Sample Questions

Here are some sample questions that have been used in the past. They were designed for Year 8/9, Five and Six classes.

Sample questions - Senior competition

Sample Questions - Year 8/9

1.1  Why do the dancers stir up the dust during the shake a leg dance?
Shake a Leg
They stir up the dust because we ask the old people, our ancestors, to dance with us. They are in that dust and when we die we’ll go there too. 30 secs 2 points
1pt – old people in the dust
1pt – dancing with the old people
1.2  At the end of Chapter 8 Grace hears a scream. Whose scream did she think it was? Shiver  Jack Culpeper (P42/3) 30 secs 1 point
½ point for each part of name
1.3  Dan’s mum says, “It’s not what you have it’s what you do that counts.” What does she mean by this?

Six Impossible Things
(p216 - 215)  Money/possessions are not as important as a satisfying, contented, worthwhile life 1 min 2 points

1pt – money isn’t everything

1pt – satisfying life

We are happy, busy, surrounded by generous people, discovering self and what I want to do, connectedness. Dan independent, fit strong
1.4  In the chapter entitled The Test, what is the test for Andrej? What attribute does Andrej have that allows him to withstand the test?

The Midnight Zoo
(p156/7) The lioness wanted him to trust her enough to show her Wilma (the baby) because she had had her cubs taken from her. 2 min 3 points

1pt – she wants him to trust her

1pt – she wants him to show her Wilma

1pt – he has trust, courage, belief in a good world
1.5  Give two reasons why the author may have chosen to use multiple viewpoints to tell the story. 

  • To give everyone’s point of view.
  • To emphasise the idea of a team working together.
  • To make the experience more personal therefore more emotive.
  • To give the telling of the story more credibility.
2 min 2 points
1pt each for any 2 of those, or any other plausible answer
Total:   6 min  

Sample Questions – Junior competition

Sample Readers Cup – Questions from year 6-7 State finals. Each answer is worth 2 points.

Blabbermouth - Morris Gleitzman

  1. Mrs Cosgrove commented to some people, that Rowena had two afflictions. What were they?
  2. After Ro’s eventful first day at school her dad came to give her a bedtime hug. Ro notes: I switched on the lamp so he could hear me. [p. 12] What did she mean by this?
  3. How did Amanda surprise Ro when she met her at the school gate the morning after sports day?

The Nargun and the Stars - Patricia Wrightson

  1. The Nargun did not belong in Wongabilla country. Where did it originally come from?
  2. What incident proviekd the Potkoorok to reveal itself for the first time to Simon?
  3. "The yellow machine will follow where the water runs after the storm. The yellow machine is too much trouble." [p.41] What event was the Potkoorok predicting on these words?

Running with the horses - Alison Lester

  1. What was Nina's mother, what did she do?
  2. Why did the academy close?
  3. List 4 of Nina's favourite things she had to leave behind.

A Single Shard - Linda Sue Park

  1. What kind of man was the farmer who lost some of his rice?
  2. Why did Tree ear not tell Min about Kang's new way of working with clay?
  3. What tradition made Min say he would not teach Tree Ear how to make pottery?



  1. Her father and being a mute
  2. They communicated by sign language so they needed the light to see.
  3. She was able to use sign language when she communicated with Ro (but not very well!).

The Nargun and the Stars

  1. A deep shaded gorge in Victoria
  2. Simon had placed the frog killed by the grader on a tussock of bull grass beside the swamp.
  3. The grader would end up in the swamp after the storm brought on by the frog's killing.

Running wiht the Horses

  1. Star of the show. Danced on the horses' backs 'like a sequined butterfly'
  2. World War 2 was raging across the world and coming closer.
  3. Chess/checkers board, horse books, jewellery box, doll, beads/necklace, 2 teddies/stuffed toys.

A Single Shard

  1. One who lacks patience
  2. He would not steal and idea. (It would have been like stealing.)
  3. Only pottes' sons could become potters.