St. Mary of the Lakes School wins first place at Battle of the Books

The seventh and eighth-graders won the competition at the Burlington County Battle of the Books.

First place team members from the Battle of the Books competition.

On Wednesday April 11, students representing 14 middle schools across Burlington County participated in an academic competition focusing on literary works geared toward their age group. Olsen Middle School in Tabernacle hosted the event. St. Mary of the Lakes School in Medford came away as the champion for the second year in a row. Northern Burlington came in second and Harrington Middle School rounded out the top three.

The Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program for students in third through twelth grade. Students read books and come together, usually in groups, to demonstrate their abilities and to test their knowledge of the books they have read. There are two levels of county competition: one for fifth and sixth-graders, and another for seventh and eighth-graders. School and county battles are held in the spring. Teams earn points by correctly answering questions from a selection of 15 books chosen each year by the librarians of participating schools.

For St. Mary of the Lakes, the competition is a highlight of the year for many students. Students begin in-school “battles” starting in third grade even though county battles do not begin until fifth grade. The students are given the book list for the following year’s competition in June. Over the summer students who would like to be on the team are required to read three books and write 10 questions for each one. Teams are selected and meet to discuss the books and strategize for the competitions. Sometimes they even meet on their own and have “parties” where they practice for the competition. Jolynn Green, a beloved retired Language Arts teacher from SMLS, has returned to guide the students through the process.

The fifth and sixth grade competition will be held on Wednesday, May 30 at the Doane Academy in Burlington.