COVID-19 may continue to delay school events and activities, but Rocky View Schools Division (RVS) students are always busy preparing for an epic battle of new knowledge.
COVID-19 may continue to delay public events and school activities, but Rocky View Schools Division (RVS) students are still busy preparing for an epic battle of new knowledge.
Instead of battling each other in February like they usually do, bookworms across the public school division will be taking part in the Battle of the Books on May 5 and 13 this spring, giving them a little extra time to read their books and relax. to prepare.
The competition is split into two levels – primary and middle school – and teams of six or seven students compete in a test of book knowledge and reading comprehension.
The elementary level includes students in grades 3-5, while the intermediate level allows children to enroll in grades 5-9. Grade 5 students have the option of competing in either level to accommodate the division’s different school setups.
To keep the competition annual, RVS moved to an online platform last year, which meant schools could send as many teams as they wanted, not just one.
“Before COVID we had a representative from each school participating and they would come to the central office in Airdrie to [compete]explained Leslie Waite, organizer of Battle of the Books and teacher at East Lake School in Chestermere.
“[Last year] was actually pretty cool because anyone could participate and we did that with a system called Kahoot! in line.”
This year’s competition will take place in the same way, online and with free participation.
Each school sets up a little differently for the division-wide battle, Waite added. Some run the Battle of the Books program as a club, while others let student-organized teams compete until there is one champion left to represent that school.
Last year, up to 10 teams per school participated, with more than 500 students per competition level.
Of the 53 schools in the division, 16 schools competed at the intermediate level and 12 schools competed at the elementary level last year.
This upcoming battle of the books marks the sixth competition for middle school students and the second for primary school students.
Waite noted that there were teams formed in Year 3 at his school in Chestermere that stayed together until Year 6, competing each year until they graduated from the school.
A committee of teachers, library technicians and administrators selects the books each year and writes the questions that will appear in the final competition.
“We have a selection of 16 books and they range from picture books to chapter books to biographies, how-to books, things that interest children and are popular literature… We try to choose mainly Canadian authors and it varies from country to country. year,” Waite said.
In the past, RVS has secured prizes for contest champions through sponsorship from bookstores and educational organizations.
The committee also organizes authors to come and talk to children about their writing process and what it takes to publish a book.
“Last year, three of our authors came back because they were able to [attend] on Zoom,” Waite said.
“It’s been really good to connect the kids with different authors and to see this real person who also writes books for a living. We really try to promote their literature and have it in the schools so that they can get to know an author who lives in Alberta.
According to Waite, a benefit of participating in Battle of the Books is seen in the reading abilities of each participating student, and the committee is doing its best to make the contest accessible to all students.
Book clubs in schools allow someone to read the books to children, but the organizers also make available as many audiobooks as possible.
“In the past, we’ve had the parents come in and read and the teachers have read on tape so the kids can listen while they read. We’ve had kids reading the books with friends, so we just encourage teamwork,” Waite said.
Any book is accessible in any format, and teachers and school staff help students determine what they need to compete.
“Some kids will come up to me and say, ‘I want to do this but I’m not a good reader,’ and I’m like, ‘OK, let’s sign up and find a team.’ And then they really do it and they really work together. to prepare,” Waite said.
Students will write their own questions, practice questioning each other and take notes on all the details of each book, she noted of the children at her school.
The competition promotes literacy and a love of reading, books and teamwork, she added.