This week, the eight houses at Hayes High School will send a team of avid readers to the library to participate in The Battle of the Books.
This is the second year for the house competition, organized by Librarian Sarah Ressler, in which students are given a list of books and several months to read them before they are quizzed on specific aspects of the books. Ressler said she is one of the organizers of the central Ohio division of the Battle of the Books competition, and she thought it would be fun to have the houses at the high school compete as part of the run-up to House Cup.
“I’ve been wanting to do it in house first, so people could get a taste for it and (to recruit) anyone who wants go with us to Gahanna Lincoln to compete with us against 15 schools in April,” Ressler said.
Ressler added students were given nine books they would be quizzed on for the house competition and encouraged to divide the books up among the whole team. Ressler said she and other coordinators in the program write all the questions for students.
“We made sure the list was inclusive and has a lot of different voices from a lot of different genres,” Ressler said, adding she enjoys students getting into the game and having fun reading books out of their comfort zone.
“I love getting kids excited about reading,” Ressler said. “It’s a fun way to have a competition around reading and celebrate reading. I hope they get camaraderie of talking to peers about books, and they get to read books they normally wouldn’t get to read. They learn new authors and learn about books that they can recommend to others.”
Ressler said she is happy to give readers a competition for the House Cup.
“It’s a great way for students to be a part of house competitions in a way that is not traditionally sporty,” Ressler said.
All eight houses competed Monday and were divided into a winners and losers bracket. Each house will compete again this week.
Hannah Stoll, a junior and captain of Ridge’s team, answered a majority of her team’s questions. Her experience was a big reason why.
“This is my third year,” she said. “I was team captain last year, because the actual team captain didn’t show up. I read eight-and-a-half of the books. I really enjoy this.”
Stoll said she likes the competition element and the social aspect of the challenge.
“I enjoy the fact that we’re reading and answer questions about it,” she said. “It’s cool to have a way to communicate with books instead of social media or something.”
Fellow junior Rena Ouyang, who competed against Stoll for her house, Lockport, enjoyed the Battle of the Books.
“I’ll definitely participate again next year,” Ouyang said. “I’ll read more books next year, because I didn’t realize how little time I had this time. We got the books in November, and I thought, ‘Oh, I have so much time,’ and then I didn’t.”
Lockport team captain Jillian Darst said this is her second year participating in the competition after her sister forced her to do it last year.
“Reading is a fun thing to get my friends involved in, and I like reading,” Darst, a junior, said. “I’m not sad that we lost, because this is the first year we had a real team. Reading is something really popular in my family.”
Darst added she might try brushing up on books before the next match. She said the specific nature of the questions make it difficult to answer if you haven’t read the book.
“They aren’t things you can find on SparkNotes,” Darst joked.
The competitions will continue throughout the week. Ressler said any students who participate are invited to represent Hayes at regional competition in April.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.