State Finals for The Children’s Book Council of Australia Readers Cup competitions have recently been held in both Tasmania and Queensland. Readers Cup is generally a competition in which teams of students read a set of books, and then compete with other school or public library teams to answer quiz questions about the books.
Involvement with Readers Cup is both a hectic and rewarding experience for all the volunteers giving their time. Regional competitions are organised and run, then State Finals. It’s a long process, but a fun process. In Queensland over 400 primary and secondary schools are involved in the competition across the year.
This is one Tasmanian Readers Cup volunteer’s reflection on his involvement in this year’s competition….
Holding High The Readers’ Cup
The real value of the competition however – as I see it, anyway – is this: to win, it is not enough to simply read the books. The questions are fiendishly difficult at times, such as “How many rabbits are in the landscape picture that forms the endpapers?” or “What’s the colour of the tennis racquet that Jordan hides behind the wardrobe?” I have read many of these books, but I could not for the life of me answer many of these questions. Similarly, the creative challenge requires students to carefully re-imagine or analyse their chosen texts, with many choosing to bring to life moments absent from the published narrative, or to collide the worlds of two stories together (a notable example from this year’s primary competition was the “Switch-Witch,” who gleefully cackled as she nabbed the characters from one story to put them in the world of another, just to see what would happen). It is always a delight to see just how astonishingly hard the students have worked at pulling these stories apart.