4th annual Battle of the Books National Competition Winners Gallaudet University Youth Programs is pleased to announce that Rhode Island School for the Deaf, California School for the Deaf, Fremont, and Phoenix Day School for the Deaf have won the 4th annual Battle of the Books National Competition held on Gallaudet's campus April 2 to 5, 2016. Gallaudet's Battle of the Books was established in 2012 with the goal of promoting literacy among deaf and hard of hearing middle school students. The competition also spreads the spirit of academic competition and good sportsmanship and encourages critical thinking skills. The competition has three divisions, according to literacy levels, and includes multiple choice and short answer questions from the books as well as a presentation-style question and answer portion. Rhode Island School for the Deaf won the Green division, California School for the Deaf, Fremont won the Blue division, and Phoenix Day School for the Deaf won the Buff division. "Friendly competitions like Battle of the Books offer middle school students the opportunity to grow their literacy and analysis skills, while they learn team work and socialize with other deaf students from all over the country," said Jesse Saunders, Director of Youth Programs at Gallaudet. "Each team did a fantastic job and everyone should be proud of themselves for the months of commitment they demonstrated preparing for the competition." Sixteen teams from across the country advanced to the nationals, from the 82 teams that competed in the preliminary and playoff rounds held in December 2015 and January 2016. Gallaudet President Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano created a special video message for the teams that made it to the national competition. "You have all worked hard to get here and should be proud of yourselves and your teammates. I am proud of you all," said Cordano. The winning members of the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf Buff team are Xavier Herbold (Buff Division All-Star), Zander Herbold (Most Outstanding Player for Buff Division), and Natasha Richards-Hamilton. The winning members of the California School for the Deaf Blue team are Anastasia Mena Vergara, Tiffany Kutsov (Blue Division All-Star), and Nancy Lopez-Rivera (Blue Division Most Outstanding Player). The winning members of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf Green team are Cole Evaristo (Green Division Most Outstanding Player), Jayden Elias, and Ellie Lister (Green Division All-Star).