WILLOW STUDENTS ENJOY A 3-DAY...BATTLE OF THE BOOKS

March 25, 2002 12:00 am
BOOK HUDDLE: Members of Willow Elementary Schools Chapter Chipmunks team discuss how they should answer a question during the championship match against the Ominous Orators. The students are, from left, Dreama Farata, Kyle Bowen, Ellen Siderius, Amber Hall and David Pryce. (The Observer/DICK MASON).
BOOK HUDDLE: Members of Willow Elementary Schools Chapter Chipmunks team discuss how they should answer a question during the championship match against the Ominous Orators. The students are, from left, Dreama Farata, Kyle Bowen, Ellen Siderius, Amber Hall and David Pryce. (The Observer/DICK MASON).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

If these eight Willow Elementary students had a dollar for every hour they have read this year they could take dozens of friends to the next Harry Potter movie.

The students are members of Willows Chapter Chipmunks. The team won Willows Battle of the Books title Friday, edging the Ominous Orators 43-41 in their schools gym.

Basketballs were not bouncing in the gym but children were constantly bouncing out of their chairs to help their teams come up with the right answers.

The 3-day Battle of the Books tournament held student attention the way the NCAA mens basketball tournament is captivating hoop fans.

Teams of eight to 10 students had their knowledge tested during 30-minute sessions. Students in all matches were given information about books and asked to identify the volumes by title and author.

Example: students were asked to name the book in which a small bunny tells his mother he will run away and the mother then tells him how she will catch him.

The book is the Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

Students had a minute to answer questions but often only needed a split second. Teams would huddle before giving their answers. Each time a different student from a set rotation had to give the answer. This meant that often a student who had not read the book would be told the answer and then would walk to a microphone and repeat it. The students could not use notes.

It takes a lot of inner strength to get up there, said Kristy Boyd, a media specialist at Willow.

Boyd and Keri Myer, a library assistant, organized Willows Battle of the Books.

Tournament rules stated that each book title had to be exact. Long book titles were sometimes missed, including the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. One child switched the words terrible and horrible.

Questions read were drawn from 200 books that teams were assigned to read over 10 weeks.

In addition to Viorsts book, the titles included Romona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Old Yeller by Fred Gibson.

The reading list was so extensive that teams could not rely on one or two students to read them all, so students took on assignments that did not overlap with what other students on their team were reading. Students read many of the books in their spare time at home.

Some camped in the library during their lunch periods and read the books, Boyd said.

She noted that children were reading the books right up to their teams matches. Boyd was gratified to see that some children were reading the books even after their team was out of the tournament.

Willows children showed a lot of creativity when selecting their team names. In addition to the Chapter Chipmunks and the Ominous Orators, the Battle of the Books field also included The Reading Raiders, Page Master, Chapter Raptors, Lord of the Pages, The Reading Wizards, Masters of the Books, The Book-a-teers, Red Hot Reading Raiders, Deadly Bookworms and the Chapter Crunchers.