Reading wins

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A team from a Chesapeake school may have earned a trophy at Battle of the Books on Saturday, but all of the fifth-graders from three area localities who participated in the contest were winners.

This was the second annual competition for the regional partnership. This was the first year that Portsmouth Public Schools participated, after Suffolk and Chesapeake public schools did it last year.

Students read 10 books, ranging from non-fiction to science fiction and even a graphic novel. They were then quizzed on the books, with preliminary competitions last month narrowing the field to the top six teams to compete Saturday.

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In the end, Butts Road Intermediate took first place over the other five, which included Driver and Oakland elementary schools from Suffolk. But all of the young competitors have something to feel good about.

A regular reader of this space will know that reading is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts. It’s impossible to overstate how important reading and, at younger ages, being read to, is for children. Children who are read to regularly, and later read frequently themselves, will — unsurprisingly — develop stronger reading skills. But they also develop better math skills, too, have larger vocabularies and are less likely eventually to drop out of school.

We suspect that the students who participated in Battle of the Books are among the strongest readers in their schools and will keep reading well beyond this challenge.

But for those who aren’t as strong readers, it’s never too late to help them catch up. If you have a child in your life — be they child, grandchild, niece or nephew, neighbor, mentee or other relationship — be sure to ask them what they’re reading and encourage them to develop a love of reading.