Quiz Australia is delighted with its growth in 2015. It has been enormously satisfying to see so many children enjoy the benefits of reading while discovering an international community of like-minded readers.

From humble beginnings in 2012, with the one heat/final in Orange involving 13 teams and a handful of schools, Kids' Lit Quiz Australia has grown to 5 heats, 96 teams, 56 schools and 384 keen readers in 2015. As Wayne Mills says, "We were all delighted with the 39% increase in teams participating across the Australian competition of the Kids' Lit Quiz."

The enthusiasm shown by both the teams and their teachers/coaches shows the value the Kids' Lit Quiz adds to literacy programs in schools. With its focus on reading widely for pleasure by giving kids an open choice of reading matter and the opportunity for teamwork, the Kids' Lit Quiz offers a unique and fun way for schools to build literacy in their communities.

Thank you to all our wonderful sponsors, donors, supporters, hosts, authors and school communities without whom none of this would have been possible. We hope the 2015 Kids' Lit Quiz Australia was an enjoyable experience for you too and that you all come back next year for more literary fun and games.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Orange is the new black!

Or, if not the new black, then, even better, the new reading capital of Australia.

A team from Orange High School took on the mantle of national champions at the Australian Final of the Kids' Lit Quiz in Sydney last Saturday, succeeding the 2014 team from the nation's capital, Canberra Grammar School.

The 2015 Australian team from Orange High School

Reinforcing the depth of Orange's reading talent, a team from Orange Primary School placed second while a team from Kambala School, Sydney - competing in the Kids' Lit Quiz for the first time - placed third. Congratulations to these teams and to the other finalists, Canberra Grammar School (ACT), Kambala School's other team (Sydney), Anglican Church Grammar School (Brisbane) and Ambrose Treacy College (Ipswich). Well done all!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Life of Pi

Today, 14 March (3/14), is Pi Day,  a day that maths is celebrated around the world. As the official Pi Day site says,

"Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159."

Lots of readers like maths as well as books and maths is important too - readers don't need to choose between two. Just as reading and literacy needs to be celebrated, so too does maths and numeracy.

(2001, Knopf Canada)

But, if like me, "pi" makes you think of the excellent book, Life of Pi, by Yann Martel before you think of 3.14 and other numbers then you can recognise Pi Day by reading!  Being greedy, "pi" also reminds me of "pies"; have a look at this guest post by Goldie Alexander on food in children's literature  and this one on my bookshelf for more book ideas.

If you're in Sydney today, you could also celebrate Pi Day by attending the 2015 Kids' Lit Quiz Australia national final at the Monkey Baa Theatre Company's Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre in Darling Harbour. The Final starts at 1 pm and entry is free. See this guest post by Daria O'Neill for more details.

However it is that you recognise Pi Day, whether it be by doing some maths, reading some books or eating some pies, I hope it is a good one for you.  Good luck to all the teams competing today in the 2015 Australian Final.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Terry Pratchett. The End.

"Stories of the imagination tend to upset those without"

The literary world was saddened today to learn of Terry Pratchett's death at the age of 66. Sir Terry suffered from a rare form of Alzheimer's Disease.

Just two days ago, at the ACT heat of the 2015 Kids' Lit Quiz, Wayne Mills told the audience that, if they were going to read one author before attending a KLQ event, they wouldn't go wrong if that author was Terry Pratchett, one of the world's best fantasy writers. 

If you haven't read any Terry Pratchett books, this is the favourite of one 13 year old fan known to me. (2003, Transworld Publishing). He also recommended Mort (1987).

Thursday, March 12, 2015

More Progress! Report 2

We are belting along! With the ACT heat decided yesterday, there's now only the Sydney heat tomorrow before the National Final on Saturday.

We had a record number of teams participating in the ACT yesterday
Quiz master Wayne Mills testing the ACT's best readers with questions from the 2014 world Final 

See who will represent the ACT in Sydney on Saturday after the jump. There are also some fantastic photos, taken by William Hall, which speak thousands of words in describing the fun and excitement of the "sport of reading".

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Progress report: 2015 Kids' Lit Quiz Australia

With the Ipswich, Brisbane and Orange heats done and dusted, we are already well on our way to finding the 2015 Australian team to compete at the World Final in Connecticut, USA in July.

