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District’s ‘Battle of the Books’ gets middle schoolers reading

Battle of the Books (03/01/19) More than 300 middle school students representing all six of Anoka-Hennepin’s middle schools participated in this year’s “battle of the books” competition.

The contest is part reading challenge and part trivia challenge, according to Julie Scullen, the district’s teaching and learning specialist for secondary reading. Students are given a list of books at the beginning of the school year, and then teams of three students each compete first at the building level in the trivia contest involving questions from the list of books, she said, and the top three at each building advance to the district competition. See the CCX Media story.

This year, the Hardcover Heros from Oak View Middle School (Luke Dehnicke, Chase Pemberton, and Henry Myos) won the competition, beating the Northdale Middle School team A Potato Flew Around My Room (Dustin Kowal, Matthew Larsen, and Ryan Fleming).

The “battle” is a great opportunity for students to talk about, analyze, and celebrate books, Scullen said. “Every year students discover new authors and genres they had not previously considered reading,” she said. “It also allows teachers an opportunity to read what their students are reading and note connections to texts students read in class, as well as form bonds with students enjoying the same books.”


Some of the books used in the competition are Maud Hart Lovelace award nominees, according to Scullen, and since it’s a Minnesota award, the books are already in Anoka-Hennepin schools and public libraries.

“The wide scope of background knowledge our kids gained from these particular books is amazing,” Scullen said. “I have a big fun list of things they didn't even realize they were learning, from how the U.S. Secret Service works to the impact of heart transplants.”