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Battle of Books showcases reading skills
Samantha Edwards huddles up with her Haw Creek Elementary third-grade team during the first round of the Battle of the Books on Tuesday afternoon. Maddie Whitlock, Rachel Land and Sydney Brodrick made up the rest of the team. - photo by Micah Green

CUMMING — It was a fight to the finish. But in the end, the Luna Lovegoods from Whitlow Elementary School prevailed in the 2014 Battle of the Books.

In total, 15 teams from Forsyth County’s elementary schools competed in the annual event, which challenges students on reading comprehension skills.

“We’re trying to make it fun to read,” said Tanya Cheeves, Shiloh Point Elementary School teacher who helped organize the battle, which was held Tuesday at Haw Creek Elementary.

The competition started off between Haw Creek and Shiloh Point elementary schools. “Then we started getting more and more people involved,” she said.

Last year’s champions, the Haw Creek Golden Readers, were upset they couldn’t defend their title.

“My team was so excited we won last year,” Laura Kelley said. “We thought it was an amazing experience, and we just really wanted to do it again. It’s not only for the winning, it’s for the fun. You get to read these amazing books.”

Kelley and teammates Katie Jenkins, Jordan Sul and Mina Amirkhani spent countless nights reading and having sleepover study events at Sul’s house.

Jenkins admitted part of the appeal was the competitive aspect.

“I’m very competitive,” she said. “But I think it’s really about the bent spines, the late nights up, the worrying about secret weapons — we have chocolate muffins.”

The competition was divided into a third-grade portion and a fourth- and fifth-grade segment. The younger students had 20 books to read, while the older group had 30.

Donning team colors and flashy accessories, the 15 teams fielded questions on characters, setting, plot lines and authors of books.

Multiple rounds of action unfolded until the Luna Lovegoods — students Camryn Aguilar, Bevin Hunter, Allison Oldani and Sophie Grace Price — eventually emerged victorious at the fourth- and fifth-grade level.

Third-grade champions were the Brookwood Bookworms from Brookwood Elementary. Team members were Pranav Batchu, Madhav Gultari, Sahil Sood and Ava Schweitzer.

Big Creek Elementary media specialist Kris Cable, who was serving as one of the many volunteer judges Tuesday, said her school just joined the event this year.

She worked to prepare her students for all 30 books and helped run the school’s competition to determine which team would qualify for the systemwide event.

“It’s just a great fun reading competition,” she said. “It’s just so great to support reading in any way possible.”