The annual Sterling Grade School Battle of the Books tournament had a different look this year. Rather than being a team event, it was modified to an online format for individual players. Students completed three practice rounds and two tournament rounds and earned points for speed and accuracy. The 2020 Battle of the Books champion is Porter, and the second place winner is Katie I.
"Students worked hard all year reading and preparing for this contest," explained district librarian Amy Brownlee. "The online option gave students the chance to compete even though they couldn't gather for a traditional team tournament."
This is the fifth year the SGS Library has sponsored Battle of the Books, an optional activity for 5th and 6th graders. Students form teams and read from a selected list of books. A school-wide tournament is held with questions about the books. "The goal is to get kids reading and discussing great books," Brownlee explained. "Lots of families read the books together. It's a special activity that brings people together."
Porter and Katie were awarded their prizes, including free books and a small trophy, on the front porch of their homes.
Battle of the Books is just one example of how the library staff has continued to serve students, parents and staff while school buildings have been closed. Through the last several weeks of at-home learning, the school library has provided access to free digital books that can be read or listened to online, coordinated three virtual book clubs for students, hosted eight online meetings with students, posted weekly reading challenges, and organized online voting for the state reader's choice award. Students and parents emailed Brownlee for help with accessing reading material in digital format. Groups such as Brian Richter's American History students accessed library resources from home to complete assignments.
Library assistant Michelle Miller coordinated an online Scholastic Book Fair, which had $863 in sales and earned $215 in free books for the library.
"Through the Internet, we were able to provide a wide variety of library services through email, websites, blogs and social media," Brownlee said. "We tried to follow through with as many of our regularly scheduled programs as possible, such as the book fair and Battle of the Books. The format looked different, but we still made the activities available."