FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 11/7/2002
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Dr. Lorie Bruns, coordinator, instructional media/technology, 817-283-4461
|Intensive training, qualifying tests, laying out strategies, staying ahead of the competition – it’s not a sport, it’s not a college entrance exam, it’s the District’s 14th Annual Battle of the Books, where 19 elementary schools will see whose team knows the most about eight pre-selected books. The annual competition, which is designed like a quiz show, takes place at 9:30am, November 13, at the Pat May Center, 1849 Central Drive in Bedford.
The annual competition is for fifth-grade students and tests their knowledge of eight Bluebonnet Books, which have been approved by the Texas Library Association.
Dr. Lorie Bruns, coordinator, instructional media/technology for HEB ISD, said the annual competition is extremely popular.
“Battle of the Books provides reading enrichment, healthy competition, an opportunity to work on a team, and it exposes children to great literature,” Bruns said.
The competition is in a quiz-show format, with each of the 19 teams assigned to a table. Each team has place cards with the name of each of the eight Bluebonnet Books. A moderator reads a question, and the answer to each question is always the title of a book. After each question is read, the teams have 20 seconds to reach a consensus about their answer and place a marker on the title of the book that they believe answers the question. The moderator reveals the answer, and a librarian seated with each team scores an answer sheet. Librarians do not sit with their own school teams. They are assigned to another school, “to keep everything in check,” Bruns said.
The teams go through one round of 25 questions, take a 15-minute break, and then go back for another 25 questions. After tallying by judges provided by the Hurst, Euless and Bedford public libraries, the first, second and third place winners are announced. Every student receives a participation medal, but it’s every school’s goal to win Battle of the Books.
Stonegate Elementary School is the reigning champion and has held the title for several years in a row. For anyone else to win would be an upset, Bruns said. New to the mix is River Trails Elementary School, which opened in August.
Bruns said the District librarians select the eight books in the spring, and by April, a full seven months before Battle of the Books, students can begin familiarizing themselves with the literature. Schools have a one-week window in October to administer a qualifying test to fifth grade students interested in trying out for the team, and the five highest-scoring students get to battle it out in November.
Bruns said sometimes, entire families work on Battle of the Books, which strengthens reading for everyone involved.
“There are families where everyone reads all eight books to help their fifth-grader prepare for this competition,” Bruns said. “They really get into it, and they attend the Battle of the Books competition. We have an audience seating area, and sometimes you can see parents keeping score along with the teams.”
District campus librarians submit hundreds of questions for the competition, but Bruns selects the 50 that will be used November 13, and she is the only one who knows what the questions are.
“It’s intense, and it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun,” Bruns said. “Any time you can get a child and their family interested in reading, it’s worthwhile. That’s why we’ve been doing this 14 years.”
Battle of the Books Titles for November 2002
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
From the Mixed-up Files of by E. L. Konigsburg
Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Ghost of Fossil Glen by Cynthia C. DeFelice
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine by Diane Stanley
School Story by Andrew Clements
Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill