An international literary quiz competition designed to increase the reading ability and habits of school children around the world, will be hosted in Nigeria for the first time in February 2019.
The Kids’ Lit Quiz will enable Nigerian school children to join their peers in other participating countries: Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA), to increase their reading abilities and possibilities for awards.
The Kids’ Lit Quiz is an annual literature competition in which teams of four students aged 10 to 13, work together to answer wide-ranging literary questions, while the winning team from each region competes in the National Final; the winner of the National Final is then invited to the World Final held annually in July or August.
The benefit of Kids’ Lit Quiz lies in the fact that it motivates and inspires children to read a wide range of children’s literature for pleasure from the classics to the contemporary, from nursery rhymes to comics, and from folk tales to myths even as it offers children rewards they may not otherwise experience in the classroom setting.
The quiz also provides an incentive for a school’s better readers to extend their reading and to broaden their literary knowledge. It also encourages the more reluctant reader to enjoy books.
“The quiz is all about reading for pleasure. We want students to read widely and unfettered by a list. It is our belief that a list acts as a test in disguise. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet other like-minded readers who simply enjoy reading,” said the organisers, who also added that the benefits of the quiz are well-supported by research.
Shedding more light on the modalities and processes of the competition, the Nigerian Coordinator of the Quiz, Mrs. Maluchi Chukwuemeka, said that teams of four students are asked to answer 100 questions on children’s literature divided into 10 categories, which vary each year.
According to Chukwuemeka, each team is provided with a set of blank answer sheets and are asked to write the name of their school at the top of each of the 10 sheets.
One student acts as the scribe, and after consultation with the rest of the team writes the answer to the questions on the printed sheets provided for each round.
At the end of each round, the sheets are gathered up and checked against the “answer sheets” by a team of markers. Each correct answer receives one point.
An incorrect answer does not receive any points. A half point could be awarded at the discretion of the moderator. Examples of categories set previously include poetry, authors, titles, settings, characters, and nursery rhymes.
Between each round, whilst the marking is taking place, the Quizmaster asks questions of the spectators, giving them the chance to win books and coins.
Since its inception in 1991, thousands of students have participated each year throughout the world. Currently, quizzes are held in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, UK and USA. Nigeria has just joined the international literary quiz, which it is billed to host for the first time in February 2019.
In Nigeria, the quiz which will, initially, hold in Lagos, as a pilot scheme, is divided into two regions: Lagos Island and Lagos Mainland, which will compete to determine the National Champion that will represent the country in the World Final. The competition will be extended to other parts of the country later.
Already, some schools in Lagos have indicated their interests to participate in the international event for children.
The quiz competition was created by Wayne Mills, a former professor of education at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, who wears a purple and black hat while hosting this literary quiz.
In 2008 Wayne Mills was given the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award to recognise his achievement in establishing the Kids’ Lit Quiz.
He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in 2011 for meritorious services to education, specifically children’s literature.