Press Releases

‘Battle of the Books’ program expands

Nov 1, 2015

What was so legendary about the feats of Maniac Magee? What fiend tried to eat Christopher Mouse in the Egyptian Room? And exactly what does “wuthering” mean, anyway?

PA Cyber students participating in America’s Battle of the Books will learn the answers to such pressing questions in a literary journey that will take their imaginations to faraway places and interesting characters throughout this school year.

After meeting every week or two in book discussion groups through the year, participating PA Cyber students will be organized into two teams in the spring for a Battle of the Books competition.

Last year PA Cyber’s gifted-talented program dipped its toe into the nationwide America’s Battle of the Books organization with a pilot program in grades 3-5, according to GATE Director Mike Hissam.

This year some 60 GATE/STAR program students in grades 3-12 have waded deeper into the pool, with Hissam and facilitator Brian Boothby leading a high school group, facilitator Amie Waddell working with middle schoolers, and Doug Pavkovich shepherding elementary students.

“The purpose is simply to encourage students to read good books and have fun while competing with their peers,” Boothby explained.

Students were sent paperback copies of the 10 books for each age group selected by PA Cyber from this year’s America’s Battle of the Books master list.

The high school group delved first into H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” and “The Big Sky” by A.B. Guthrie Jr. Classics such as “The Pearl” by John Steinbeck and Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” are on their list.

Titles for the middle school group included “The Incredible Journey” by Sheila Bumford and “A Long Way from Chicago” by Richard Peck. “If Your Name was Changed at Ellis Island” by Ellen Levine and “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Curtis are other middle school books to be read.

Books chosen for grades 3-5 include “The Kite Fighters” by Linda Sue Park, “Christopher Mouse: the Tale of a Small Traveler” by William Wise, and “The Sword in the Tree” by Clyde Robert Bulla.

America’s Battle of the Books was founded 25 years ago to foster literacy by introducing students to quality literature. It sponsors on-site competitions from school teams in all states of the U.S., with questions gleaned from the 35 or more titles on the “Elite” book list for each grade group.

Hissam said at present, however, PA Cyber’s participation in competition among students will be online and internal.

Psst – the answer to that “wuthering” definition question? It’s a roaring sound made by the wind. Make a note.

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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.