Parent volunteer sees 'Battle of the Books' from the front lines

Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2004

During the past two weeks, I have had the privilege of being a parent volunteer at two different schools during the recent "Battle of the Books" competition.

I am always "in awe" at the amount of time and planning that goes into this program. I have seen and heard for myself the enthusiasm of the students themselves who have read and re-read the 12 to 15 books required for their grade levels! This program has really motivated my own children to read a variety o books independently and challenged them in a positive way to be part of a cooperative team with other participants.

Most of the teachers, other district personnel, and volunteers from the community gave up their own time to organize, plan and coach the students. If you are reading this, you know who you are!

As a parent, I can't thank you enough for giving time from your lunch and planning periods to motivate children to read and discuss these books from the start of the school year. There were also community volunteers who came in to "coach" regularly, as well as volunteers to help run the official "battles" the past two weeks. It could not have been done without you!

Through the use of a speakerphone system, students had the opportunity to connect with peers at even the more remote school systems in our district, as well as individual nearby public schools. All battles were conducted very professionally, fairly and friendly. The atmosphere was fun and positive. Even the teams that did not make the so called "top five" teams left their battles with a feeling of pride and satisfaction. I know, because I was there (at more than one battle, at more than one school).

What a fun way to motivate reading and to develop vocabulary, comprehension and memory at the same time.

Perhaps the biggest thanks should go to the students themselves, who also had to give up many, many recess times for this competition and also read and re-read books on their own time. Special thanks to their parents as well, for motivating their children to read and giving positive support at home.

I hear the book list for next year will be out before summer. Happy reading!

With thanks,

Sue Dukowitz

Parent volunteer

Mountain View Elementary School

Kenai Middle School

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