WATSON -- Some of the parish’s top middle school readers came together to test their wits during the First Annual READgional Battle of the Books.
Nearly 20 students participated in the challenge, held May 9 at Live Oak Middle. Students came from Albany Middle, Live Oak Middle, Live Oak Junior High and North Corbin Junior High, which all held in-school competitions throughout the year to determine the top readers.
The students, who had to read selections from the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Program, came ready to show off their book knowledge.
“They only had to read at least 5 books to qualify, but most of them read all 12,” said LOM librarian Amanda Jones, who organized the book challenge.
The competition was broken into three rounds: A 36-question Kahoot computer test; a book puzzle in which students had to match together the appropriate book titles, authors, genres, and quotes; and a lightning-fast 24-question buzzer round for the finale.
All students received trophies at the end, but the big prize was a large trophy Jones dubbed the “Goblet of Fire,” inspired by the fourth book in the “Harry Potter” series. The Goblet of Fire will stay with the winning school throughout the year until a new winner is crowned, and it will be engraved every year.
The Albany Middle team of Josie Zimlich, Dallas Griffitt, Andrew Zimlich and Joseph Horton emerged victorious from among the four teams, leading the challenge from beginning to end. Jones presented the shining trophy to Albany Middle librarian Erica Thompson, who handed it to her students for a group picture.
Finishing behind Albany Middle were Live Oak Junior (second place), North Corbin Junior (third place) and Live Oak Middle (fourth place).
“This all went so much better than I could’ve expected,” said Jones, who added that she was approved for a $2,000 grant from the American Association of School Librarians for next year’s Battle of the Books. “I just hope we can get more next year.”
That shouldn’t be a problem if word spreads.
Several parents, Central Office staff, Superintendent Joe Murphy, and other teachers attended the challenge, including Serena Turner, instructional supervisor for libraries and textbooks in the school system.
After seeing the students rattle off answer after answer, Turner walked away impressed — and hoping others will bring similar events to their own libraries to foster a love for reading.
“We’re always for libraries giving students more to do than check out books,” she said. “This is exactly what we’re looking for.”