The 20th anniversary of the Northern Primary Schools’ Readers’ Cup was recently held at Hagley Primary School with teams from 14 participating schools joining together to celebrate reading.
The Northern Primary Readers’ Cup has been running in Launceston for 20 years, and this special anniversary event was kicked off with a brief history presented by Jennie Bales, who first brought the idea to Launceston teacher librarians way back in 2001. She learnt about this wonderful stimulus to encourage reading at a conference in Queensland where it has since grown into a state-wide annual event. The Readers’ Cup has had different iterations in the south, north and northwest of Tasmania for both primary and secondary students. Currently CBCA Tasmania provides book vouchers for participating teams.
A past organiser, Maureen Mann recalls:
I was involved with Reader's Cup from the beginning in Launceston but mainly in the secondary section as I was then working in high schools. However, along with Judy Moss, and under the auspices of CBCA, we extended the competition to Hobart in about 2008. I travelled down for several years just for Readers Cup meetings to get it going.
Jennie noted how wonderful it was to see such a worthy celebration of reading, literacy and team work continue for two decades due to the dedication and hard work of local organisers, keen teachers in schools and volunteer including judges and support personnel.
Jill van der Bosch (a previous teacher librarian organiser recalls):
I think my main memory of Readers' Cup is the enthusiasm it generated, not only among the dedicated readers, but those who would otherwise avoid books and reading at all costs. They all just loved the creative challenge and never ceased to amaze me with their productions. From Grade 3 onward, students would ask, "When can we do that thing?' I'm so glad 'That Thing' continues.
The Tasmanian adaption has unique qualities that combine both a quiz and a creative response to one of the books. The book selection for this event included a mix of new and familiar titles – picture books and novels and in a range of genres.
|The reading list for the 2023 Northern Primary Readers Cup|
The Northern Primary event has evolved into a community affair commencing after school with the quiz, the ‘extra challenge’ followed by fuel for the brain (a BBQ this year), then the performances in the early evening with keen families arriving from across Launceston and its surrounds. The creative response requires each team to present their ‘take’ on one of the books – for example as a play, short film, PowerPoint, dance, diorama or other artistic form. This element adds immensely to the enjoyment and ambience of the evening with a large and enthusiastic audience made up parents, teachers and classmates.
|Judges, families, staff and students watch the Creative Challenge performances|
The introduction of the ‘extra challenge’ some years ago added a new dimension, with a week’s notice to read an extra book, each team responds to a surprise challenge completed after the quiz. This year the book was Walk of the Whales by Nick Bland.
|Work in progress for the Extra Challenge|
The most recent coordinator, Jessica Marston, the teacher librarian at Hagley Farm School was the host for this year’s Northern Primary Readers’ Cup event and she writes:
We were very excited to see our 2023 Readers’ Cup return to a live final, after the event was cancelled altogether in 2020, and held virtually in 2021-22.
Fourteen schools, including Flinders Island District High School via a livestream, saw just under 100 students converge at Hagley Farm School to compete in teams for the prized Cup.
The buzz in the room was wonderful, as we enjoyed an evening of friendly rivalry through the celebration of children’s literature. Feedback about the event has been overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents.
Participating students also provided some interesting insights via a survey completed after the event which captured some great sentiments:
- I enjoyed getting together with all the other schools and seeing their view and perspective of the books. I also think it was good how you included Flinders Island so they can still participate.
- I loved showing our creative challenge because we worked so hard but I thought that the extra challenge was really fun and such a creative idea. I loved having my family and friends there and the food was awesome.
- I enjoyed seeing all of the other schools out at Hagley and seeing how well everyone did with their creative performances and the quiz working well as a team. I had fun meeting new people and bonding better with my teammates, the food was also so delicious.
|Winning team, East Launceston PS, present their Creative Challenge|
about The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley.
Congratulations to this years’ winners, East Launceston Primary School, and a very big thank you to the CBCA, Tasmanian Branch for their ongoing support of our event.
Report prepared by Jennie Bales (CBCA Tasmania Social Media Coordinator) and Jess Marston (Teacher Librarian, Hagley Farm School).
Editor's note: The Northern Secondary Readers' Cup will be held in Launceston in September.