Friday, July 10, 2015

Kid's Lit Quiz


Fun Fact, I volunteer with the Kid’s Lit Quiz which is an international reading competition created by Dr. Wayne Mills. This year his World Final was being held in America and he had a bunch of authors invited who I had the pleasure of meeting. The one that stood out the most would be one of my childhood favorite author’s: Ron Roy, who wrote the A to Z Mysteries! To explain a little, Dr. Mills was a professor at the University of Auckland who couldn’t help but notice that kids didn’t get rewarded for reading like they did for sports. This led him to create a local Quiz, which is basically fun trivia about a number of children/young adult books. This quickly spread to heats in all of New Zealand with winners from different sections then competing in the final. Soon Australia, England, then to all of the UK, South Africa, Canada, and most recently Connecticut, USA and Singapore all joined the competition with winners in each country being invited to the World Final.

I became involved 3 years ago when Wayne first started quizzing in Connecticut to find his American finalists. The World Finals were to be held in New Zealand in July of 2012 and I hitched a ride with the winning American team and their coaches (who just happened to be from my old elementary school and the head coach just happened to be my 2nd grade teacher). That year there were teams from New Zealand, Australia, Scotland (who represented all of the U.K.), South Africa, Canada, and the first ever U.S. team. It was such a blast watching all of the kids interact with each other, forming friendships and getting rewarded for reading! The teams are together for a week in the host country with the competition on Wednesday and fun activities in between.

This year, the World Finals are being held at Central Connecticut State University and we’ve taken the kids on plenty of cool trips. For the majority of them it is their first time in America and it was really funny to see them all react to a yellow school bus with no seatbelts. They were taking pictures with it like it was the Statue of Liberty! (They were also shocked with how high the back of the bus is ejected out of their seats every time they went over a bump). Visiting the Mark Twain house, Mystic Aquarium, and New York City is just the start of their trip. Just this Wednesday New Zealand won the trophy with South Africa coming in Second and America in Third. The night of the competition, it’s tradition to hold the International Dinner where the students, coaches, parents who came, coordinators, and guests get all mixed up and talk to people from other countries. I was sitting with on of the New Zealand girl’s mothers, the Coordinator for all of Canada (who will be hosting the World Finals in 2 years), an Illustrator, the aunt of one of the South African girls, and the grandmother and adorable little sister of one of the Canadian boys. They all had quite interesting and different stories to tell and it was absolutely great meeting all of them!

The week isn’t quite over yet. At the very least we have a Rock Cats game to attend this afternoon and I’m just so glad I met Wayne all those years ago and that I still get to be involved! (I was actually the person running the scoreboard on Wednesday). Even though there will be more space between me and the World Final next summer, (with college expenses I don’t think I’ll be able to fly all the way to New Zealand again) I know these are relationships that will last a long time and I look forward to when Wayne visits again for the U.S. heats and the Canadian World Final!

So that’s what I’ve been up to recently and why I’ve not been so active. Even though I’m a small fry college student, I’ve been spending a lot of time helping this all go smoothly :) For any of you interested in learning more here's a link to a demo quiz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjf4MS30qJo and here's a link to the Kid's Lit Quiz Website 

Quizmaster Dr. Wayne Mills