Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Other Cup That Stops the Nation - Maureen's Reader's Cup Wrap-up!

Reader's Cup - Book Club just got cool!

Congratulations to all schools involved in his year’s Southern Tasmanian Readers’ Cup. Finals for this competition have been held, for southern schools, over the past two Wednesdays in Hobart: the first for grade 5/6 students and the second for grade 7/8 students. As always, the standard of the students was fantastic, both in their knowledge of the books and in their creativity and there were wonderful contributions from all involved. I’ve had the great pleasure of coordinating the challenge this year and we had 2 wonderful days of competition.

Readers’ Cup was introduced into South Australia by Judy Styles in 1987 after a trip to the USA and the concept has spread to several Australian states. It is a competition in which teams of school students read a set of books, which varies each year, and then compete against each other, based on their knowledge and interpretation of the books. The aim of Readers’ Cup is to encourage all children – not just ‘good readers’ – to read, and to enjoy what they read. It is also a way to reward enthusiastic readers in the context of a team activity.

There are wider benefits as well. Readers' Cup:
  • encourages reading, not only among competitors
  • is a visible way to promote and recognise reading and children’s literature
  • creates a competitive framework for those who enjoy reading
  • provides non-sporting inter-school competition
  • encourages insightful reflection about literature
  • focuses on student achievement
  • provides inter-school communication and interaction
  • is fun!

Tasmania has an extra element which we believe expands the benefits of the competition. It evolved years ago when Tasmania was modifying the curriculum. One of the major focuses then was on thinking skills. It was decided that Readers’ Cup didn’t give students the opportunity to demonstrate their deep understanding of the themes and issues of any of the books. So we introduced a ‘creative element’ in which each team interprets, using a format chosen by them, an aspect or aspects of one or more of the books and presents their interpretation to an audience. Each presentation is expected to last a maximum of five minutes.

The presentations included the use of PowerPoint, plays and movies written by the students, songs and dance. We had 3 judges for each of the finals and thanks go to them for giving up their time and enthusiasm. Thanks also go to our MC for both events, who was able to fit Readers’ Cup in between his university tutorials. The adults involved enjoyed things as much as did the students.
We had six schools register for each level of the event, but unfortunately one of the secondary schools had to withdraw at the last minute. We’d love to have more involvement in 2012 so keep your eyes and ears open for the notification about the preliminary meeting early in term 1. It’s usually held in March. (Readers’ Cup is also alive well in other parts of the state but is run by ASLA).

So, after all that information, who won? Congratulations go to Princes Street Primary School and the Fahan School, in the secondary section. But all those who competed, whether they were the teams in individual schools who didn’t make the cut for the inter-school competition or the ones who came to the finals, gained a great deal from their reading, their team spirit and the fun they had through the process.

Information about the books used in the 2011 Southern Schools Readers Cup competition can be found on the CBCA (Tasmania) website: www.cbcatas.org. Early in 2012 the Guidelines for next years’ Readers’ Cup will be posted here too.

Just before I finish. In my last blog back in August, I talked about the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, administered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. The winner was announced at the beginning of October and congratulations go to I Know Here by Laurel Croza.

Happy reading and see you next time.

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