Elementary and middle school students compete in the Battle of the Books at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School Friday. Battle of the Books is a jeopardy style tournament with questions drawn from books the students read on their own time. Photo courtesy of E. Baldwin
Elementary and middle school students compete in the Battle of the Books at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School Friday. Battle of the Books is a jeopardy style tournament with questions drawn from books the students read on their own time. Photo courtesy of E. Baldwin

Brandon Nottingham
Staff Writer

Green Bank Elementary Middle School hosted the third annual Battle of the Books for Pocahontas County last Friday. Teams from Marlinton, Hillsboro and Green Bank schools gathered to test their wits against students on their grade level.

The Battle of the Books tournament tests students’ knowledge in a jeopardy-style game with the questions coming from six books the students read on their own time.

The game has two rounds for each grade level. The first question is asked to an individual team, but if they miss the question, the next team has the opportunity to steal it from them. The second round is a flash round where all the teams can buzz in to answer. After answering, if the students can identify the book that the question is based on, they get two points. If they can name the author, they get an additional point.

The Battle of the Books was sponsored by the Reading Council, and the judges were Rebecca Spencer, Principal at Hillsboro Elementary School, and Jared Bennett, Coordinator of Teaching and Learning for Pocahontas County Schools.

Erin Baldwin, a teacher at GBEMS, and Jan Jonese, a teacher at Marlinton Middle School, were coordinators of the event.

The students who participated were selected based on test results, and the top four from each grade level represented their school as a team.

The three teams consisted of third and fourth grade competitors, fifth and six grades, and seventh and eighth grades.

“There have always been events for different learning fields, but not one for reading,” Spencer said. “Math Field Day has been around for a long time, and so has the Science Fair. But there was no way for Reading and Language Arts to test their knowledge and get those students recognition, so to speak, until the Battle of the Books was mentioned. It was an instant hit and a great way to get more students involved in reading. Most of the books on the competition list are great reads about life and pushing the envelope, and almost all of them are award winners, so we can get kids to step outside of their boundaries and read books from all genres. And the kids love it. There will always be that competitive nature inside all of us, and the kids want to get out there and show their knowledge and represent their school. So it’s educational as well as fun, and that’s why we can continue to have these events.

“And we hope to keep these events coming. Other counties in West Virginia have been doing the Battle of the Books for a while now, and I think Greenbrier might have been doing it the longest, and we are working to get all the counties involved. If we can do that, then maybe one day we can host regional and state tournaments, as well. We would be able to get these kids and their schools recognition that could parallel alongside of Math Field Day. It would be great to have this go on to becoming that big of an event, and I hope to see it become so one day soon.”

The event lasted a few hours, and once the smoke had cleared, Kaydence Waybright, Caleb McCarty, Jade Arbogast and Taylor Arnold from Green Bank Elementary Middle School took first place for the third and fourth grades division. Daisy Shuttlesworth, Kyalily Barb, Haleena Hebb, Kimberly Underwood and Jordan Faris from Marlinton Elementary and Middle School took first place in the fifth and sixth grades division. And last, but not least, Natalie Halterman, Cheylin Woodruff and Alan Gibson from GBEMS took first place in the seventh and eighth grades division.

All first place winners received a $25 cash prize. Students are now getting ready for next year’s tournament, and all students are encouraged to participate.