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West Hartford Students Compete for Kids' Lit Finals

Elementary and middle school students will compete for a chance to compete in the finals in South Africa this summer.

Sixteen 5th graders at Duffy Elementary and additional students from Bristow and Sedgwick middle schools are reading their hearts out in preparation for The Kids’ Lit Quiz U.S. Finals to be held on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., in CCSU's Student Union.

The West Hartford students will be competing with 100 other 5th, 6th and 7th graders representing eight districts (New Britain, Meridan, New Hartford, East Haddam, Litchfield, Middletown, Simsbury, and West Hartford) at Central Connecticut State University. CCSU’s Department of Reading and Language is hosting the Quiz, which promotes wide reading and tests knowledge of children's literature.

Duffy entered the competition last year and sent 13 students to compete. This year they organized early and have been reading and meeting for four months!

“In our last month competition our teams read 160 books,” exclaimed student Kate Bell.

Former Duffy students have organized teams at Sedgwick and Bristow.

“Last year’s competition was so exciting, I thought we should try again for the honor of representing United States,” explained Clare Taylor, the 5th grade
teacher who organized the Duffy teams.

The U.S. winner for last year was Squadron Line from Simsbury. Their team was able to represent the United States in the World Finals in New Zealand.

The kids from West Hartford schools will work in teams of four to answer 100 questions in three hours. “We made a team tee-shirt design that is really fun and will stand out in the crowd,” said Libby Redmond. Emmy Delaney, a 5th grader at Duffy said, “Reading is fun and I am in it to win it.” Emmy hopes her team can go to South Africa.

The Lit Quiz puts readers onto the stage and lets them compete for fantastic prizes. "The Kid’s Lit Quiz is a great way to get kids to read.” said Colin Savage, a Duffy student. “We had a contest last month and our four teams read 160 books!"

“The program at Duffy is student run and I like having an important role,” shared 5th grader Pier Bos.

The Quiz has been offered in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and China since 1991, and now includes the U.S. The winning team team from the U.S. will qualify for national and world finals to be held in July in South Africa.

The Kids' Lit Quiz is not for profit and run entirely by volunteers. Reading and Language Arts Professor Catherine Kurkjian, who also serves as the U.S. coordinator for the Quiz, organized the event with Dr. Mary Beth Iacobelli of New Britain Public Schools.

CCSU is the first U.S. site for the Quiz and the brainchild of the event, Wayne Mills, will serve as Quiz Master. Mills is currently a Visiting Professor in CCSU’s Department of Reading and Language Arts and is a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland in the Faculty of Education. Mills launched the Kids Lit Quiz in New Zealand in 1991 because he was concerned that “keen readers are never given prizes for their love of reading.” He wanted to make children who love books “as highly valued as school sports stars in his sports-mad country, with national TV coverage, trophies and opportunities to compete in exciting venues to spur them on.”

For more info about the Kids Lit Quiz visit http://www.kidslitquiz.com/home.

Submitted by Clare Taylor

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