Hillcrest Read Hawks celebrate reading challenge victory

To celebrate victory in Sno-Isle Libraries’ 2019 Mega-Fun, Biblio-Trivia, Rockem-Sockem Third Grade Reading Challenge, librarians rolled out pizzas and cake April 10 for Hillcrest Elementary School’s third-graders and the winning Read Hawks team.

Hillcrest Elementary School’s Read Hawks gather to celebrate their Reading Challenge victory on April 10, 2019. (Photo gallery)

The Read Hawks Lake Stevens School District scored a perfect 24 points, just edging out the Reading Racers from Brier Elementary School in the Edmonds School District.

The reading challenge is a literary trivia contest that includes three rounds of eight questions each. This year, 1,334 third-graders on 193 teams from 51 schools across Snohomish and Island counties participated, said Joy Feldman, the library district’s lead librarian for early literacy. Teams start competing within their schools, move on to semifinals and then the finals that happened March 25 at Edmonds Center for the Arts. The seven finalist teams were:

  • Brier Elementary (Brier), Reading Racers
  • Hillcrest Elementary (Lake Stevens), Read Hawks
  • Riverview Elementary (Snohomish), Mustache Readers
  • Seaview Elementary (Edmonds), Reading Lightning Pups
  • Silver Firs Elementary (Mill Creek), Star Readers
  • South Whidbey Elementary (Langley), Rocket Readers
  • Twin City Elementary (Stanwood), Royal Readers

Hillcrest school librarian Marianne Colvin said individual teachers have fielded reading-challenge teams before, but this was the first year so many of the school’s third-grade classes participated.

Colvin credited new third-grade teacher Lisa Holland for boosting buy-in for reading challenge after she transferred from Mount Pilchuck Elementary, also in the Lake Stevens School District.

“Lisa came here and said to do (reading challenge) here, too,” said Colvin, who served as a co-coach with Holland.

“I feel like (the reading challenge) is an incredibly valuable program,” Holland said. “Watching kids say, ‘I can’t read six books!’ and then seeing them read a book more than once is very empowering.”

Holland also said she likes seeing students having conversations about each of the books they’ve read.

The reading challenge also helps students learn valuable teamwork and study skills.

Karin Thomsen, children’s librarian at the Lynnwood Library, said one Hillcrest student told her, “Even if you don’t agree with a team member’s answer, you should listen and ask them where it is in the book. Then, when you have the information, the captain can decide.”

Thomsen said several students told her they read the books with their families, and one boy said his younger brothers and sisters helped him.

Colvin and Holland said they started Hillcrest’s entry in the reading challenge with a “book tasting.” Students took a look at each book, thumbed through them and read the summary, then decided which ones they wanted to read. Each book had a food or beverage to match its theme, such as mochi ice cream for “Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen,” muddy buddy Chex mix for “The Case of the Library Monster” and water for “Hurricane Katrina 2005.”

Before the Hillcrest students dug into pizza and cake, Thomsen found them enthusiastically supporting the reading challenge.

“I asked the kids if they’d recommend Reading Challenge to next year’s third graders and they said, ‘Yes!’ ” Thomsen said. “The team is already working on next year’s books.”

As for favorites, Thomsen said students wanted another “I Survived” book, another in the “Buddy Files” and more from “Frankie Pickle.”

The reading challenge is sponsored by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation and the Northwest Literacy Foundation.