In Conway, 12 Catholic schools battle it out over the books

The Racing Readers of St. Paul School in Pocahontas hold up the correct answer during the Battle of the Books competition at St. Joseph School in Conway May 9.
The Racing Readers of St. Paul School in Pocahontas hold up the correct answer during the Battle of the Books competition at St. Joseph School in Conway May 9.
Jodie Hightower
Conway Correspondent

CONWAY — St. Joseph Church Family Activity Center in Conway was the site for a fierce battle May 9. Twenty-two teams from 12 Catholic schools around the state met for the second annual Battle of the Books competition.
After a grueling battle that included more than 50 questions, a four-way tie and then another tie, the Red Reading BOBers from Immaculate Conception School in North Little Rock were named champions.
North Little Rock’s Immaculate Conception School also took second place with the team Bombing Bookin’ BOBanators. The Reading Raccoons from Immaculate Conception in Fort Smith took third place.
"The idea is a borrowed one. Many schools in several states participate in the BOB program in differing degrees," Tracy Anderson, parent co-coordinator of the event, said. "St. Joseph’s implemented an adapted version during the 2006-07 school year. This year we extended the program to include other schools."
Battle of the Books is a reading competition. Teams of five or six students in grades 4, 5 and 6 are assembled. They use team-working skills to prepare and compete, dividing the list of books, each reading at their own level, Anderson said.
Early in the school year Anderson visited the 11 schools that wanted to participate and presented a program overview. Then each school held open enrollment for teams.
"The great thing about the BOB program is that students are allowed to participate based on individual commitments not on reading abilities or grades. We encourage all students to participate at their own level," Anderson said.
Because of the numbers of participants, each school held its own preliminary competitions, she said.
Schools were allowed to bring two teams because of space and time restrictions.
Anderson said members of the teams read 16 books to prepare for the competition. The St. Joseph Battle of the Books committee compiles the list annually.
During the competition, the teams are awarded a single point for correct answers. The teams are asked questions simultaneously and have 15 seconds to determine the answer, Anderson said.
Answers are always in the form of a book title and questions usually begin with the phrase, "In which book …" There are a variety of questions even pertaining to the authors, she said.
Each team is allowed one challenge question with two minutes to prove to a group of designated "book experts" that the title they have selected is also a correct response, Anderson said. Each school provides book experts, usually teachers or parents. "Sometimes, the teams are successful with the challenges and sometimes they are not," Anderson said. "Only teams willing to risk the challenge, who are successful, are awarded a point for doing so."
Many volunteers helped with the event serving as judges, table monitors and as fans to cheer on the teams, Anderson said.
"Our principal, Mrs. Susie Freyaldenhoven, has been the beacon of hope throughout this process," she said. "Without her faith and devotion the program would not have come to fruition and for this I am most grateful."
Members of the first-place team included David Price, Christina Osorio, Kimmie Croson, Alena Higgins, Grant Diffee and Andrew Rodriguez.
The participating schools were Blessed Sacrament, Jonesboro; Christ the King, Fort Smith; Christ the King, Little Rock; Holy Rosary, Stuttgart; Immaculate Conception, Fort Smith; Immaculate Conception, North Little Rock; Immaculate Heart of Mary, North Little Rock; St. Boniface, Fort Smith; St. Joseph, Conway; St. Joseph, Fayetteville; St. Paul, Pocahontas; and St. Peter, Pine Bluff.

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