Erwin Middle School began participating in Battle of the Books in 1994. It is a North Carolina state supported program that encourages students to read books from a variety of genres, including classics, newly honored titles, historical fiction, local books, mystery, science fiction, and romance. There is something for everyone on the list! Each spring, the state Battle of the Books committee prepares a list of about twenty-five titles for the following school year.
Battle of the Books allows students who are not involved in sports but love to read to participate in an extracurricular activity. Those who are interested begin reading books from the adopted list in the summer or fall of the school year. They then attend an informational meeting and try out for the team in February. Tryouts consist of a title and author quiz, and a content test on the books. Those who score highest on the test make up the Battle of the Books teams. The teams are composed of six to twelve students, six of whom play at a time. Erwin Middle sponsors two teams each year. The team members are from grades seven and eight.
The teams meet for practice many times a week in the winter and spring of the school year. In the spring, they travel to the Board of Education to “battle” teams from the other schools in the area. A battle consists of eight questions. The questions begin with the phrase, “In which book…” For example, a team member may be addressed the question, “In which book did a boy spend the night in a zoo?” The team has twenty seconds to confer. The correct answer is “Maniac McGee, by Jerry Spinelli.” The team would then earn two points for the correct title and one point for the author.
The team members always enjoy reading the books, spending a day with other readers from the area.
The Battle of the Books program is supported by the library media center. Coaches include Mrs. Haggard, Mrs. Hawkins, and Mrs. Osborne.