SPARTA, NJ –  A Sparta Middle School team of sixth grade students took first place in this year’s Battle of the Books.   Two teams of six student competed in the Sussex County program that was held in the Franklin School in The Borough of Franklin at the beginning of June.

The program, sponsored by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, runs annually for third to eight grade students.  Sparta has battled in the past “It has been several years since they participated,” according to Erin Marmara the Media Specialist at Sparta Middle School.

Schools throughout the county and the state “can elect to participate if they have a school librarian or teacher who is interested in starting a school program,” Marmara said.  The New Jersey Association of School Librarians select 15 books.  The teams are responsible for reading them.

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The competition is a trivia contest at which the students prove their knowledge of the books.  The Sparta Middle School students began meeting in February and formed their teams.  The team members divided the books among themselves.  They then read independently, meeting weekly to practice answering trivia questions. 

Sparta Middle School competed against other sixth grade teams from Franklin, Stanhope and Lafayette.

“This is my fourth time working on Battle of the Books and it is one of my favorite things to do with the students,” Marmara said. “I’ve found that the program is successful in fostering students’ love of reading  and helps them to build organization and collaborative skills.  Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”