In an effort to foster a love for reading at primary school level, Rylands Library hosted its annual three-day Battle of The Books event from Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 September. Hosted at the Rylands civic centre, the event saw more than five primary schools in and around Rylands taking part. This included Grade 5, 6 and 7 learners from Portavue Primary School, Darul Islam Primary School and Turfhall Primary School. In 2008, the first year it was held, only one school participated. The increase in participants has given the organisers, and all staff members at the library, a boost of confidence.One of the organisers, Farieda Leila Rabe said their main drive with the Battle of the Books is to get more children to enjoy reading. “We are doing this to encourage the kids to read and to instil a culture of reading,” she explained. She thanked her colleagues who helped organise the event, saying it was a collaborative effort. With Battle of the Books, the participating learners are divided into groups. They were all given five books to read before the time is up. At the event, the master of ceremonies asked them questions about the content of the books.The winning group won prizes as well as the coveted title of Battle of the Books Champions. Rabe said it’s important to mention the event is not about prizes and winning, but about learning. She said the books given to the learners were sourced from other libraries and were age appropriate. This year Afrikaans books were added to the list; something that was never done before. She explained this was an attempt to stimulate the learners’ interest in reading Afrikaans. Hafeezah Hashim, Portavue Primary School’s English and social sciences Grade 6 teacher, said the Battle of the Books event is so popular among their learners – they have been taking part for the past three years.“Our learners are excited to come here, they are eager to read. Besides, this (event) adds value to education and expands their reading ability and knowledge,” she said.She gave the event a thumbs up, adding many learners struggle to read. Initiatives such as Battle of the Books helps improve their reading skills.“We came here to show that we are a good school that appreciates and participates in community events that assist our learners,” she said.One of the learners who participated for the first time was Oyama-Kum Lusaseni, a Grade 6 learner from Turfhall Primary School.He said he reads a lot of books and his favourite subject at school is English.“I read a lot and so I am very confident that my group will win because our reading skills are good,” he said. The winning teams were: . Grade 5: Rylands Primary School; . Grade 6: Darul Islam Primary School; and . Grade 7: Darul Islam Primary School.