We've now got only the ACT heat tomorrow and the Sydney heat on Friday before the national final on Saturday. Good luck to all the teams registered for these two heats!

And here are the results from the first three heats:


"A fantastic heat today at Ipswich! First Place Ambrose Treacy College, 2nd Place St Aidan's Anglican Girls School 1, 3rd Place Pullenvale State School 2. A great start to the Australian Competition. Good luck to Ambrose Treacy College in the National Final. Brisbane Heat tomorrow. Good luck to all the teams taking part. "

The winning team from Ambrose Treacy College with quizmaster, Wayne Mills


"A very close heat today with just .5 between first and second place! Thanks to Bulimba State School for a wonderful venue and great hospitality. 1st Place Anglican Church Grammar 1, 2nd Citipoint Christian College Team 1 and 3rd The Gap State High School. Well done to all 18 teams that took part. Next heat is Orange, NSW on Tuesday 10th March. "

The winning team from Anglican Church Grammar with Wayne Mills


"A great heat in Orange today. 23 teams with four new schools taking part for the first time. Our winners were Orange High School, Orange Public School A in second and Kinross Wolaroi School Secondary in third. Off to Canberra for the heat tomorrow."

Third Place: Kinross Wolaroi School

Second Place: Orange Public School

First Place: Orange High School

Thursday, March 05, 2015

It's our turn, Australia!

The 2015 Kids' Lit Quiz Australia competition kicks off today in Ipswich.

Good luck to all the teams! Chances are that you'll win a book prize or two, discover even more books to read, meet like-minded kids and have a great deal of fun with the "sport of reading".

Of course, none of this would be possible without our wonderful sponsors and supporters.

In Australia, as throughout the world, the Kids' Lit Quiz is a not-for-profit association. There are no paid employees - from founder and quiz master, Wayne Mills, to the national coordinators, the state coordinators, adjudicators and committee members, everyone's a volunteer, doing what they do because they believe literacy needs to be both encouraged and celebrated.

So far, in the four years the Kids' Lit Quiz has operated in Australia, we're still looking for major sponsors and our only income is the registration fee paid by each competing team. On this shoe-string budget, it would be extremely difficult to put on each year's competition without the generous support of our sponsors and donors so we'd like to take this opportunity to thank them all sincerely. We couldn't do it without you!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Introducing Monkey Baa by Daria O'Neill

The National Final of the 2015 Kids' Lit Quiz Australia competition is to be held at the Monkey Baa Theatre Company's Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre in Darling Harbour, Sydney on Saturday 14 March. 

Kids' Lit Quiz Australia is delighted to be associated with the Monkey Baa Theatre Company because both organisations are passionate about children's literature. Today's guest post by Monkey Baa's Development Manager, Daria O'Neill, outlines the effective and entertaining ways that Monkey Baa connects with young audiences throughout Australia.

Why not go along to see the National Final? Entry to see some of Australia's best readers compete for the right to represent Australia at the World Final, in Connecticut, USA in July 2015, is FREE! And it's a lot of fun. There are audience prizes (books, of course!), loads of interesting information about books you've already read and books you've yet to meet and an opportunity to see the sport of reading in action! 

It's also not too late to enter the 2015 Kids' Lit Quiz! The heats start in Ipswich on 5 March - mere days away - so schools in and around Ipswich, Brisbane, Orange, Canberra and Sydney should contact Nicole Deans ( IMMEDIATELY if they are interested in participating in the 2015 Kids' Lit Quiz. 

Now, let's learn a bit about the wonderful work that Monkey Baa does for Australian children...

Monkey Baa Theatre Company was established in 1997 to create captivating, vibrant and relevant theatre experiences for young people, their educators and families.

The Pete boys read Pete the Sheep by Jackie French and Bruce Whateley

Our co-Founders and Creative Directors, Sandra Eldridge, Tim McGarry and Eva Di Cesare, have since adapted fourteen classic Australian stories for the stage – from The Bugalugs Bum Thief to Hitler’s Daughter to Pete the Sheep – winning awards, critical acclaim and inclusion on the NSW Board of Studies, and consolidating our reputation as a theatre of excellence, producing work solely for young audiences (aged 3-18 years).

Based on the book by Tim Winton, you can see Monkey Baa's production of The Bugalugs Bum Thief in Sydney in April 2015 and later on tour in other parts of Australia. Click on the link for show details.