Voracious young readers representing four local school systems put their “gray matter” to the test in Saturday’s fifth annual “Battle of the Books” at the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library.
By the time the proverbial dust had settled, two squads hailing from North Decatur Elementary and Junior High schools came away the victors, though all who participated left with the right to hold their heads high.
Tasked with reading 10 popular books from a variety of genres in a little less than three months, the students’ preparation paid off in the form of trophies for the winners and certificates of participation for all. No one left Saturday’s book “battle” empty-handed, or for that matter, without learning something.
Children’s Librarian Jill Pratt told the Daily News the students worked especially hard for Saturday’s competition, which saw children in fifth through eighth grade square off against one another in an effort to answer the most questions pertaining to the books they’d recently read, both quickly and accurately. Pratt said many students had gathered in makeshift book clubs, talking over the tomes they’d read, while others went a step further and tried to guess what questions judges might pose at the competition and quizzed each other accordingly.
And as diverse as their study habits and preparation techniques may have been, so were the required reading materials.
“We wanted them to go outside of their comfort zone,” said Pratt, who told the Daily News a wide variety of book genres were chosen in order to encourage students to try reading things they may not have chosen otherwise.
Some of the books selected were classics, such as A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, while other, more contemporary books also populated the lists.
The teams and students were divided into two divisions: fifth and sixth, and seventh and eighth grade. The teams faced 60 total questions divided among three rounds, with the difficulty slowly escalating.
Students had to know specific characters from the books, recall minute details of the actions of characters and more in order to prove successful.
The results showed the students had not only read the required materials, but had also made a concerted effort to take in as much detail as possible.
Tops among the fifth and sixth grade competitors were a team of North Decatur Elementary School students led by Amy Hancock. The team of Abbi Eldridge, Abby Guyer, Andrew McCrary, Nick Spurlin, Claire Burford, Gena Mack and Madelyn Bohman each took home individual trophies, while a larger trophy will be placed in their school in remembrance of the event.
The same goes for fellow Chargers Macy Barnes, Ethan Eldridge, Kendall Garno-Foote, Olivia Shake, Emma Spreckelson and Haley Wesseler, eight graders who took top honors in the “senior” competition held Saturday afternoon. They were coached by Amy Borns and won the competition in a tie-breaker over a team of South Decatur seventh graders.
Winning was no easy task, as the 20 questions of each round consisted of 18 multiple choice and two short answer queries that only astute readers would have a hope of correctly answering. Library staff, volunteers and student pages helped keep the contest running smoothly, while throngs of parents looked on proudly.
In all, about 50 area youth gathered to give their best effort Saturday.
Check www.greensburgdailynews.smugmug.com for more photos from the event.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056