Students Compete in Battle of the Books Preliminaries

Three students and a teacher from the "Blue" team sit a table and smile at camera.

On November 19-20, 2019, six students from the FSDB Deaf Middle School took part in Gallaudet University's Battle of the Books preliminary competition. Students had to apply to take part in the competition; teacher signatures were collected to show the student was responsible and had met the reading level required for each team.

A month before the competition, students were given three books to read all on their own. While teams are assigned a chaperone, the teams completed the preparation for the competition, all on their own. Student teams could help each other but could not seek help from anyone else to understand the books. Teams willingly met during lunchtime, quizzing each other on the facts of the books, and prepping for the competition.

Three students and a teacher from the "Buff" team sit a table and smile at camera.

Because of the hard work of our DMS Reading Specialist, the Buff team competed on November 19 in the preliminary round, and the Blue team competed on November 20. When teams entered the reading specialist's room, a videophone was set up in the front, a TV with the slideshow of questions was on the right-hand side.

Students wearing their red Dragon t-shirts sat down in front of their whiteboards. During the preliminaries, the two FSDB teams competed against three other schools. There were two rounds per match. Students worked together to answer true/false, short answer, and multiple-choice questions about the books. The questions were presented in American Sign Language and English print. Students then had 20 seconds (:25 for blue) to submit their answers. Both FSDB teams were on video with another school that also competed for a spot in the playoffs.

All six of our students were first-time participants in the 2019 Battle of the Books competition. Our teams worked hard! Although they did not make the cut for playoffs, we are excited to see how these motivated readers do in next year's competition with some experience under their belts.

By Karen Newton, Deaf Middle School