Roedean stars win SA reading quiz

18 February 2013 - 02:25 By POPPY LOUW
Roedean School in Johannesburg. File photo
Roedean School in Johannesburg. File photo

Passionate readers aged between 10 and 13 were put to the test in the South African leg of the Kids' Lit Quiz. The international literary competition culminated in victory for four young girls from Roedean School in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The winners - Jessica Wise, 13, Julia Kinghorn, 13, Shreeya Khoosal, 11, and Katie Duvenage, 11 - will represent South Africa at the world final in Durban in July.

Children from South Africa, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, China, Australia, New Zealand and Canada participate in the competition every year.

The nine teams from South Africa were quizzed on five categories from any book ever written under children's literature around the world.

An excited Duvenage, a Grade 6 pupil, said: "I knew a lot was expected of us in order to win the quiz so we started preparing last year already."

On top of their usual reading, Duvenage and her team-mates took out about 20 books each from their school library.

Tafadzwa Kumbirai, 12, of Waterkloof House Preparatory School in Pretoria, called reading a "fun hobby ".

He was part of the first team ever to represent the school in the competition.

Asked about his favourite book, Tafadzwa said: "I love the Spud series because it's funny and I can relate to it from the time I was a boarder."

The organiser of the South African leg of the competition, Marj Brown, said it celebrates and rewards reading and literary knowledge.

"It challenges the children's literary depth and enables them to broaden their cultural horizons."

Brown, a teacher at Roedean, also runs the Phendulani Quiz - a twinning project in which private schools who participate in the Kids' Lit Quiz team up with 30 poorer schools around Gauteng.

"The importance and impact of reading has made me work on spreading Phendulani across the country to make every child love reading," Brown said.