News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Building Battle of the Books

A new school year is upon us and with it brings great opportunity. It’s a chance to reflect upon our past and also dream up new visions for our future. I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in SPTC (Sisters Parent-Teacher Community) for the last several years, supporting the kids of our learning community through a variety of avenues. As a mom and a teacher, I know that our kids benefit most from a collaborative community and an “all hands on deck” mentality.

This year, there are again many opportunities to lend your talents and your time to our kids, whether you have kids in our schools or not. I’d like to highlight one particular avenue where community involvement would be so appreciated.

Last spring, The Nugget featured Sisters Elementary’s Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) regional competitors. Our district-winning team of third-grade scholars competed head-to-head with students from around Central Oregon, displaying their book recall prowess. Offering academic competition has given us an opportunity to broaden students’ understanding of what it means to be part of a team. For students who do not necessarily play sports, this can play a key role in the growth and development of leadership and the experience of synergy in teamwork.

The OBOB is a voluntary reading initiative in Oregon, where students read from a list of books and “battle” to see which team of four knows the most about their books. The book lists are categorized by grade, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, and 9th-12th, and students may begin reading from their designated list in June. However, Sisters Elementary School begins forming teams and coaching students toward the end of September. Though our coaches do not have to read the full list of books, they do take time to familiarize themselves with the material and spend time supporting students to complete reading the list in teams.

Given the success our students had last year, and how inspired they were to participate in the 2023/2024 season, we hope to expand our local OBOB program to include more volunteers from the wider Sisters Community. Last spring we witnessed OBOB students develop a connection with community elders when several retired folks volunteered to coach our teams. It was apparent that cross-generational relationships formed around a love of reading can be a key component in our educational recovery from the challenges faced over the last three years.

Despite COVID pandemic obstacles, our students have continued to show steady growth in their reading achievement. We see OBOB as an opportunity to build on that trajectory and Sisters Elementary has multiple avenues to support literacy in our schools. Through community programs such as SMART (Start Making A Reader Today), or volunteering to coach students participating in OBOB and other reading programs, a little time spent reading can go a long way for our children.

If you wish to take up the call to volunteer in our schools, we welcome you! Please contact the Sisters Elementary School office, 541-549-8981, the main District Office, 541-549-8521, or see the website,

volunteer/ for details on how to complete our volunteer application. In addition to this, folks can also contact SMART reading at 541-797-7726,

Our Sisters community can also support these efforts through donations to our library for the purchase of OBOB books. Due to there being a new book list every year, multiple copies of the new books are purchased annually. In addition, SPTC hopes to join Sisters Schools Foundation in financially supporting the SES media manager, Laura Roth, as she updates and grows the inventory of our little school library. Donations to these book funds are wholeheartedly welcomed as this is an expensive endeavor and will happen over the course of the next many years. For donations, contact SPTC [email protected].

We thank our amazing Sisters Country community as we educate and prepare our children for the exciting world they will encounter.


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