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Middle school students celebrate reading with Battle of the Books competition
Humble ISD middle school librarians bring Battle of the Books, a national voluntary reading incentive program, to the district. Battle of the Books encourages students in grades 3-12 to read books and have fun while competing with peers. Students from Atascocita, Creekwood, Humble, and Riverwood middle schools created teams to compete at the Battle of the Books Final Competition, held at 10 a.m. on April 6, at Atascocita Middle School, 18810 West Lake Houston Parkway.
Preparation for the competition began Summer of 2018 when librarians Alisa Cancino (Creekwood Middle School), Brooke King (Atascocita Middle School) and Lesley Nickelson (Riverwood Middle School) joined forces to create an event that their students would enjoy.
The librarians worked with the Teen Librarians from the Atascocita and Kingwood branches of the Harris County Public Library. Darla Pruitt and Lauren Richards helped the planning committee by creating the book list, selecting competition questions, and assisting in judging the competition.
The students participating began preparing for the final competition in October. The teams were required to read 15 specific books. Once teams received the book list they could divide the books amongst their teammates and conquer the reading. Students read their books and met to discuss the books before school, during lunch, and even after school some days.
During the competition, teams will participate in a Family Feud-like challenge, where teams can earn points by answering questions about the books they have read. The students will compete in several rounds against different teams. The two teams with the highest points will compete in the final Book Battle. Other than encouraging literacy the competition also gives students the chance to experience the spirit of competition, teamwork, and to meet new friends.
"It has been exciting to see our middle school students so thrilled about reading and books," King said. "They are excited to compete against other schools. I hope this spirit of friendly competition and love of reading spreads to more students next year."
The team that wins the final round will receive a trophy that will stay at their campus until the 2020 Battle of the Books. Students will also have a chance to win awards for best team spirit, best team name, best dressed and runner up.
“I hope this contest shows that reading is still alive in middle school," Nickelson said. “Students still appreciate books and want to read.”
The event has received generous support from the following vendors: Follet School Solutions; Riverwood Middle School parents; Material Wonders; Custom Built Awards; Scholastic Books; Debra Sewell, Atascocita High School Librarian; Harris County Public Library; PermaBound; Overdrive; and Children's Plus Inc.
The leaders are hopeful that all middle schools will participate next year and that the event will continue to grow.