I would like to express my gratitude and sincere appreciation to the Hermiston School District for their commitment to continuing a reading tradition that began at Highland Hills Elementary in 1983 — Battle of the Books.

A citywide Battle of the Books Competition occurred at West Park Elementary School this last Saturday. This event was the culminating activity for students who had battled their way to earn the privilege of representing their school after reading and studying in depth 16 titles selected by the elementary teachers last spring.

This program involves many hours of preparation and execution. First year elementary librarian Megan Reeve took on this challenge with the help of various staff members and with the support of parents and carried it to a very successful conclusion celebrating the benefits of reading. These types of programs ensure that students continue to experience the importance of the written word and teamwork.

I have witnessed firsthand the improvements in reading skills motivated by this unique program. In fact, the spokesperson for one of the teams was a student who was reading well below grade level several years ago. The student and his parents both credit Battle of the Books programs as a major influence on his reading improvement.

Kristi Smalley

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