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More than 1,400 students test their knowledge in "Battle of the Books."


Reading Rumble: CNY School Library Systems’ Thrilling Bookish Throwdown

eLearning and Model Schools Coordinator Amy Keesey of OCM BOCES (upper left-
hand corner) poses questions during "Battle of the Books."

June 16, 2023

Central New York recently witnessed an impressive display of intellectual prowess as more than 1,400 students from across the region participated in the highly anticipated "Regional and SuperRegional Battle of the Books."

Organized by the O²CM School Library System (SLS), this virtual quiz competition brought together students from various schools, creating an atmosphere of excitement and healthy competition.

O²CM SLS Librarian Heather Turner expressed her delight with the program. She is one of the organizers behind the virtual contest held in May and June,

"It is one of my favorite programs as we can interact and engage with students directly," she said.

Turner, along with the O²CM SLS team and other OCM BOCES Instructional Support Services (ISS) staff, worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the event.

The competition was graced by special guest question readers, including Assistant Superintendent for ISS Doreen Bergman, Midstate RBERN Coordinator Tanya Rosado-Barringer, DEI Coordinator Alyssa Haymore, SLS Coordinator Allison Comes, Model School Coordinator Amy Keesey, and STEM Coordinator Christopher Leece. Their presence added prestige to the event, motivating and inspiring the participants to do their best.

How it Works

The "Battle of the Books" is a demanding challenge that requires extensive reading and meticulous planning. Before the competition, each participant had to delve into a selection of eight books. Librarians, teachers, and educators took on the task of reading these books over the summer and generating thought-provoking questions, all beginning with the phrase, "In which book ...?"

The spring season began with actual battles, with teams of up to four students competing at various levels, including the building, district, regional, and the highly anticipated "SuperRegional" competitions.

Only one team per district earned the honor of representing their region at the regional competition for each grade band. The winning team was awarded a prestigious traveling perpetual plaque and a trophy for their school.

Additionally, each participant received a limited edition water bottle and a certificate of participation. For those unable to attend virtually on the day, all the competitions were made available for viewing on the SLS Website courtesy of the Panopto platform.

7/8 Battle

The competition kicked off on May 15 with the 7/8 grade-level teams. Seventeen formidable teams went head-to-head, each displaying remarkable knowledge and determination.

The participants included Central Square - Dynamic Duo; Chittenango - The Monkeys; DeRuyter -  DeRuyter Rockets; ESM - Team SILK; FM - Phoenix's of Middle Earth; Fulton - R4; LaFayette - Tweedles; Liverpool - The Reading Warriors; McGraw - McGraw Eagles; Mexico - Reading Empire; North Syracuse - Spoiler Alert; Oswego - Beyond the Book; Phoenix -  Phoenix Rising Readers; Pulaski CSD; Sandy Creek - The Coven; West Genesee - XL Readers; and Westhill - The Book Nooks.

In the end, Fulton's F4 emerged victorious, defending their title from the previous year, with an impressive score of 140 points, having missed only two questions throughout the intense battle.

9-12 Battle

The 9-12 grade level competition, held on May 16, showcased the knowledge and skills of teams such as Chittenango -Twisted Toddlers; Cincinnatus - Cincinnatus Lions; ESM - The Vowels; LaFayette - Bad Mother Bookers; Mexico - Tenacious Tigers; North Syracuse -  Powerpuff Girls; Phoenix - Stardust Crusaders; Pulaski CSD; and Sandy Creek CSD.

In a closely fought contest, Pulaski emerged as the winner, narrowly defeating Sandy Creek with a score of 180 points, after several thrilling tiebreaker rounds.

Librarian Heather Turner (left) with O²CM School
Library System (SLS) Coordinator Allison Comes

5/6 Battle

The 5/6 level competition took place on May 17, featuring 22 teams who brought their A-game.

