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Kids‘ Lit Quiz returns to NZ stage

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Young kiwi bookworms will be able to put their extra reading during the COVID-19 lockdown to good use when the New Zealand heats of Kids’ Lit Quiz resume in August.

The annual event was put on hold following the first three South Island heats in March this year because of COVID-19.

The World Final of Kids’ Lit Quiz, due to be held in New Zealand in July, remains cancelled due to the pandemic.

Kiwi quizmaster Wayne Mills started Kids’ Lit Quiz in a Hamilton community hall nearly 30 years ago and it has since grown to become the world’s largest literary event for children, with heats across 11 countries.

National competitions were already completed this year in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada, United States, Nigeria and South Africa before COVID-19 struck.

Waynr continued with the Australian heats of the competition online as the coronavirus took hold in March, and ran the final of the Indonesian competition online earlier this month.

With New Zealand now in Alert Level 1, the local competition is full steam ahead.

“I’ve had so many queries from kids who said they’d been reading their hearts out during the lockdown – more reading than what they would normally do – and can’t wait to put it to the test,” says Wayne.

The event encourages students aged 10-13 years to read for pleasure, widening their range of books and celebrating their knowledge.

Schools enter a team of four students who train like athletes to compete in their regional final. The teams are asked questions from all forms of children’s literature, ranging from classics to the contemporary, from nursery rhymes to comics, and from folk tales to myths.

The event is huge fun and competitors are at the top of their field - kids who were “born to read,” says Wayne.

“Kids still love books. As the pull of social media and other distractions is stronger than ever, reading can get overlooked and the value of reading for pleasure diminished. Kids’ Lit Quiz gives readers something to aim for and recognises their passion.”

The 11 remaining regional heats of Kids’ Lit Quiz will be held from August to October and the national final will be held at the National Library in Wellington on October 18.

Kids’ Lit Quiz patron, Chloe Wright of the Wright Family Foundation, is “delighted” the competition is able to continue in 2020 and can’t wait to see the competitors in action.

“In a year full of cancelled events and disappointments, how wonderful that these passionate young readers now have something to look forward to. Many of them will have devoured books during the lockdown so I’m looking forward to seeing them pit their enhanced reading knowledge against each other on a real – as opposed to virtual – stage.”

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