St. Croix students showcase reading skills in competition

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ST. CROIX - On Tuesday, intermediate students from two public schools showed off their reading comprehension skills in a newly developed reading competition.

The 2014 Battle of the Books competition took place at Juanita Gardine Elementary School and showcased the reading and comprehension skills of 30 students - 15 from Gardine and 15 from Charles H. Emanuel Elementary School - as the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students sparred with their competitors using analytical thinking, retention and reading comprehension skills.

Janice Ferdinand, Gardine elementary's media specialist who helped organize the program, said competition was developed through the use of a $2,500 grant to each school from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.

Some of the money was used to buy books, and each student read grade-appropriate stories. Teams of 10 students from each class competed in grade-level competitions previously conducted at the two schools, and the top 15 grade-level champions from each school then made their way to the Battle of the Books on Tuesday.

"It is awesome to observe students get excited about the stories that they are reading," Ferdinand said. The championship prize for each grade level went to the school whose students recalled the most of the material they've read as shown by answering reading comprehension questions.

Students from other fourth, fifth and sixth grades from the two schools, as well as staff and a few parents, were the spectators at the competition.

At the end of the competition, the winners were Charles Emanuel School's fourth-graders and the fifth- and sixth-graders from Juanita Gardine School.

Ferdinand said the event was a huge success and she was glad to see the students work hard and read carefully to ensure they retain the material. She said she is hoping to expand the event in years to come.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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