Monday, April 07, 2014

Kids' Lit Quiz Canada: 2014 in review

So far, this has been an exciting year for Kids' Lit Quiz Canada as we've read our (sometimes costumed) way through both snowstorms and fine weather in the search for our 2014 national team.

Congratulations to the team from Royal St George's College in Toronto.  These boys will now represent Canada at the Kids' Lit Quiz world final in Cornwall, England in July.

For all our friends in the international Kids' Lit Quiz community and everyone at Reading for Australia, here's a look back over the fun we had in the 2014 Canadian competition, a true celebration of good books and great readers on both the west coast and in east-central Canada.

West Coast Action

January saw a pilot heat of Kids' Lit Quiz Canada take place on Canada's west coast, in British Columbia. With ten teams participating, the objective of the pilot was to expose some west coast schools to the fun of the Quiz and provide some quiz practice for the two teams already organized to travel to Ontario for the heats and final.

The competition went well - too well! It was so close that there were several tied scores after one or two categories. The tie breaker questions - five of them after one category - continued to result in ties! The question which eventually broke the tie was; "Where is the birthplace of JRR Tolkien?"

The west coast schools were keen and we are anticipating a good heat with many more schools in Vancouver next January. Many thanks to Vancouver Kidsbooks for generously providing book prizes.

Ontario Regional Heats

The regional KLQC heats in Ontario were hosted by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough and Queen Victoria Public School in the city of Toronto. In 2014, 63 schools participated in the Quiz, climbing from 35 schools in 2013 and a long way from our first competition, with 13 teams, in 2011!

Many of the teams came in costume. We had Gods and Goddesses of Literature, the Cat in the Hat, Alice in Wonderland's team, favourite characters from books... even the Librarian from the Black Lagoon was there! 

An author team competed again this year, providing wonderful comic relief for the audience and, once they settled down a bit, they did very well in the quiz too! Many thanks to Team "Always Write", Jennifer Maruno, Adira Rotstein, Susan Hughes and Helaine Becker.

Children from the teams as well as those in the audience were excited to meet the authors and have books autographed, made possible by our prize sponsor, Mabel's Fables who also ran a pop-up store at the heats.

The Canadian Children's Book Centre and the National Reading Campaign provided some publicity about our events on their websites as well as supplying book marks and Children's Booknews publications for our guests.

Canadian National Final

In the end, only 8 teams could advance to the final although the talent and competition were truly commendable on all the teams at all heats. As it turned out, four independent (private) schools and four public schools advanced to the National Final which was hosted at beautiful Havergal College in Toronto. We had teams from Ottawa, Hamilton, Bluewater, Toronto District, Independent and Catholic Schools and two from British Columbia for an exciting finale of Kids' Lit Quiz fun!

Havergal College did a wonderful job hosting the teams and clearing 20cm of SNOW from the parking lot for all the fans coming to cheer on their teams.

Quizmaster Wayne Mills, who had travelled to Canada from his home in New Zealand (where it was summer!), via the US national final in Connecticut, was both enchanted and alarmed at the amount of snow that was falling. The snowstorm, which seems to fall whenever we hold a National Final, is now known as the annual Kids' Lit Quiz Canada blizzard! We are really hoping to break this reputation next year!

Despite the inclement weather there was a big crowd to cheer on the teams. We had some KLQ alumnae in attendance too.

The buzzer system was an app on an iPad which was quite sensitive and took some getting used to, but was a big success overall.

What a great National Final! The teams were really on their game.

In the end, Royal St. George's College prevailed. This team of boys had a taste of the finals last year and were keen competitors all the way. The second and third placed teams were Forest Hill Public School and Maurice Cody Public School. Congratulations to all the teams who took part and special mention to Southridge School from BC and Forest Hill Public School who are new to "the sport of reading" and did so well.

Maurice Cody Public School, third place, Kids Lit Quiz Canada 2014 national final

Forest Hill Public School, second place, Kids Lit Quiz Canada 2014 national final

Royal St George's College, first place, Kids Lit Quiz Canada 2014 national final

The success of the event was due to the generosity of our host schools, the wonderful dedicated volunteers who did everything from registration to coffee sales, marking/scoring and T-shirt sales, to the coaches and parents of the teams and, of course, our prize sponsor Mabel Fables. Thank you all for your greatly appreciated support.

Here is a peek at some of the fun Kids' Lit Quiz Canada had in 2014:

We are already gearing up for next year! Check out our website, Kids' Lit Quiz Canada and our Facebook page for more information about the 2015 Canadian competition.  There's also loads of information about authors, books, the importance of reading and, of course, the Kids' Lit Quiz on both sites.

Finally, here's an infographic from the National Reading Campaign to remind us all why reading is important.  Happy reading, everyone!  

Nancy Davidson  
National Coordinator, Kids' Lit Quiz Canada

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