A crowd of parents, friends and teachers gathered at Timberline Secondary School on March 10 to cheer a group of young readers on as they competed in the 16th annual Battle of the Books competition.
The Battle of the Books is a competition where students answer Jeopardy-like questions about a list of books they were assigned to read over the school year. Schools hold their own competitions and the winners get to advance to one of three zone semi-finals. The winners of those events advance to the district finals, which were held on Tuesday.
Students started reading from a list of up to eight books — depending on grade level — in November. The event is voluntary, and students work during their lunch hours with a group of friends to learn and memorize details from the books in preparation for the “battle” events.
“At the school level, they did get a little more involved in not just reading the books, but discussing them and doingsome creative projects around the books,” said district librarian Cathy Fowler. “Some of them did little skits and more creative things with the books, rather than just reading them and studying.”
Fowler added that the event helps build a love of reading and a sense of teamwork among the kids.
“It’s a good opportunity for students who are good in academics and it’s a chance for them to be part of a team. Maybe they’re not part of a team outside of school or in sports. It’s a chance to foster that love of reading and being part of a team to help each other out.”
Grades 3-7 took part in the event. Students were in teams of three representing their schools in different competitions based on grade levels. The teams sat in front of the audience, with a list of titles spread out on the tables. They were asked a series of questions by moderator Bruce Izard and given a short time to think about their responses before they lifted the title into the air to be counted. The teams had to answer 30 questions to begin with, with the option for more if there was a tie at the end of a round.
The grade 5 competition in saw stiff competition, with a even match closing out the first 30 questions. An additional five questions were added, but the teams kept their tie going after the sudden death round. Finally, on the 36th question, the team from Ecole des Deux Mondes made up of Helena Watkin, Eloise Smyth and Juno Hendrickson was victorious.
Other winners were the Book Robbers from East Willow Point (grade 3), the Adventures of the Three Friends from Pinecrest (grade 4), and the Mikes from Phoenix (middle school).
The event has been growing in popularity year after year, Fowler said. One school had 66 students involved, and another had 10 teams competing within the same age category. The program is supported by each school’s teacher librarian, and has been growing year after year since its inception.
“Its very popular,” she said. “They’re very enthusiastic and every year it just seems to build momentum.”
Izard, who represented the Rotary Club of Campbell River as moderator of the event, added that it was “really neat to see how important reading is” to the kids.