Schools take part in Battle of the Books

Prospect Primary School’s Mighty Meerkats and John Gray High School’s Jeopardizing Jaguars teams are this year’s champions in the Lera Parchment Battle of the Books.  

Twenty-two teams from eight schools island-wide entered the competition, which was hosted by the Cayman Islands Information Professionals and LIFE (Literacy is for Everyone), on Saturday at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School’s multipurpose hall. 

The children were given 20 books to read over the last five months. During the competition, judges quizzed them on their knowledge of what they had read. 

John Gray won the High School category of the competition. Wendy Cumberbatch, literacy coordinator at John Gray, said it was the first time that a public high school had participated in the Battle of the Books.  

“There are so many other activities that vie for the attention of teens today that they can become too busy to enjoy a good book,” she said. 

She added that the students had found the competition a lot of fun and an exhilarating experience.  

According to Ms. Cumberbatch, win or lose, the event had many positive outcomes for the students. “This is what I saw emerging over the several months of preparation: leadership qualities, team spirit, cooperative learning, a sense of responsibility, creativity, and a renewed enthusiasm for reading, and learning for some. We are getting closer to the realization of one of our literacy goals, to build a JGHS community of readers,” she said.  

Prospect Primary was the winner of the primary school category, making Giselle Elias, Prospect Primary’s literacy coach very proud. The team of seven students, led by captain Resan Foster, impressed the judges with their in-depth knowledge of the books they had read.  

The young readers are also members of the Prospect Primary Book Club, part of Year 5’s weekly guided reading program. In the club, students work with team members to enhance their critical thinking skills by analyzing and reporting on different genres of books. 

The competition is named for the late Rachel Lera Parchment, an avid reader and advocate of education. During her lifetime, she shared and donated her books to other readers and the small library of books she left has been donated to the Cayman Islands Public Library.