DODDS-Europe fourth-graders battle it out in book competition
Stars and Stripes May 10, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Nearly 100 fourth-graders from Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe schools in the Kaiserslautern area engaged in a schoolhouse battle Wednesday night.
But instead of trading blows, the children racked their brains for answers to questions culled from nearly three dozen award-winning books.
It was all part of the 17th annual “Battle of the Books,” where students from Kaiserslautern Elementary, Landstuhl Elementary, Ramstein Intermediate, Sembach Middle and Vogelweh Elementary schools teamed up to field questions on children’s books such as “Because of Winn-Dixie” and “A Wrinkle in Time.”
About 250 people, including students, parents and teachers, attended the event at the Kaiserslautern High School auditorium.
Some of the books on the list were covered in the students’ classes while the children could read the others on their own, said Marelle Morgan, language arts reading specialist at Ramstein Intermediate School.
“It’s a way to have them read good literature and a fun way of culminating their reading,” she said.
Each team was composed of students from different schools for four rounds of competition plus a bonus round. At the end of each round, a new group of youngsters took the stage to answer questions. The team names of Reading Tigers, Battler Books and Bookworms were as ferocious as the competition. Maybe ferocious isn’t the best word to describe the Bookworms team name, but nonetheless, the children fought hard.
While score was kept, the winning team was not announced, and all 84 participants received the same gold medal.
“The score really doesn’t matter a whole lot,” said Michael Curley, a Ramstein Elementary School teacher who read aloud every question for the event.
That being said, several children eyed the scoreboard and knew who came out on top.
Curley rendered strict interpretations of the children’s answers. If teams didn’t provide answers that matched what he had on the answer card, Curley rarely budged. As such, he was booed a few times. One girl who firmly believed her team provided a correct answer when it was ruled wrong could be seen politely protesting to the judges as she walked off stage.
With the competition covering 34 books, the questions were not easy. Out of the first four questions of the night, only one was answered correctly.
Teams were asked questions such as who was the human family in “Bunnicula” and to name authors of different books. The bonus round question was to name two books from the list where the events went from realistic fiction, to fantasy and back to realistic fiction. All three teams got the bonus question right.
Shaliyah Levi, a fourth-grader at Kaiserslautern Elementary School, read 15 of the 34 books on the list. Her favorite was “Fourth Grade Rats,” she said.
She said she was scared being on stage in front of parents, teachers and other students, but thought it was cool.