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May 8, 2009

BOOK BATTLE: Dixie Bee edges Meadows in annual reading contest

TERRE HAUTE — The red team from Dixie Bee Elementary fielded the last question of the last round in Friday’s Battle of the Books competition.

“Red team: In what book did the song Amazing Grace lead to a miracle?” asked moderator Chris Schellenberg as she sat at a podium on the Fayette Elementary gym stage.

To her right was green team Meadows Elementary, and to her left was Dixie Bee.

One of five red team members rang a buzzer and gave the correct answer — “The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs” by Betty G. Birney.

For several long seconds, the teams awaited final results. It was close, but in the end, Dixie Bee won the Battle of the Books with 180 points to Meadows’ 172 points.

For the second year in a row, Dixie Bee takes home the large traveling trophy; it also receives a smaller one that it gets to keep. The team had decided “we were going to bring it back, and we did,” said team member Joceyln Brink.

All 18 Vigo County School Corp. elementary schools had teams of fourth- and fifth-graders at the now annual reading contest, which is based on the 20 Young Hoosier Book Award nominees.

The goal of Battle of the Books is to encourage reading of the Young Hoosier Books and reading in general. To be eligible for the competition, students have to read at least five of the 20 books on the list.

The Dixie Bee team members read all 20 books on the list, Brink said.

Dixie Bee fifth-grader Eric Fazekas described the competition as “nerve-wracking” but fun. Winning the competition “is great,” he said.

Sally Carpenter, Fayette media specialist, said the event encourages children who wouldn’t ordinarily read “maybe to pick up a book and read it” so they potentially can participate.

Organizers want students to have a good time and to share what they’ve learned during Battle of the Books, but the students also are in it to win. “The competition is very stiff, and they get very upset when they lose,” Carpenter said.

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