Killeen ISD Battle of the Books

Eastern Hills takes a group photo after taking first place at the Book Battle competition.
By: Samantha Seidel
Liberty Hill collaborates to find the right answer before time runs out.Union Grove crosses their fingers waiting to see if they got the right answer.

Since the beginning of the school year, students from the 12 middle schools had an opportunity to read 18 important books.
These books were part of the Lone Star reading list that encourages students in sixth through eighth grade to explore a variety of different types of books. It also prepared students for the annual Killeen ISD Middle School Battle of the Books
Now in its fifth year, the competition has grown fierce. Teams of up to five students competed in a two-part battle to determine who has the stickiest memory.
Students spent time reading as many books on the list as they could from cover to cover. Then they would spend time before or after school quizzing each other on content, and facts from each of the books.
The 88 players sat at their tables, ready to take on the first part of the competition, a set of 25 questions to be answered on an iPad. The team had 30 seconds before the buzzer rang to answer the question. Judges for each group tallied points accrued for each correct answer.
The second round was even more difficult. Using a dry-erase board, the students had to answer true or false, multiple choice, or short-answer questions where they had to spell author’s names correctly.
 The Live Oak Ridge team laughs as they realize they got the answer correct.
Groans and cheers could be heard throughout the room as teams got answers right, or missed them by just one letter.
Sponsors sat in the back of the room urging their teams to take their time and to work together.
Eastern Hills Middle School English teacher and sponsor Vanessa Ortiz was proud of her team and their work ethic.
“These kids really are strong readers,” she said. “Some students are shy and we have to push them a little to get out there, but the team format makes it more engaging for them.
“This is the one opportunity that these students are able to get together and compete on things that they are super passionate about. They really put in the hard work studying.”
Deputy Superintendent Eric Penrod sat at the Union Grove Middle School table as a judge, and was excited to see students collaborating.
“This really reinforces the importance of reading,” he said. “It really celebrates the fact that reading is for everyone, no matter what age, or  Eastern Hills celebrates as their name is called out for first place.demographic and it doesn’t matter what genre you read, just that you are reading.”
The final question was answered and students held their breath waiting for points to be tallied.
Eastern Hills outscored 10 other schools to take the championship trophy. Charles Patterson Middle School finished second and Nolan Middle School took third.
“I loved the thrill of the competition,” said Eastern Hills eighth-grader Leah Labrado.

“I loved getting to read books and apply and talk about those books with my teammates who love reading just as much as me.”