• "Book Battles" Promote
    Summer Reading

    Posted by Josh Flory on 7/17/2019
    Contestants in a 'Book Battle' at Rocky Hill Elementary School discuss their answer as Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, the game's host looks on.
    Contestants in a 'Book Battle' at Rocky Hill Elementary School discuss a question as the game's host, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, waits for their answer.

    There’s nothing like a friendly competition to help prevent summer learning loss, and Knox County Schools has teamed up with several community partners to make that happen.

    This summer, KCS librarians are working with organizations including the YMCA, the Girl Scouts, the Boys and Girls Club and Freedom Schools to host “Book Battles,” quiz show-style competitions that are based on summer reading.

    On Tuesday, Rocky Hill Elementary hosted a book battle that included students who participate in the YMCA and that featured a celebrity guest: Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.

    The mayor has made summer reading a top priority through the Read City USA initiative, which has challenged the community to spend 250,000 hours reading this summer. At Rocky Hill, Jacobs read the contest questions while two teams -- “Master Librarians” and “Team Fire” -- competed to provide the right answers.

    Sally Brady, a librarian at Bearden Elementary School, said students are competitive and want their team to win, but that competitive spirit has other benefits.

    “It gets them thinking about books and talking about answers and working together as a team, and also it gets them to read new books and books maybe out of their comfort zone,” she said.

    Literacy is a point of emphasis for KCS and Superintendent Bob Thomas and this spring the mayor’s office, KCS and the Knox County Public Library system teamed up to distribute more than 6,800 library cards to students at 17 elementary and middle schools.

    The district has also enlisted community partners in the effort to boost reading engagement, including the YMCA.

    Lori Humphreys, Vice President of Child Care Services for that organization, said the Book Battles are a practical way for kids to put their reading to good use, adding that the enthusiasm doesn’t just show up during the Battles.

    “They’ve been reading on the bus, they’ve been reading on field trips,” she said. “Wherever we see them, they have a book in their hand.”