Ellis Middle School Competes in Battle of the Books

by The Ellis School
Middle School students tested their literacy skills as they competed in the first ever Battle of the Books competition at The Ellis School. The Battle of the Books is a voluntary team trivia contest centered around three books each student reads outside of class in advance of the competition. Students are then quizzed on details big and small to test their comprehension and retention from each of the three selections.
Middle School English Teacher, Amy Sidari, partnered with Ellis parent, Tara McElfresh, to bring the competition to the School for the first time. Open to students in grades 5 and 6, 21 students volunteered to participate and signed a contract promising to fully complete the reading challenge. Students then read The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine, Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Ellie’s Story by W. Bruce Cameron over the course of several months and prepared with Ms. Sidari during free periods for the final competition.

“Students really enjoyed reading the books, meeting as a team, and working together towards a common goal. They love the competition aspect and it’s an opportunity for them to display their leadership, mentorship, and literacy skills. This competition not only supplements what they’re learning in class, but helps instill a love of books outside the classroom as well,” said Ms. Sidari.

After months of preparation and after school reading, 5 teams went head-to-head in the rapid-fire, relay race-style competition, where each team had 45 minutes to answer 90 questions about the books. Students ran to the judges table one at a time and had 30 seconds to answer each question on their own for 4 full points, or run back to their team for assistance and race back to judges panel with the answer for 2 half points. This intentional physical addition to the Battle not only made the competition more lively and game-like, but allowed girls to burn off energy and have fun in the midst of a school day.

Once the buzzer sounded and the competition ended, The Perl Girls were crowned the champions of the first ever Ellis Battle of the Books. While the Perl Girls earned bragging rights and candy gift bags for their first place finish, all 5 teams displayed their sports(wo)manship and celebrated their efforts afterwards with a lunchtime pizza party.

Overall, the Battle of the Books proved to Ellis students that reading isn’t just worthwhile when you’re studying for a test or completing a homework assignment, but something that can be fun and enjoyable on your own time as well. By instilling a love of reading at this transformative age, Ellis faculty members are giving students the tools they need to strengthen their vocabulary and language skills via real-life applications that hold real relevance to their lives.

Battle of the Books Teams 2016-2017

The Book Bunnies
Sreethi Ramineni, Class of 2023
Ella Gardner, Class of 2023
Sasha Forrest, Class of 2024
Sarina Pretter, Class of 2024

The Fantastic Five
Cyd Kennard, Class of 2023
Zoe Woon, Class of 2023
Charlotte Sauer, Class of 2024
Jackie Vereen, Class of 2024
Sara Woodside , Class of 2024

The Fun Floppy Fours
Cate Sauer, Class of 2023
Kate Nury, Class of 2023
Sophia Sandholm, Class of 2024
Julia Freudenberg, Class of 2024

The Perl Girls
Emma Gardner, Class of 2023
Liadan McElfresh, Class of 2024
Rebekah Rapp, Class of 2024
Parker Roscoe, Class of 2024  

The Givers

Sabrina Lateef, Class of 2023
Ellie Caliguiri, Class of 2023
Livia Keelan,  Class of 2024
Theresa Moore,  Class of 2024