Students Compete in Book Contest

By Adam Bright/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Riley Phelps, Lucas Horsman, Mackenzie Willett, Lauren Silcox, and Lilly Ward, all 9, pose after they won third place at the Battle of the Books competition.

Emily Dickinson once said, “There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.” Battle of the Books is team competition to get students into reading. The annual Battle of the Books competition is coming up on April 17 and the team is ready.

Battle of the Books is a team competition where students read a list of books and answer questions about those books. Mackenzie Willett, 9, said, “Battle of the Books is a voluntary reading competition for grades 3-12; our library only hosts the contest for grades 8-9. The reason for Battle of the Books is to get kids to read and enjoy the books. After they read the books, they are quizzed on it; and if your team wins you get a prize. The prize for winning is a gift card and a free book.”

There are variety of books in the ten book list. Willett said, “What I like about Battle of the Books is the variety of books that are given. All of the books are from a different categories and selected for a reason, because of this you know that none of the books are going to be awful. It is so hard to pick out a good book that you  know will be interesting, but with Battle of the Books all the books are unique and interesting. As I said the books are chosen for a reason.”

Battle of the Books is very great way to get students to work to together in a group and read stories they would otherwise not read. Kelly Swain-Leswing, the Battle of the Books sponsor, said “My main objective for Battle of the Books participants is to read for enjoyment. Students are so busy with schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and jobs that there is little time left for them to just sit and relax with a good book. I hope the lure of competition is an incentive for kids to set aside time to read.”

Being a five person team can cause issues for the team, though. Riley Phelps, 9, said “We have to make sure all the books have been read at least twice and within the past two months to make sure people remember it. It’s a bit challenging with only five people but I think we’re up to the challenge!”

Swain-Leswing said, “The main preparation is a lot of reading. Participants have been reading the selected books for several months and are now cramming in as much reading before the competition as they can. We do meet every Blue Friday morning during second semester to touch base as a group to see who has read which books and where our weaknesses as a team might be. However, 99% of preparing for this competition is just reading and trying to remember as many details about the books as possible. The questions posed at the competition are usually extremely detailed.”

The Battle of the Books team is very excited for their competition and are doing as much as they can to prepare. Swain-Leswing said, “My favorite part of the program is watching groups of students come together to discuss literature. There are many opportunities for kids with athletic ability to compete and show off their skills, but those who are strong academically don’t often get that opportunity. Battle of the Books allows kids to show off their academic strengths in a collaborative and fun environment.”