“Competitive reading” aren’t two words you hear together often, but they best describe the 11th annual Operation Read Competition.

In a quiz bowl-like competition, Bellevue Public Schools students answer questions about certain books. It took place Thursday morning at the BPS Lied Activity Center.

The event is put on by BPS administrators and the Parent Teacher Association, and is sponsored by the BPS Foundation. Librarians, teachers and parents helped coach and support the teams. The competition’s coordinated by Terry Osborn, LeMay Elementary librarian and Bellevue West High School librarian Kari Schroder.

Students read Golden Sower Award nominees. Some students read all 10 books, other teams divide up the reading so that each student focuses on a smaller number of books. After reading, students re-read or study the books.

This year, 278 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students participated. Each school can have a maximum of six teams and five members per team.

The competition consists of two initial rounds and a final round with the highest scoring teams.

During the break before finals, Belleaire Elementary sixth-grader Bram Jackson said the competition was “pretty intense.” He was part of last year’s winning team.

“It’s just a lot of pressure because it’s going to be our third time if we win this to get the trophy,” he said.

This year’s overall winner was a change of pace: one of Bellevue Elementary School’s teams, Team Bellevue 6. The team consisted of coach Kate Bischoff and students Caroline Armagost, Sabrina Heckens, Eme Starbuck, Lainey Arko and Madison Eisert.

“It’s great for kids who like to read to have some place to go with their talents,” Osborn said.

Osborn, who started the competition with another librarian, is retiring this year.

“I just hope it keeps on going,” Osborn said.

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