Young Readers to Do ‘Battle’ at Gannon University
Posted: February 24, 2017
This is the week when fans everywhere are contemplating how to
fill out their brackets. Will Fiction Addiction make the Final
Eight? Can Literally Lit be a bracket buster? How about the Titans
of Text? This could be their year to go all the way.
They are among the teams from 29 high schools and 19 middle
schools from Crawford, Erie and Warren counties that will
participate in the fourth Battle of the Books at Gannon University
on Friday, March 3, a tournament-style competition where reading is
more important than reading defenses. More than 500 students are
expected to compete.
Teams compete head-to-head and earn points for correct answers
to questions about the 24 books they were assigned to read this
year. Some questions were compiled by students in Gannon
University's School of Education, and though the University is on
spring break during the competition, students who remain on or near
campus will man the registration tables, ask the questions and keep
Teams compete for prizes and pride; they take the competition
very seriously. "We have three reading teams-36 kids," said Nicole
Fitch, a librarian at North East High School, who organized the
competition. "That might be more than are on the football team,"
Fitch modeled the Battle on a competition that North East High
School (nickname: NERDs, North East Reading Divas) attended in the
past. The books she suggested range widely in genre, from young
adult fiction to fantasy and mystery. Some were drawn from the
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards program list and others
were more personal.
One is Patrick Ness' "A Monster Calls," which was the source for
a motion picture starring Sigourney Weaver that was released in
December. "It's a tremendous book that deals with a difficult
subject, a parent's terminal illness," Fitch said. "I cried my eyes
out when I read it."
There will be tears at the Battle, too-tears of joy and of
disappointment, but win or lose, the participating students
experience the joy of reading, a joy that Fitch sees as a still
vital force. "When people say students don't read, that's false, I
think they're reading more than ever. If you get things into their
hands, they'll read."