Reading their way to excellence
A team of dedicated readers from Estacada High School will soon make their way to the state competition for the Oregon Battle of the Books.
Estacada High's Battle of the Books team, consisting of Mariah Richards, Morgan Myrvold, Megan Tuthill, Kira Nestor and Jewel Jones placed first in the program's regional competition on Saturday, March 3. Next up for the group is the state competition, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 7.
Sponsored by the Oregon Association of School Libraries, the Oregon Battle of the Books is a voluntary reading program across the state. The program is run by Oregon Association of School Libraries and partially funded by the Library Services and Technology Act.
"OBOB's mission is 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," the program's website states. "Students in 3rd through 12th grade, regardless of ability, are exposed to quality literature representing a variety of literary styles and viewpoints."
During the Battle of the Books' competitive events, participating teams answer questions about literature from the program's reading list. This year's reading list for the high school level featured "The Amulet of Samarkand" by Jonathan Stroud, "Girl of Fire and Thorns" by Rae Carson, "The Indigo Notebook" by Laura Resau, "Ink and Bone" by Rachel Caine, "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson, "Outrun the Moon" by Stacey Lee, "The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly" by Stephanie Oakes, "Spare Parts" by Joshua Davis, "The Steep and Thorny Way" by Cat Winters, "Uncaged" by John Sandford and Michele Cook, "When I Was the Greatest" by Jason Reynolds and "The Wrath and the Dawn" by Renée Ahdieh.
Students in Estacada have enjoyed preparing for the regional and state challenges.
"I've always really liked reading," Nestor said. "I like finding new books."
Some also enjoy showcasing their knowledge of what they've read.
"I'm just really competitive," Tuthill said. "If I can read and do well, I like it. It's probably the nerdiest competition out there, but I think it's fun."
Though the event is a competition, there's a lot of support within the team.
"Every time we were going into battle, we kept each other calm and were positive and happy for each other," said Richards.
Autumn Gonzales, the coach for this year's Battle of the Books team and an English and theater teacher at Estacada High School, praised the team members for being motivated self-starters.
"I don't do anything except provide a classroom and strategies," she said. "I'm so proud of them. This is completely their own thing. Their dedication is awe-inspiring."