Home field advantage may have helped Students at East Lake School as they came out with the win after the Battle of the Books against Prairie Waters School May 10.
“It’s fun, they love it,” said East Lake School’s Assistant Principal Leslie Waite of the students’ reaction to the competition.
The Battle of the Books has teams of students at both Prairie Waters and East Lake Schools read 15 books and then compete in a knowledge and trivia contest based on those books to earn the right to represent their school in the final against the rival school.
Near the start of the academic year, students in Grades 3-5 have to decide if they want to participate in the competition and then form teams.
“Once they create their team then they’re responsible for dividing up who’s reading what books,” said Prairie Waters School Learning Support Teacher Anne-Marie Czember.
Within each team students are encouraged to make sure that each book is read by at least two of the students.
Once the teams are made and the books have been assigned, students have until the spring to read their books.
The reading list changes year to year and is chosen in collaboration between both schools from books recommended by staff and students.
“We do a range of books,” said Czember, “from very easy books to more difficult books.”
This range of difficulty gives the younger students the opportunity to be successful in the competition.
“We have non-fiction, fiction, we have a variety of books,” said Waite.
In addition to the diversity of books, the teachers like to include as many Canadian authors as possible.
“We do like to try and put in as much Canadian authors…as we can,” said Czember.
To encourage literacy and ensure that the competition is inclusive, audio and e-book formats are available to students.
Another support available to the students are weekly Battle of the Books meetings held on Fridays.
Each year the program has been growing in popularity with more teams signing up every year.
“Each year we get significantly more teams,” she said.
“I think we had 11 teams participate this year,” said Czember.
As a K-9 school, East Lake school also runs a Grades 6-9 competition just at the school as well as the 3-5 competition for the interschool battle.
East Lake had a total of 17 teams compete this year.
Along with the friendly competition the goal of the event is to get kids reading.
Waite would like to see the Battle of the Books expand to more schools in Chestermere, especially at the Grades 6-9 level to give her older students some more competition.
“We hope to include all the schools in Chestermere next year,” she said.