Eastern Wayne Elementary students successfully put their reading skills to the test by winning the Wayne County Public Schools annual Elementary Battle of the Books competition this week.

Approximately 115 students from 14 schools competed in the quiz bowl-style competition that encourages reading. Contestants, who are in grades 4-5, must read 18 books chosen by a statewide committee, and the competition tests students' comprehension of the books.

The Eastern Wayne team will travel to Kinston later this month to represent WCPS at the Regional 2 competition. They will compete against other elementary school teams that won their district competitions.

Eastern Wayne team members include Jordan Barrett, Adrian Bartlow, Ryan Holt, Leia Jewell, Sydney Robinson and Steven Zhang. The team was coached by Christie Davis and Sarah Robinson.

The Battle of the Books program is coordinated by the Media Center program at participating schools. Organizers call the Battle of the Books competition a great way to motivate students to read and be exposed to quality literature.

"All students did a great job representing their schools," said Dr. David Lewis, Assistant Superintendent for Accountability/IT Services. "We appreciate the hard work of the students and coaches, and we are grateful for the volunteers who came out to support the event. We were especially happy to see so many family members come out to support their kids."

Northeast Elementary took second place at the competition. The team consists of Brenna Bass, Tara Anne Burnham, Bevanie Cleark, Natalie Davis, Ashleigh Gardner, Connor Johnson, Chandler LeGrand and Pedro Munoz-Benitez. Coaches were Stacy Hersey and Tracy Toler.

Other schools participating in this event included Brogden Middle, Carver Elementary, Carver Heights Elementary, Fremont STARS Elementary, Grantham Middle, Meadow Lane Elementary, Mount Olive Middle, Northwest Elementary, Rosewood Elementary, Spring Creek Elementary, Spring Creek Middle, and Tommy's Road Elementary.