WSP Reading Club and the Interscholastic Reading Competition

On Thursday, November 21st our Reading Club traveled to Bellwood-Antis High School to compete in the Interscholastic Reading Competition.  The students with WSP Clubs Coordinator Ms. Illar and parent chaperones made the 2 ½ hour trip just north of Altoona to compete in a 3 hour competition.  The WSP competed against almost 50 teams and was proud to take a 3rd place ribbon.

The team competed directly against three randomly assigned different schools in three rounds lasting an hour each.  Points from each round accumulating for a total score tallied to determine the winning teams.  The team started off a bit rocky, having never competed.  The first round began with the WSP having a score of 0-7, after the first 7 questions.  However, the team learned quickly both the strategy (they needed to whisper their answers more quietly so that the other team did not hear and perhaps, get a clue to an answer!) and how to work most effectively as a team.  Most importantly, they learned that they could relax, be true to themselves and still have fun.  As an example, the WSP team even acknowledged the other team’s correct answer and ask the moderator to give the other team the point.  WSP ended the first round only a few points shy of the other team.

During the second round, when the moderator joked that the students should definitely know the question to book Freaky Friday as they all probably watch the Disney T.V. show, the Waldorf students were quick to announce, “We are a media-free school!”  At which point the other team’s chaperones and teachers applauded the Waldorf team and commented how wonderful a school would encourage a media-free learning environment.  At the end of the second round, the WSP team taught the other team an intricate Waldorf clapping game to fill the time before the next round.

By round three, the WSP team continued to have fun and ended up with their best score.  The team was elated when they found out they had taken the third place ribbon.  It was remarkable to see this young, posed team in a standing room only high school auditorium receive award for both third place and the only newly entering team to ribbon.  The WSP team was also young in comparison to many other teams that had mostly 6th graders competing (the reading competition is designed for primarily 5th and 6th graders, but teams may have some 4th graders, but not a majority).  The WSP team also competed against a team that had the same teacher coach for 15 years and started reading the books during the summer so that multiple children could read many of the books.

The WSP Reading Club started in October and those students participating in the after-school club were given a list of 42 books.  The idea behind the list, determined by the Intermediate Unit, is to give 6th, 5th, and 4th graders exposure to a variety of different topics, writing styles, and complexity of story line. The selections included both fiction and non-fiction books.  Some books were fairly short, while others were lengthy books of over 200 pages.  Students began choosing which books they wanted to read and eventually divided up the remaining books so that all 42 would be completed by the competition.  Teams had to answer question as a group, with a designated team captain.

Club time, held in the library on Tuesdays after school until 4:30 pm included book discussion with students swamping to reading books others particularly enjoyed.  Snacks and lively discussion often ensued.  A mock competition round was led by Ms. Illar on the last day of club and concluded with a pizza party.  WSP Reading Club named their team the “Waldorf Cliffhangers” and including two 6th graders, four 5th graders, and three 3rd graders with one 6th grade alternate.  In true cliffhanger fashion of a suspenseful ending – the team ended the fall Reading Club with celebratory high fives and smiles all around with ribbons in hand.

Stay tuned for the Spring Reading Club…will the Waldorf Cliffhangers return to the competition on April 10th to take home another ribbon?  Will more children join this exciting club?  Will any one student read all 42 books?  Will Ms. Illar have more delicious snacks?  What will be the most popular book?  The answers to these questions and more will have to wait until 2014!  Until that time, please contact Ms. Ang Illar at games@waldorfpittsburgh.org to learn more about the Reading Club or to get involved. We can have many more students participate and can field multiple teams.  All levels of readers in 4th – 6th grade are welcome.   Here is a small sample from the 42 book spring reading list:

The Magician’s Nephew                                          Lewis, C.S.
R-T Margaret and the Rats of Nimh
                      Conly, Jane
SHH! We’re Writing the Constitution
                     Fritz, Jean
Snowboard Champ
                                                   Christopher, Matt
Who was Eleanor Roosevelt?          
                     Thompson, Gare
Song of the Trees
                                                      Taylor, Mildred
Witches of Worm      
                                                Snyder, Zilphia

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