THE Grade 6 and 7 pupils of the John Masiza Primary School, in Walmer Township will begin reading feverishly in preparation for the Phendulani Literacy Quiz.
John Masiza joins about 40 under-resourced schools across South Africa for the quiz, which takes place in October.
The quiz aims to make reading more interesting by making it fun. It also aims to encourage the development of literary knowledge and appreciation, critical thinking and the comprehension skills of pupils.
With 90% of schools in South Africa not having access to books, Marj Brown, a librarian with a background in history, maths and English, started the Phendulani Literary Quiz to help schools and teachers develop literacy.
The quiz derives its name from the Zulu word for “answer everyone”, namely phendulani.
Brown says: “Literacy plays a huge role in all subjects. If a child is not able to read with meaning, they cannot cope with their content subjects such as history, geography or mathematics. Exam questions often get misconstrued through a lack of understanding or literacy.”
Nearly 1000 books were sponsored for the Phendulani Literary Quiz and given to its coordinators across five regions. These books will be handed to the pupils this month when their reading marathon begins.
Susan Russell, general manager of marketing for Times Media, said, “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative and are dedicated to playing our part in promoting literacy in South Africa”.
Teams of six pupils from schools in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Pietermaritzburg will participate in the Phendulani Literacy Quiz and will have until October to complete a list of 24 books in time for their regional contest. The quiz questions are coordinated by Brown based on themes from the set literature.
Themes that will be explored this year, are: courage, adventure, environment and visual stories. The questions will be drawn from titles such as The Little Mermaid, Twenty Heartbeats, Cape of Slaves, The Lorax and The White Giraffe to name a few. The winners will each receive book prizes to further an interest in reading. The books donated for the quiz preparation, will go into each school’s library.