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Local team wins reading challenge

C.E. Barry's Random Readers faced off against 11 other teams in the school district
C.E. Barry’s Random Readers won the 2014 Reading Link Challenge last Thursday.

The Random Readers from C.E. Barry won the 2014 Reading Link Challenge during a double tie-breaker at Harrison Elementary School last Thursday.

Donna Kneller’s team, comprised of Rachel Goodman, Josiah Tiessen, Paige Soucker, Guineviere Jaic, Nicola James and Eve Hadd, faced off against 11 other teams in the Fraser-Cascade school district.

“During my school visits over the last few months I have been impressed with the level of commitment on behalf of our students to read and gain an understanding of each of the assigned books,” said school superintendent Dr. Karen Nelson, who was in attendance at the competition.

“The fact that there were five tie-breaking questions in order to determine a first place winner is indicative of the high level of comprehension demonstrated on behalf of our students. The Reading Link Challenge is a wonderful manner in which to instill a love of reading for all students.”

Librarians from the Fraser Valley Regional Library worked with school librarians to generate interest about the Reading Link Challenge among Grade 4 and 5 students.

Students then formed teams of six, with each team responsible for knowing the contents of six books and every player responsible for reading at least one book.

The Reading Link Challenge is derived from the Battle of the Books, a weekly radio show in the late 1930s that used a quiz bowl format to test children’s knowledge of good literature. Questions about characters, plots and settings were answered by teams representing different elementary schools. The Battle of the Books program moved to a library setting in 1993 at Kalamazoo Public Library in Michigan. It was used to encourage Grade 4 and 5 students to have fun with reading. In 1996, a similar project was undertaken at Seattle Public Library.

In 2002, Fraser Valley Regional Library’s Terry Fox Library and Coquitlam Public Library joined the challenge. The entire FVRL system joined in 2004, and Surrey Public Library joined in 2008. As of 2013, 12 library systems from across B.C. are part of the Challenge, spanning from Whistler to the Kootenays.

The goal of the program is to ensure the participation of children with lower reading scores throughout the region, foster teamwork and cooperative thinking, build strong relationships between public libraries and local schools, and share quality children’s literature with participants that represents a diversity of experiences at a variety of reading levels.