Gannon University to Host Battle of the Books

Posted: March 3, 2016

With screens vying for the time of children and adults alike, encouraging reading has become a point of emphasis for education professionals. In northwestern Pennsylvania, a high-school librarian and Gannon University's School of Education have come together to promote reading outside of the classroom and have a little fun in doing so.

The result is the third annual Battle of the Books on Friday, March 4 at Gannon University. Nearly 500 students and their teachers will gather for the book-based academic tournament for middle level (grades 7-8) and high school (grades 9-12) students.

The brainchild of North East High School librarian Nicole Fitch, the Battle provides an opportunity for students who are interested in reading to come together and share the knowledge that they have gained from reading a selection of books and to take home a bit of glory for the 24 middle and high schools representing 17 school districts in Erie, Crawford and Warren Counties.

The competition consists of three rounds of 24 questions each. Teams receive points for correct answers. Team scores are cumulative and will be reported to the competition scorekeeper. An awards ceremony will be held at the end of the competition with high-scoring teams receiving special recognition.

The questions for the competition were generated by Gannon School of Education students in the Reading Development Strategies and Assessment and Adolescent Literature courses, which are taught by Janice M. Whiteman interim director of Gannon University's School of Education, and associate professor Leighann Forbes, Ed.D.

Those two classes are required for all students in Gannon's Middle Level Education 4-8 programs, excepting the four dual-certification options with special education preK-grade 8. 

In addition to their classroom work, middle level majors participate in multiple field experiences and a full semester of student teaching. Students have the opportunity to experience a variety of 4-8 content classrooms during four 60-hour field experiences and several six- to 15-hour field experiences that allow students to put theory learned in the classroom into action.

The Battle of the Books is just one venue where Gannon University students can see theory become action. The University's Literacy Outreach program offers qualified education majors opportunities to gain educational experience while working 10 hours a week as a federal work study student. The program provides one-on-one and small group literacy instruction and support for children at six inner-city community sites.

"I believe that reading is the foundation for all education," said Janice M. Whiteman interim director of Gannon University's School of Education, which is sponsoring the event. "This competition is one way that Gannon and the School of Education can promote reading and demonstrate support for student academics and for schools in our region."