Eccles kids win OBOB trophy
Twenty-nine teams, made up of Canby's elementary students in grades 3-5, competed in a district Oregon Battle of the Books tournament at Carus Elementary Thursday, but it was The Mustache Meelords, a fifth-grade team from Eccles Elementary, that came out on top. The winner mainly earns bragging rights, but as of last year, there's also a traveling trophy involved.
OBOB is a statewide program, founded in 2007 for students in grades 3-12, with a mission "to encourage and recognize students who enjoy reading, to broaden reading interests, to increase reading comprehension, promote academic excellence and to promote cooperative learning and teamwork among students," according to OBOB's website.
"It's a fun way to be competitive if you're not an athlete," said Lisa Wing, OBOB coordinator for Ninety-One School.
Each year, a committee selects a statewide book list for each grade group: grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Students who want to participate simply read the books, which span a variety of genres and reading levels from "Blast-off!" by Nate Ball to "Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine in the third-fifth grade division.
Teams are made up of four players, plus an optional alternate who can sub in. Each elementary school has different processes for how they divide students into teams and for how they select which teams participate in the district tournament.
At the tournament, kids clustered together into their teams in the Carus gym for four rounds of questions pertaining to the books from the list, alternating between "in which book" questions and "content" questions.
After those rounds, it came down to the top two teams, who competed in a traditional oral battle consisting of 16 questions with a time limit of just 15 seconds for each question. The Meelords edged out Four Book-Loving Bulldogs from Ninety-One School for the win.
Not only is the tournament fun for kids, but the educational advantages are obvious. Wing described how participating in OBOB impacted her daughter.
"My third-grade daughter was reading what I call the princess series…it's the same story over and over and over, you just change the color of the princess," Wing said. "But she was feeling good about them as a third-grader because she could read chapter books. So she's all confident, but that's all she's reading and it's killing me. Then she does Battle of the Books, and one of her little friends says, 'I'm going to read all 16, will you read all 16?' And she goes, 'Okay, I'll read all 16.' So she left the biggest, fattest, hardest one on the third-fifth grade list till the last because she's like, 'I don't think I can do this.' She read it and it was her favorite book, and afterwards she…was just overwhelmed with herself because she had no idea that she could do that and she needed a program like this to make her read something different."
Jennifer Hitchcock, Carus librarian and OBOB coordinator, said that outside of the obvious impacts on reading, there are other advantages to participating in OBOB.
"The other piece that this does outside of the reading, is that during this oral part you were able to see kids in a public speaking role, collaborating; and I've seen some of our most developmental readers sit in that spokesperson role speak and deliver the answers…They can contribute," Hitchcock said.
The sixth-eighth grade tournament was snowed out last week and rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. at Ackerman School. Each Canby school will send a team to participate in the regional tournament on March 17 at Clackamas Community College for grades 3-5 and at Estacada Middle School for grades 6-8.