Pink Team: Fifth grade BOTB team: Top row: Amy Benson (coach), Avery Kuna, Landyn Pettis, Rosie Benson, Julia Mangan, Emerson McDonald and Melissa DiLullo (coach). Bottom Row: Rachel Christensen, Lena Opala and Ellie Sloan.
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Chelsey Nielson
In which book? was the question asked by librarians to Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) Battle of the Books (BOTB) participants during one of many book battles. This year, TTE participated in BOTB through Douglas County Libraries as an after school club for third through fifth grade students. TTE introduced the kids to books that they may not have chosen on their own, while providing them with a fun team bonding experience.
BOTB is a national voluntary reading incentive program for students in which students are challenged to read as many books as they can during the school year. Books read are selected from a book list for each participating grade. Kids compete together to demonstrate their abilities and test their knowledge of the books read. BOTB supports students in their love for reading and demonstrates healthy competition and mutual respect while having fun with their peers.
TTE’s new club was a success with 22 participants in the book club and 20 students who actively participated in the book battles. Third and fourth grade coach Chelsey Nielson, along with fifth grade coaches Amy Benson and Melissa DiLullo, met with their teams every Friday. The kids read 10 books over a three month period of time and discussed one book per week. The kids were required to read the book and bring questions to quiz their teammates during practice book battles. Each club member chose three books that they became the book expert of. Points were earned for books read, completed, weekly book meeting attendance and prepared battle questions for their teammates. Kids with the most points got their first choice of expert books. The books included many different topics and styles of writing. One book was completely written in verse.
Teal Team: Third and fourth grade BOTB team: Top row: Chelsey Nielson (coach), Thomas Shank, Weston Nielson, Kircher Bracksieck, Nikki Sloan, Elisabeth Black and Cooper Quam. Bottom Row: Aurora Hussey, Arianna Griffin, Kyra Bruce, Lillian Bracksieck, Brooke Berry and Lia Reitsem.
Favorite book titles included “Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, “Soar” by Joan Bauer and “The War that Saved My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Third grader Ari Griffin said, “Battle of the books pushed me to read books that I normally wouldn’t choose. The books I read were more challenging than any of the books I have ever read.” Nielson remarked that she was surprised the kids liked most of the books and they all had a different favorite book.
TTE competed against Wildcat Mountain, Buffalo Ridge, Redstone and Acres Green. Each battle consisted of 20 questions and two teams. Questions asked were phrased, “In which book ...” allowing all 10 books to be represented in each battle. Battle contestants had to correctly answer with the title and author of the book. Questions answered correctly earned a team five points. If the opposing team missed the question they had a chance to steal three points. Teams that answered the most correctly won the book battles.
BOTB came to end at the quarterfinals. It was a fun experience for both the coaches and kids. Although the teams were sad to see the program end for the year, they anxiously await its return next year.