Rancho students & Teachers celebrate thier championship at the Battle of the Books Reading Competition

Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary School students proved their literary expertise against three neighboring schools by winning first place at the Battle of the Books in front of nearly 200 howling and cheering attendees, as students were tested on the exploits of fictional characters like Wilbur the Pig, Charlie Bucket and Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

The May 26 event was held at the Santa Fe Springs Activity Center, where Rancho students matched their literary wits against Jersey Avenue, Cresson and Lakeview elementary school teams from the Little Lake City School District.

Each school brought two teams of six students in fourth and fifth grades to answer trivia from 30 popular children’s books, including “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” by Roald Dahl, “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, and “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau. One of Rancho’s teams – called The Name of this Team is Secret – beat Jersey Avenue Elementary in the final round to become this year’s champion.  “It feels great to be on the winning team,” said Miguel Rivas, fifth-grader and one of Rancho’s team captains. "It was hard work to read and memorize all those books, but this win shows that hard work has its benefits.” Rancho Santa Gertrudes Principal Octavio Perez said he was thrilled to see how much his students enjoyed this year’s selection of books and how prepared they were for every possible trivia question.  “All of the students who participated in the Battle of the Books are winners because of all the hard work they put in on top of their regular classroom activities,” Perez said. “What matters most is what happens after the contest when these students continue their academic excellence and accomplishments into middle school and high school.”

The event, which has been a city tradition for 11 years, was organized by Santa Fe Springs City Library Director Joyce Ryan and Literary Librarian Ryan Pena. Ryan and Pena, with help from library staff, created nearly 400 questions for the event.  Each school was given two copies of the selected books from the Santa Fe Springs City Library at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year to allow ample study time.  “So many children just do not read enough and we feel that this event is a terrific opportunity to establish a joy of reading,” Ryan said. “We hope that this competition makes reading fun and accessible for everyone involved.” All teams were given participation medals.  Rancho students received individual trophies for their first-place win. The Battle of the Books trophy will be on display at Rancho Santa Gertrudes until next year’s event. “Congratulations to our Rancho Santa Gertrudes students for winning this year’s Battle of the Books,” Los Nietos School District Superintendent Jonathan Vasquez said. “Promoting literacy for our young students is a major responsibility for our District and this trivia competition is an engaging way to get students interested in reading while encouraging academic excellence.”