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Asteri crowned the coolest bookworms in Joburg at Story Skirmish Print E-mail
26 October 2017
Eight learners from Asteri Primary School walked away with R400 Pick n Pay gift vouchers each and a floating trophy after being crowned the 2017 Story Skirmish Champions at the Mofolo Recreation Centre Hall this week.

Learners from Robertsham Primary School received a R350 Pick n Pay voucher each for coming second in the competition, followed by P S Tsosane Primary School which won R300 voucher for each team member for their efforts.

The winning Asteri team was made up of Gracia Ndeshi; Hope Khomunala; Glory Masiala; Kashika Tshimana; Christian Ngwenya; Ngwato Maboko; Kabelo Kutu; Thabiso Sikhosana.

This year, some 6000 learners representing 234 schools from all the seven regions and Johannesburg City Library participated in the programme.

The awards ceremony was a culmination of months of reading for learners, who had been reading various books since February.


Now in its 18th year, the Story Skirmish is an annual book-based inter-school knock-out quiz for second language English speaking children aged between 9 and 11 years (Grades 4 and 5). Teams consist of 6-8 members (the members are usually the winners of inter-classroom knock-out rounds) who must read between them the 15 listed titles on which the quiz is based. The books are carefully chosen by librarians together with teachers to include a wide range of genres, levels of difficulty and writing styles. The books are specially selected for children by librarians. The librarians who choose the books ensure that some titles are African and South African to build up an appreciation of indigenous literature. The selected books are procured by the city’s Library and Information Services Directorate.

During the year approximately 50 librarians across the city each visit at least eight schools to establish and nurture participation in the Story Skirmish programme. Participating teachers coach their learners for the actual competitions and mock competition rounds are held in libraries to prepare learners for elimination rounds.

The competition begins early in the year with schools entering the competition. In February books are delivered to schools, and librarians start with the quiz question setting. Between February and May the participating children read the books on the competition lists.

From May to June the competition officially takes off with School rounds to choose the best school teams. Library and Zonal rounds take place at various libraries from July to September. In October the competition heats up with the Regional rounds and finally, the Metropolitan Finals. Each round is unique, challenging, fun and exciting and learners work hard toto advance to the next round and ultimately to win the competition.

Prizes are sponsored by the Friends of the Greater Johannesburg Public Libraries.


These programmes are intended to create excellent opportunities to promote social inclusion and simultaneously develop reading and comprehensive skills, as well as to broaden the reading experience among participating learners in a fun and exciting manner. The programme also introduces libraries to younger children as places of gathering, sharing and reading for fun. Educators have reported a noticeable improvement in comprehension skills. and reading scores and in some schools even an improvement of two levels in reading skills but most importantly introducing children to the love of reading.

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Last Updated on 26 October 2017