The participating teams included APW - The Rebel Ready Bookers; Baldwinsville - The Book Worms; Cazenovia - Rad Readers on a Rampage; Central Square - CSMS Allstars 2.0; Chittenango - READ; Cincinnatus - Cincy Lions; Cortland Cortland - Cows, ESM - Pink Pterodactyls; Fabius-Pompey - The Creepy Cows; FM - Process of Elimination; Fulton - Royal Readers Rethroned; Hannibal - The Page Turners; LaFayette - Cover Girls; Marcellus - Rising Readers; Mexico - Will's Rockin' Racers; Oswego - The Super Readers; Oswego - Words of Wonder; Phoenix - Reading Firebirds; Pulaski - Book Brats; Sandy Creek - Bosses of Battle; West Genesee - The Four Musketeers; and Westhill - Book Gladiators.

After a spirited competition, the Central Square CSMS Allstars 2.0 emerged victorious with a score of 125 points, closely followed by the Westhill Book Gladiators with 120 points.


The top three teams from each level advanced to the SuperRegional Competition held on June 5.

The competing teams included Central Square - CSMS Allstars 2.0; Westhill - Book Gladiators; Oswego - Words of Wonder, and teams from Southern Cayuga CSD, namely The Kitten Crusaders and the Terrible Troublesome Turkeys.

The SuperRegional event was a resounding success, with Central Square CSMS Allstars 2.0 defending their regional title and clinching the overall victory with an impressive score of 130 points. With the SuperRegional level gaining popularity, the anticipation for next year's competition grows, as more teams are expected to participate.

3/4 Battle

On May 18, the 3/4 Regional Battle took place, featuring 15 competitive teams. The participating teams included APW - Super Rebel Readers; Baldwinsville - Smarty Pants; Cazenovia - Racoon Girls; DeRuyter Rockets; ESM - Cheetah Readers; Fulton - Reading Stars;  Hannibal - Wild Hot Jellybeans; LaFayette - Joyful Page Turners; Marcellus - Old and Stinky Socks; McGraw - McGraw Book Busters;  Mexico - The BRAIN-Stormers; Oswego - The Chapter Chicks; Phoenix - The Smarties; Pulaski - Page Turners Strike Back; and Sandy Creek -  Reading Rascals AKA Pax Pack.

The event proved to be an exhilarating affair, with organizers having to create tiebreaker questions on the spot due to the exceptional knowledge displayed by the teams. In the end, the victory belonged to the Oswego The Chapter Chicks, who secured an impressive 270 points, narrowly surpassing the Sandy Creek Reading Rascals AKA Pax Pack.

1/2 Battle - A First!

ESM students as young as first and second grade participated in the Battle of
the Books through OCM BOCES.

On May 19, the 1/2 teams competed for the first time in the history of the event. The students exhibited tremendous enthusiasm and delivered outstanding performances.

The competing teams included ESM, Pulaski, LaFayette, and DeRuyter.

It was a closely contested battle, with ESM's Cheetah Readers ultimately emerging victorious with 140 points, after an incredible display of knowledge and teamwork.

Reflection and Gratitude

The "Regional and SuperRegional Battle of the Books" proved to be an exhilarating celebration of reading, knowledge, and teamwork. The dedication and efforts of the participants, along with the support from educators and organizers, created a memorable experience for all involved.

As the event concluded, anticipation for next year's competition grew, promising even greater engagement and excitement with the reveal of next year's titles. Educators are even now beginning the process of reading and creating questions for next year's battle. We hope to see you there!

Regional Battle of the Books Winners:

1st & 2nd Grade

  1. ESM - Cheetah Readers

  2. Pulaski - Laura M. Sharp Champs

  3. LaFayette - Reading Squad

  3rd and 4th Grade

  1. Oswego - The Chapter Chicks

  2. Sandy Creek - Reading Rascals aka Pax Pack

  3. Mexico - The BRAIN-stormers

5th & 6th Grade

  1. Central Square - CSMS Allstars 2.0

  2. Westhill - Book Gladiators

  3. Oswego - Words of Wonder

7th & 8th Grade

  1. Fulton - R4

  2. West Genesee - XL Readers

  3. Oswego- Beyond the Book 

      3. Phoenix - Rising Readers

9th through 12th Grade

  1. Pulaski CSD

  2. Sandy Creek CSD

  3. Mexico - Tenacious Tigers

SuperRegional Winners:

5th & 6th Grade SuperRegional Competition

  1. Central Square - CSMS Allstars 2.0

  2. Westhill - Book Gladiators

  3. Oswego - Words of Wonder