Waging the Battle of the Books
Last updated 3/21/2023 at Noon
Sisters Elementary School third graders put their reading skills to the test in the Oregon Battle of the Books regional competition March 11 in Madras. This is the first time ever that an elementary school team has represented Sisters School District in regional OBOB competition.
This year was the first year back to in-person OBOB competitions post-pandemic. The third-grade team beat out the fourth- and fifth-grade reading teams in early March in school competitions leading up to the regionals.
The third-grade team competed in all seven matches and placed fourth in a field of 11, competing against teams from around Central and Eastern Oregon.
Their team’s name for the competition was Raiders of the Lost Books.
Oregon Battle of the Books instills in students a love for reading, and students who participated this year are already eagerly seeking the books for next year’s OBOB competition. Each team of four students reads a total of 16 books, with each team member becoming an expert on several of the books. They then compete in battles with other teams to recall details about those books. This requires teamwork, as one student can’t become the sole expert for their team.
The questions during competition are broken into two types: “In Which Book” questions, and “Content” questions. Students memorized the names of the titles and authors’ names and specific, detailed information about the books.
The teams at the elementary school were coached by Catherine Griffin and Laura Roth. The middle school teams were coached by Sarah Crabtree. Crabtree recently came on as the library media manager at the Sisters Middle School.
“OBOB is great because it allows for kids to read different genres and types of books and pushes them to read outside of their comfort zone,” she said.
Students get the chance to read 16 books for the competition, but were encouraged to get into a few of the books, and really know and understand them, to answer questions in the competition. Crabtree said next year at the middle school they hope to bring in parent volunteers to coach the students.
Laura Roth, elementary school librarian and media manager, described how the competitions looked leading up to the regional competition: “In early February, Catherine Griffin, our OBOB leader, set up a bracket for teams to compete. The winning team from each battle went on to compete until there were two teams remaining. Those two teams battled for the coveted SES Battle of the Books trophy. Then the winning team from Sisters Elementary School battled the winning team from Sisters Middle School to determine who will represent the Sisters School District at the regional tournament.”
OBOB is a unique opportunity for students to compete as a team while engaging in books and reading for comprehension. Answering questions about the text encourages a fun but productive learning environment.
Roth said: “This is a fantastic program, and I am so impressed with the amount of time and dedication that everyone involved puts into it, from the state level to the volunteers in our schools. Students are reading, discussing, memorizing facts, learning about different cultures, history, and reading genres that they may have not ever chosen on their own. The OBOB books include a variety of reading levels, graphic novels, historical fiction, biographies, humorous books, fantasy, and much more.”
The third-grade team of students and coaches worked hard in preparing for the competitions, beginning in October when students started looking at OBOB books. They read through January and formed teams of four. In early February, the teams practiced together as a team with one student acting as the speaker for the group.
“This is a valuable program to have in our distinct and we are thankful for all the support we have received from Paulina Springs Books, the SES staff, and parent volunteers. And most of all, we are so proud of all the students who worked so hard in OBOB this year,” said Roth.