QUEENSBURY — More than 500 students gathered Monday morning at SUNY Adirondack’s Scoville Learning Center to put their knowledge to the test in this year’s “Battle of the Books.”

School Library Services Coordinator J’aimé Pfeiffer said students from the third through sixth grades are eligible to compete and each year five fiction and five nonfiction books are assigned to each grade level.

The competition gets students excited to read, a rare feat for many kids in elementary school, she said.

“The kids are here because of books,” Pfeiffer said. “They’re enthusiastic and they’re excited, and it shows.”

Students compete in rounds of 14 questions and receive points for each time they correctly identify which book the moderator asks a question about. Ties go to a sudden death lightning round, and teams that make the finals receive trophies and banners to take back to their schools.

Each school can have one team per grade level, and each team can have up to 10 students. Only five students can answer questions at a time, so many teams make substitutions to allow everyone to participate.

Pfeiffer said the battle has grown considerably in its eight years. The first edition started with about 75 students, and now it has 530 students from 67 different schools within the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES.

Johnsburg Central School District Superintendent Michael Markwica said students at his school work all year to prepare for the competition and many skip recess to make sure they finish all 10 books.

“The bottom line is this gets kids reading, and reading is the cornerstone for all academics,” Markwica said.

The district is competing for the fifth time this year, with one team for every grade level. The third-grade team made this year’s final, finishing as the runner-up to Argyle in the first final of the day.

St. Mary’s-St. Alphonsus teams took first place in grades four, five and six, with Kensington Road Elementary taking runners-up in fourth grade, Schuylerville Elementary finishing second in fifth grade and Glens Falls Middle School coming in second for sixth grade.

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Samuel Northrop is the education reporter for The Post-Star. He can be reached at snorthrop@poststar.com.


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