“It’s a pre-selected group of books ... and as the children read the books through the first months of the school year they select [three- to four-member] teams and then they compete with each other by being quizzed with a group of questions on those books,” Media Specialist and Battle of the Books coach Wendy Decoste said.
After individual schools hold their own competitions amongst fifth-graders, the winning team, which will consist of three members and an alternate, will go on to the Championship Battle. Student teams work together to answer the questions, which range from quotes from the books to names of characters.
“It’s pretty intense. All of us were just down to the wire and this year it was down to so many [teams] trying to break a tie ... and when we got to the final round with Mission Road and Cloverleaf [Elementary School], it was down to the very last question,” Decoste said. “The kids worked so hard.”
She said this year the competition drew more boys than last year and the annual event helps encourage students in earlier grade levels to continue to read.
“We really just try to get them excited [about reading] and make it a lot of fun for them,” Decoste said. “... It’s so much work for the students, and these are pretty difficult chapter books, and some of the [students] who aren’t avid readers, the other students help push them ... and keep them motivated.
“By the time they’re in fifth grade and you’ve been trying everything you can to teach them to be independent readers, by that age they are on the fence and I think [Battle of the Books] is a great program to have for students at that age to really keep them motivated and have something to work towards, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Students Ana Novofirst, Caroline Gore, Stanton Bedwell and Dillon Carver made up the MRES All-Star Readers.
“What we did was we read most of the books and we would reread them and try to memorize them and knew the key points of the books,” Carver said, explaining a key point of a book would be something that changes the story.
Bedwell said it was difficult to differentiate between all the books with some having similar plots or characters.
“Some of the books were very similar. Three of the books had fairies or dragons and so we had to memorize the color of the dragon or the name of it or what happened to it,” Bedwell said.
Novofirst said she was proud to bring the championship title back to MRES.
“It’s just nice to actually win something not for us, but for the school that the whole school appreciates,” Novofirst said.