Schools compete in annual Classics Reading Competition

The 2016 Classics Reading Competition took place in the Parkinson Building on Wednesday 02 March.

We were delighted to welcome over 80 entrants to this year’s competition, making it the biggest yet. Entrants travelled from schools in Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford and Sheffield, and participated in categories including Junior, Intermediate and Senior Latin, Junior and Senior Greek, and Minimus (Primary Latin Course). The new name given to the competition (formerly the Greek and Latin Reading Competition) reflects the inclusion of a reconfigured ‘in translation’ category. 

The standard of performance was high, as ever. In the Greek and Latin ‘solo’ categories, diction was accurate and clear, with varying degrees of expression. The best entrants added some gestures and looked up from their scripts – some had even committed them to memory – which helped them really to convey the meaning of the passage. Particularly within the Senior Latin category, best entrants had thought about the structure of the text and given consideration as to where to place pauses. For the youngest entrants, this year’s Minimus text was the short play Palla Rubra (Little Red Riding Hood), which was performed with great enthusiasm by each of the five teams. Some delivered it script-in-hand, others had memorised their lines and even adopted costumes, with some particularly good wolves, rabbits and wasps! Entrants in the in translation category gave very different, but all compelling, performances as Dido berating Aeneas for leaving her in order to found Rome, incorporating some Oscar-deserving acting skills.

This long-running event, funded by the University of Leeds and the Classical Association, is a regular fixture in the University’s and schools’ calendars, and is an important element of our work with schools locally and regionally. As well as giving school students the opportunity to read aloud in front of experts in the Classics and receive valuable feedback, it is also a fantastic way for them to visit the University campus and interact with some of our students from the Classics department who are brilliant ambassadors for their subject. 

"At a time in the year when interest can flag a little, it is of huge value to us as teachers to have something a bit different to offer pupils. It can be an eye-opener for them to start to see passages of Latin and Greek as living texts, and taking part in this competition often has a discernible effect on pupils' language skills as well as their motivation." Kate Meakin (Bradford Grammar)

Those interested in bringing students to the competition in future years, or finding out more about the activities run throughout the year for Classics students in schools, should contact Esther Harper in the Faculty’s Educational Engagement team on e.r.harper@leeds.ac.uk