New Lambton Public School team competes in Kids Lit Quiz national final

Lifelong learners: Alex Sweatman, Ryan Robinson, Isobel Price and Zara Paterson will compete on Saturday. Picture: Simone De Peak
Lifelong learners: Alex Sweatman, Ryan Robinson, Isobel Price and Zara Paterson will compete on Saturday. Picture: Simone De Peak

HUNTER bookworms’ passion for reading will be tested on the national stage, when they will be asked to answer questions such as the name given to the outlaws who followed Robin Hood, where in Greece the gods reside and the name of the female cat that loves Garfield.

New Lambton Public School year six students Zara Paterson, Isobel Price, Alex Sweatman and Ryan Robinson, all 11, have been selected to compete in Sydney on Saturday in the Australian final of the Kids Lit Quiz, which has been described as celebrating the sport of reading.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Alex said. “We’ll be up against high school teams [the competition is open to students from years five to eight] but we’re going to have fun, give it our best shot and make the most of it while we can.

“We’ll be surrounded by what we love - it will be impossible to be unhappy.”

Ryan said he was really excited. “I’ve never done anything like this before and might not get the chance to do something like this again.”

New Lambton teacher Liz Beck has trained a team every year since 2012 and invited year five and six students to apply.

“Reading has always been my passion, so I knew I wanted to try out,” Isobel said.

“Whenever people can’t find me they know I’m in my room, reading.”

Ms Beck took a team to the national final in 2013, when there were only two heats.

This year, there were nine heats, in which 182 teams wrote the answers to 100 questions about children’s literature in 10 rounds.

In the national final, students will start with 10 points and push a buzzer to say the answer to about 65 questions divided into five categories. They will lose a point for each incorrect answer.

Isobel’s expertise is authors, Ryan maintains a long database of opening lines and Zara and Alex have a knack for book titles. Another two categories will be announced on the day.

The competition requires students to not only be widely read, but to do practice quizzes and have researched and be able to quickly recall other details about authors lives, book titles and film versions.

The students said since being selected for the finals, they have doubled their once-weekly meetings for practice quizzes and are maintaining their regime of discussing books, sleeping well and eating healthily.

“We understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work really well as a team,” said Zara, whose two older siblings were also in the school’s Kids Lit team.  

“Four heads are better than one.”

The winning team will be invited to the international final in Toronto, Canada.