From left: Reid Wishlow, 10, Aria Holland, 9, Aarnav Arora, 11, Michaela Hendrickson, 9, and Aubrey Silva, 9, formed team L’ttle Einsteins that won the Reading Link Challenge, Grand Challenge. (Special to The News)

From left: Reid Wishlow, 10, Aria Holland, 9, Aarnav Arora, 11, Michaela Hendrickson, 9, and Aubrey Silva, 9, formed team L’ttle Einsteins that won the Reading Link Challenge, Grand Challenge. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge students win final reading challenge in regional library competition

Beat out teams from Coquitlam, North Vancouver, New Westminster, and Surrey

A team of avid readers at Albion Elementary School are champions in a Lower Mainland library contest that put their memory skills to the test.

Aria Holland, 9, Michaela Hendrickson, 9, Reid Wishlow, 10, Aarnav Arora, 11, and Aubrey Silva, 9, formed team L’ttle Einsteins that took the final Grand Challenge of the Reading Link Challenge put on by regional libraries across the Lower Mainland.

The students had to read six books for the contest including: Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami, The Case of the Missing Auntie by Michael Hutchinson, Inkling by Kenneth Oppel, The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris, The Unteachables by Gordon Korman, and A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry.

Then they had to memorize the details of each book for a trivia-style competition. Each team member chose a title to be an expert in.

First there was a School Challenge where teams from the same school competed against each other. Then there was a Library Challenge where teams from schools across the district faced off against one another at a Fraser Valley Regional Library location.

After winning the district competition the Albion students then went up against 19 teams from across the Fraser Valley Regional Library area on April 27 in the Community Challenge, where they took second place. However, they were still allowed to compete in the final Grand Challenge against winning teams not only from Fraser Valley Regional Library area, but also Coquitlam, North Vancouver, New Westminster, and Surrey library systems.

That challenge took place on Wednesday, May 4, and L’ttle Einsteins claimed top spot after a nail-biter tie-breaker, said teacher librarian Jennifer Hughes, who worked with the teams at the school since the end of December.

All challenges this year were done online.

Participants read their first book just before Christmas break, explained Hughes, who then formed three teams of five at the end of January, who had to come up with team names and posters for their team.

“What I do is after they’ve read a couple books, I give them projects and assignments to make it really fun for the kids,” said Hughes.

The students will create things like posters and game boards to help them get to know the books better.

“We’ve had tons of bizarre and fun awesome projects over the years,” said Hughes.

But they also do small comprehension worksheets for Hughes, which, she said, may not be as fun, but assesses their knowledge of the books.

This team, noted Hughes, just loves trivia.

The most challenging thing about this competition is knowing the little details of each book, said Hughes.

And the details that these student manage to remember, simply amazes her.

“It’s quite incredible,” she said. “They go beyond the basic plot event to the tinier details.”

“They like that part of working as a group to see how much they can learn and how much they can achieve as a group. It’s really neat,” she elaborated.

The challenge is only open to Grade 4/5 students.

Hughes was impressed with the quality of books chosen this year.

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Books are chosen by a panel of library staff from Fraser Valley Regional Library and partnering libraries, who try to select books that will appeal to a wide audience. According to the library’s website the panel tries to include books with multicultural content that celebrate diversity, that have received positive reviews in library journals, that appeal to both boys and girls, that vary in reading level, that are available in paperback, written by B.C. and Canadian authors.

Albion elementary has had a team win the Grand Challenge – The Bouncy Bookworms in 2015.

Hughes just wants her students to discover a passion for reading. Her own daughters participated in the competition when they attended Albion.

“They are now 20 and 18 and know how exciting being part of Reading Link is,” said Hughes.

“It is one of their favourite memories from Albion and I hope that these five dedicated and enthusiastic readers will feel the same when they look back on their first Reading Link experience. They have put in an incredible amount of work and dedication and have been an absolute delight to teach and coach.”

The Reading Link Challenge takes place every year.

For more information on how to participate go to

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