Westcott Primary wins quiz

Winners of the quiz with quiz with quizmaster Marj Brown are Westcott Primary pupils, from left, Gemma Liberty, Tatum Masuret, Carmen Unsworth, Morne Wessels, Abigail Nomdo and Erryn Smit.

Westcott Primary hosted the first Phendulani Quiz to be held in Cape Town last week.

Seven teams from six schools competed for prizes of books and cash as they racked their brains answering questions book related by Marj Brown, the founder of the quiz, who flew here from Johannesburg to run the quiz. Westcott librarian Ros Souter said seven teams from six schools competed for prizes of books and cash as they racked their brains answering book related questions from Marj Brown, the founder of the quiz, who is a history teacher in Johannesburg.

The home team, Westcott Primary, took first place and the Steenberg based Delta Primary team one was runners-up. Ms Brown, who started the quiz in 2008, said Phendulani is a Zulu word meaning answer everyone. “The idea is to help teachers in under-resourced schools develop a culture of reading and to increase literacy.

Westcott principal John Robertson said they push reading as it filters across the whole curriculum. “So many subjects depend on reading, as well as writing. It’s important that children can answer a question in a sentence and not just with a word,” he said.

For Naomi August, librarian of Delta Primary, the importance of reading differ. “Because of their surroundings, with drugs and crime, reading helps children escape their situation when they get into a book. It also helps with vocabulary,” she said.

Ms Brown said the quiz also helps to enhance literary knowledge and appreciation, comprehension skills and critical thinking by giving pupils an incentive to open a book. And the quiz assists teachers develop literacy. “If a pupil isn’t able to read with understanding they cannot manage content subjects such as history, geography and mathematics.

“The quiz hones their ability to answer questions,” said Ms Brown.

Claire Biesman-Simons of The Bookery was one of the judges and said they work with Blossom Street, Delta, Koeberg and Heatherdale primary schools. She said they appreciate the calm and focused efforts of Penny Dare and Susie Moffatt who are both closely involved with their work. They championed the quiz with the pupils and spent many hours preparing them for it and for going a long way to growing the pupils’ love of reading.