Mikateka And Franklin D Primary Win City of Joburg Libraries Competition

The City of Johannesburg Libraries and Information Services congratulates Mikateka Primary for winning the Story Skirmish and Franklin D Primary for winning the Battle of the Books competition. This comes after the City of Johannesburg’s Libraries hosted the Battle of the Books and Story Skirmish final, which is an inter-school knockout quiz competition for primary school pupils, on 1 and 2 November 2023. 

This year, the competition saw 87 schools participating in the Story Skirmish, reaching 696 pupils. While the Battle of the Books had 720 pupils from 90 schools participating.

The Battle of the Books is targeted at grade 6 and 7 pupils who are first language English speakers and the Story Skirmish is targeted at grade 4 and 5 pupils who are second language English speakers. For both competition, teams consists of four to six members are expected to read 25 listed books between them on which the competition is based.  

The books are carefully chosen by librarians to include a range of genres, levels of difficulty and writing styles and are provided to the schools by the City’s Library and Information Services.

To make it to the finals, participating schools compete on a library level. The winning teams advance to the zonal rounds, regional rounds and then to the final rounds.  Once in the finals, participants face grueling knock out rounds filled with quizzes. 

The four teams that made it to the Story Skirmish finals are Midrand Primary, Mikateka Primary, Rosettenville Primary (overall winners) and GR Harris Primary. 

The four teams that made it to the Battle of the Books finals are Basa Primary, Franklin D Primary (overall winners), Crown Reef Primary and Zithathele Primary.

In 2021, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study revealed that 81% of pupils in South Africa cannot read in any of the official languages. The research indicated that South Africa ranked last out of the 57 countries assessed in terms of reading ability of pupils. 

“The City’s Library and Information Services acknowledges the challenges of historical imbalances and lack of suitable reading materials in schools, hence the introduction of reading development programmes with several schools in Johannesburg,” said Nobuntu Mpendulo, the Director of the City’s Library and Information Services.

The competition plays an important part in assisting children to have the ability to read and write. Children who are able to read perform better at school have a better self-image and become life-long learners. 

Children who cannot read are more likely to drop out of school. One of the participants of the reading quiz competition Bokang Nkosi from Midrand Primary said the competition was interesting as it gave him the opportunity to read lots of interesting books and make new friends.