The Kenai Community Library children’s section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai Community Library children’s section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Literary competition returns to local schools

Battle of the Books aims to instill in kids a love of reading

Annual districtwide Battle of the Books competitions will come to school libraries around the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District next week.

The competition spans four age groups: grades three and four; grades five and six; middle school; and high school. Participants have read through lists of either 10 or 12 books, representing a wide range of difficulty levels, page counts and genres.

“It’s really a diverse list, and it has them grappling with all different topics,” Lindsay Hallam, district librarian for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, said Friday. “I was very impressed with the list this year, there are some pretty difficult reads.”

She said Battle of the Books is a program intended to “instill a love of reading.” It is a part of a larger focus on literacy within the district.

Next week, with competitions Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, teams from around the district will conference call one another and answer questions about a detail from one of the books on the list. A correct response is one that includes both the title and the author’s name of the book in which that detail occurred.

“The types of questions that are asked, and how specific the questions are, when you think about a book … one is over 500 pages long,” Hallam said. “To be able to pull out those small details is pretty impressive, and these kids step up every year and do it.”

Each team will compete at least four times, in preliminary morning rounds, Hallam said. The top four teams with the highest scores will then participate in an afternoon battle to be named district champion. The champions will advance to state championship matches at the end of the month.

Hallam said that there will be 19 teams competing in grades three and four; 25 will compete in grades five and six; 13 will compete in the middle schools age group and four will compete in high school age group.

Students began preparing as early as September for the competitions, Hallam said.

“Most of them meet at least once a week, sometimes two or three times a week. They take it pretty seriously,” she said.

Grades three and four will be competing Monday. High schoolers will be competing Tuesday. Grades five and six will compete Wednesday, and middle schoolers will compete Thursday.

For more information about Battle of the Books, visit the State Battle of the Books website at sites.google.com/view/akaslbattleofthebooks.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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