Five Dempsey Middle School eighth-graders read 18 books in six months as part of this year's Battle of the Books.
The fifth regional Battle of the Books competition took place Wednesday, March 19, at Westerville North High School.
Twelve central Ohio middle schools were represented at the competition. Each school sent a team of five students.
Each 20-question round pitted three teams against each other, answering questions about the books they had read. A lighting round of 10 questions allowed all 12 teams to compete at the same time.
Each question began with, "In which book ... " with the correct answer being one of the 18 books students were required to read.
Kate Loker, Dempsey library media center coordinator, worked with team members to prepare them for the competition. The Dempsey team placed sixth.
Loker said the goals of the event are to encourage recreational reading among students, broaden students' reading interests and promote teamwork.
"I had a parent tell me after the competition that her daughter loved all the books and it exposed her to books that she wouldn't have picked up otherwise," Loker said.
The questions asked about the books also encourage reading comprehension, because students have to remember specific details about what they read, she said.
The required reading included Ashes by IIsa Bick, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, and Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.
Loker said she invited all her students to join the team, but they had to meet specific requirements to participate: They had to read all the books, attend all the meetings and demonstrate a willingness to work with their classmates.
The students received the required-reading sheet in October and had to read all the books by March. They gathered every other week to practice using the buzzer system and quiz each other on what they had read.
"The students were very enthusiastic and positive," Loker said. "The students that participated are really the students who enjoy reading and wanted to read more than just what is required for school."