By Sue Moore
It’s an amazing thing to see hundreds of fourth, fifth and sixth graders vying for points, on stage, at the Schoolcraft Performing Arts Center. They are so intent on reading and answering quiz questions, said one parent watching from the audience, it’s a sight to behold. It was the yearly Battle of the Books, they were referring to. Hundreds of parents had come to watch and encourage the young people to read, understand what they read and then do battle with each other for points for each question answered correctly.
For 19 years now, Bobbi Truesdell, Schoolcraft’s library director, has been staging this reading endeavor, which teaches kids to work together as a team, read, and have fun doing it. It is a national program but Miss Bobbi, has put her special stamp on it because she is dedicated to making it a success, so says one of her staff members in great admiration.
Students choose to participate from both the Schoolcraft and Vicksburg schools and recently Parchment asked to be included and sent four teams, out of the 31 in attendance. The Battle is structured with teams of five to seven readers and one to three adult coaches. The big day is divided into four preliminary Battles and two semi -final Battles. At the end of the day, the four teams that have accrued the most points will go on to the Grand Battle on another night at the same site. The tension on-stage and in the audience is palpable, with Miss Bobbie posing the questions to each team. One member has been appointed to come to the microphone to answer for the team. The question could be from any of the 12 books selected by Truesdell for the battle. They are usually about a particular character in the book and some kind of action that person takes in response to an event. The questions can get a little bit harder as the teams progress. The team has one minute to come up with the answer before being called to the front.
Of this year’s four teams that made the finals three were from Schoolcraft, the Word Destroyers, The Mustachios, and Mad Hatters. The 8 Bit Heroes were from Sunset Lake Elementary and Vicksburg Middle School. The grand battle winning team was The Mustachios, with a score of 100. They were coached by Jen and Peg Crissman and Eska Brown. The members of the team were Kenzie Crissman, Co-captain Amelia Brown, Paige Copeland, Co-captain Andrew Smedley, Anna Schuppel, and Khloe Fruehauf.