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Fort Kent team wins Battle of the Books championship

FORT KENT, Maine — A team of Fort Kent Community High School freshman and sophomore students are Aroostook County Battle of the Books champions. 

The students defeated Washburn in the final round to win the high school division of the competition, which Aroostook Regional Gifted and Talented sponsored.

The Aroostook Right to Read selects four young adult novels for middle and high school teams from around the county to read and answer questions about at the Battle of the Books events. 

“Each team determines a strategy for reading the books,” Fort Kent educator and Battle of the Books team coach Don Chouinard said. “Some teams require all members to read every book. Other teams have one or two students focus on one book. We jig-sawed a book – gave each student 50 pages to read.”

The competition was held via Zoom video conference this year. 

“We were definitely confident in our ability to answer the questions correctly, but we knew that Washburn was very good as well as we had gone up against them in years past, so it was definitely a surprise for us,” Fort Kent sophomore Tia Saucier said. 

Saucier competed in the middle school division of the event all three years she attended Valley Rivers Middle School, but was unable to compete last year as Battle of the Books was canceled due to COVID-19. 

Chouinard said his students went into the competition well-prepared.

“I was amazed at how well my students collaborated and drew the details out of each other by asking critical questions and recalling events and characters,” Chouinard said. 

He said the students gain many skills by participating in Battle of the Books.

“I think they read a lot more critically, knowing the success of the team depends on how attentive they are to the details in the books,” Chouinard said. “They also lean on each other for support, learn to communicate with each other, and assume leadership roles within the team depending on which book(s) they focused on.”

Each of the Fort Kent team members won 25 dollars, and the honor of bringing home the championship title. 

“I have a great love of reading and I am very competitive, so this was a way to have a little bit of competition intertwined with my love of reading,” Saucier said. “It has always been such a great, fun experience for me.”

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