Episcopal’s annual Battle of the Books competition has expanded. This year the winning Middle School team had the opportunity to compete against students from Central Middle School and Denham Springs Junior High School in a regional event. After three exciting rounds of competition, the Knights won! Congratulations to Team Weaver, comprised of Carter McLean, Suzie Heneghan, Akshay Basireddy, Katherine Fivgas, Michael Wang, Shreya Kamath, Claire Kiesel, Tori Pierce, Sarah Theriot and Amelia Pleasant. To learn more about Battle of the Books and this new regional twist, read the article below from Library Director Tiffany Whitehead.
I’ve been hosting a Battle of the Books competition with my Middle School students for the past five years. The first two years at Central Middle (where their amazing current librarian continues the tradition) and for the past three years at Episcopal. This year, the competition finally expanded and we hosted three school-level competitions at area schools, with the winner from each moving on to a regional competition.
In October, I announced this year’s competition and invited students to form their teams, comprised of ten students and one teacher sponsor. This year, six teams participated. Also this year, two other area librarians were hosting at their schools and collaborated with me every step of the way. For our book list, we pulled heavily from our Louisiana Young Reader’s Choice Award List to select the ten titles that were used in the battle. We try to round out the list with a variety in genre, character, and themes. Each team received a set of ten books and students had eight to ten weeks to read as much as they could. Students take responsibility for dividing up the reading as they see fit, and dig into the books.
In December, we held our school-level competition. The competition consisted of five rounds: three rounds of multiple choice questions using Kahoot, a written response round, and some type of puzzle/challenge round (that varies from year to year). Each of the three Kahoot rounds has a total of 20 questions — two from each book. Each team has one iPad that they use to answer the questions, earning points based on speed and accuracy. After four rounds of competition, the top three teams compete in a final Kahoot round in front of the entire Middle School division. Having the last round in front of their peers is a blast — it gets the teams hyped up and it helps students who did not participate learn more about Battle of the Books so they may want to join a team next year.
Our winning team was a team of eighth grade students, many of them have been together as a team since they were sixth graders, which made it extra special! That team went on to participate in the first ever regional competition.
Red Stick READgional Competition
My dream of having a regional Battle of the Books competition finally became a reality this year! Sara Gomez, librarian at Central Middle, and Laura Foy, librarian at Denham Springs Junior High, also held their school-level competitions and we all brought our winning teams to compete.
We were able to host the READgional at the Main Public Library in the teen gaming room. Before kicking off the competition, students participated in a variety of icebreaker activities designed to help them get to know each other. For this READgional competition, we had three rounds: two Kahoots and a game. We chose the Saran Wrap Game to add excitement to the competition. Students were lined up alternating by school and were asked trivia questions. While a student answered questions, the student next to them in line worked to unwrap the ball of wrap (while wearing oven mits) until the student answering questions got one correct — then the ball and mits were passed on. Tickets worth 100 points each were hidden within the Saran Wrap, so there was certainly incentive to unwrap the ball as quickly as possible.
The competition was very close overall. At the end of the event, the Episcopal team pulled off the win!
Battle of the Books is honestly one of my favorite events every year — it’s a great way to celebrate our readers and get more students hyped up about books!
Episcopal Library Director Tiffany Whitehead partnered with the librarians at Denham Springs Junior High and Central Middle School to organize the first READgional Battle of the Books. Here the group celebrates success. Laura Foy, DSJHS; Sara Gomez, CMS; Whitehead; Jessica Houvinen, CMS and Jason Fountain, Central Community School System Superintendent.
Looking for great books for your Middle School student? Below is the list of books read by this year’s Battle of the Books teams.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz
Fuzzy by Paul Dellinger and Tom Angleberger
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Restart by Gordon Korman
The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks
Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba
Visit Tiffany Whitehead’s Mighty Little Librarian online blog by clicking here.
What are you reading? Leave Tiffany a comment below regarding your favorite book of the moment.
Tiffany has been an educator for eleven years and serves as the Director of Library at Episcopal. A lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Southeastern Louisiana University and her Masters in Educational Technology Leadership from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. She has served as the President for ISTE’s Librarians Network and was recognized as one of ISTE’s 2014 Emerging Leaders. Tiffany is National Board Certified in Library Media and was named one of the 2014 Library Journal Movers & Shakers. She was the 2016 recipient of the Louisiana Library Media Specialist Award and is currently the President of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians. Tiffany speaks regularly at state, national, and international conferences on school library and technology topics.