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On the Bright Side

November 27, 2012

Battle of the Books is a test of reading skills

Thirty-two students will be cracking spines of 20 books in a program designed to promote reading and goodwill among students from Worcester and Schenevus, organizers said Monday.

Teams of elementary pupils will read books, then test their knowledge in a Battle of the Books event next spring, said Donna Jo Cody, library director at the Worcester Free Library.

“I’m really excited,’’ said Cody, who started the part-time position in September. Cody also is working on enhancing existing programs and starting new ones to encourage reading and expand library patronage.

Diane Addesso, president of the Worcester Free Library Board of Trustees, said the Battle of the Books is a welcome addition to library programming. The program may be a constructive competition that can ease tensions and rivalries between the schools and communities, she said.

“It’s a really fun program,’’ Addesso said. “It’s great for the community.’’

Worcester Central School and Schenevus Central School each have four teams of four pupils in third through fifth grades, Cody said.

The teams will read 20 books, Cody said, and locally selected titles range from familiar and classic works, such as “Farmer Boy’’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder, to books by contemporary authors, such as Rick Riordan, who penned “Maze of Bones: The 39 Clues.’’

Cody, whose background is in teaching and library work, said each team has an adult coach — a teacher, parent or grandparent. The teams will meet, choose names and design T-shirts, among other activities, she said.

The library at 168 Main St. has about 6,000 books and 800 to 1,000 patrons, Addesso said, and a goal is to encourage more patrons and use of the library.

The library will host a photo opportunity at 3:30 p.m. today with John DeGrace from Walmart, who will present an over-sized check to the library for the Battle of the Books program.

The program wouldn’t be possible without the $1,500 grant from Walmart, Cody said. The grant will pay for books and prizes and support team-building exercises, she said.

Cody said she helped with a Battle of the Books program last year in Cobleskill. She is working on other grant applications to support lecture and summer reading programs.

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