On May 30, the team of Katie Haber, Ian Johnson and Merrick Graham, all fifth-graders at Curtis Fundamental Elementary School in Dunedin, competed as "Mr. Blacklin's Ravenous Readers" at the district level of the Battle of the Books.
For the second year in a row, the trio bested five other teams in their division to win first place.
The program is a "quiz bowl" game in which teams are asked questions about the plots, settings and characters of the 15 Sunshine State Young Readers Award titles and the Florida Teens Read titles, and must identify the book title and author.
Initially, the program is introduced to teachers in grades 3-12 by each school's library information/technology specialist. At Curtis Fundamental, media specialist Jan Hager was in charge of testing, practices and competition.
Participating students then are given several months to read the 15 titles and quiz each other on what they have read. Qualifying tests are given during the months of March and April. School and then regional competitions determine which schools will be represented at the district battle in May.
The first-place team takes possession of a traveling trophy to house at its school until the next year's battle.
At the high school level, "MAM," the team of Ashley Gangelhoff, Monika Kress and Morgan Moody of Countryside High, took first place.
Fitzgerald Middle students Jay Shah, Dayita Wable and Prasnav Naik, members of "Fitzgerald's Fantastic Fhantoms," earned top honors at the middle school level.
Ten-year-old Katie Haber, the Curtis Fundamental team's captain, is the daughter of Mike and Jen Haber of Dunedin; Merrick Graham, 11, is the daughter of Tad and Melissa Graham of Palm Harbor; and Ian Johnson, 11, is the son of David and Tracy Johnson of Oldsmar.
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