Students put reading to the test in annual Battle of the Books competition
For some preteens, reading 27 books might sound like a bad homework assignment, but for a handful of Weddington Middle School students, it’s a chance to engage in some serious competition.
Led by school librarian Diane Minsker, Weddington Middle School held its annual Battle of the Books competition Tuesday, Feb. 21. Three groups of seven students represented the sixth, seventh and eighth grades in a friendly showdown that tested their knowledge on 27 different books they read this year.
Erin O’Brien, an eighth grader who participated in the past two competitions, was excited to be involved again this year.
“It’s a really good experience,” she said. “I have a lot of friends I wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t done (this competition).”
To select the 21 students who compete in the competition, Minsker administered a test to 94 different students, taking the top seven scores from each grade. At the competition, Minsker read quotes from the different required readings. Each group had 20 seconds to figure out which book the quote was taken from and state the title and the author’s full name.
The state supplies a list of different books each year that are required reading for the Battle of the Books competition. The students are responsible for reading the books and knowing the full titles and authors’ names.
“There are a variety of books on the list,” eighth grader Jeremy Cummings said. “I read a lot of things I wouldn’t usually read. It really broadens your view of understanding.”
For Minsker, the most important thing about Battle of the Books is fostering a love of reading within each student. In addition to the competition, Minsker also hosts “creative characters” in February (where students dress up as a character from one of the books), “question of the day” in December (where students can earn prizes for correctly answering book trivia questions), and poster contests in November.
“We want kids to read for pleasure,” Minsker said. “There’s something for everybody love. It’s about just finding that certain book that has meaning.”