Archive for the ‘Book Wars’ Category

By Natalie D.
Cougar News Blog

     Students at Cactus Canyon have a pool party to look forward to if they love to read and can show it.
     On May 15, students have the possibility of going to the Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center if they get 90 Accelerated Reader points by reading books and taking tests on them.
     “I’m doing my best,” said seventh grader Kyo Steward. “I can read half of a book in one day if I put my mind to it.”
     Since the party comes one week before school ends, it is almost a release for students who can’t wait for summer vacation to roll around.
     “The pool party is a great reward because it comes at the end of the year when many students are feeling restless,” said seventh grade language arts teacher Mallory Stradling. “It will be a great experience for those students to be able to have a break for all their effort.”
     For some students, the party is a motivation to keep reading and taking tests so they can reach a much wanted award.
     “If there wasn’t a reward I don’t think I would try as hard because it’s hard for me to read if I don’t really want to,” said Steward.
     Most teachers also agree that if there wasn’t a reward most of their students wouldn’t make the effort to read or take tests just for the fun of it.
     “I believe students who love to read will read for the enjoyment of reading,” said principal Courtney Castelhano. “Students who do not like to read as much may be motivated more to read by the reward party. My hope is that once students begin to read, that they will enjoy it and continue reading.”
     Students have until May 14 to get 90 points on AR and earn the pool reward.


By Raylan Jena
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon Jr. High recently had its annual Battle of the Books, which isn’t books fighting each other, but Book Club students answering trivia questions about books they read.
     This year, the group read several books, including The Maze Runner.
     The Battle of the Books was hosted by book club sponsors Sheryl Anderson and Lisa Smith.
     Other teachers, Tom Mattausch and Carol Dolle, were asked to read the books, make up questions for the competition, and serve as judges during the contest.
     “Battle of the books is competition between teams of readers who compete to answer the correct answers to the questions about the book that they read, it’s like a book trivia,” Mrs. Anderson said.
     “I liked how they asked us questions on the books we read,” Faith Tucker said.
     Like all contests there was a group of winners. Judges picked a winning team by keeping track of how many questions they get right about the books.
     “I enjoyed seeing how well the participants understand the books they read,” said Thomas Mattausch.
     Both of the guest judges explained that they want to continue to be involved in Battle of the Books for as long as they can.
     “I have been involved with Battle of the Books for many years,” Dolle said. “I always enjoy judging, and for the past couple of years I have been the question reader.”
     After the battle members watched “The Maze Runner” movie and had a party with pizza and popcorn.

By Jessica Conrad
Cougar News Blog

Students at Cactus Canyon got to take a splash into reading, literally. On Thursday, some students were able to participate at the Book Wars pool party.
Students who went to the party had to have at least 90 points on their AR goal, about 160 students were eligible to go. The party took place during fourth hour and until the end of the day.
“Having the chance to hang out and swim with my friends instead of sitting in class and working was probably the sweetest part of the reward,” said eighth grader Holly Stillman.
Students were able to swim, use the slides, wave pool, and even the diving boards. Some students even got to play volleyball.
Book Wars began at the beginning of the year to increase reading on campus. With every 15 AR points, students would get a prize. Prizes included candy bars, buttons, passes to get to lunch early, and even shirts. Right after spring break, students had the opportunity to participate in the Book Wars party held in the cafeteria.
Lisa Smith, who designed the program, said the program had a successful first year and should be even better in 2014-15.
“There were some misunderstanding at the beginning of the year, but I think with all the teachers on board next year we will see improvement in the program,” said Smith. “I think this reward was really effective in getting students to read more.”

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By Jessica Conrad
Cougar News Blog

Imagine reading just a few books, then being rewarded with awesome prizes for it. This is what happens at Cactus Canyon. On the Friday after spring break, some of CCJH’s students participated in the Book Wars party.
Book Wars is a program that rewards students different prizes for each 15 AR points they earn. The party took place in the cafeteria during seventh hour.
Some students played board games, ate popcorn, and drank root beer floats in the cafeteria, while others played volleyball and basketball in the gym. Student Council volunteered and passed out different types of prizes to everyone.
“My favorite part of the party was when my friends and I went in the gym and hung out,” said seventh grader Natalie Erb.
Reading teacher Lisa Smith is the mastermind behind Book Wars. She was the one who planned the party and the program itself. She said she thinks the program was helpful as an incentive to get students to read more.
“I definitely think students enjoyed the different levels and being able to win different prizes for reading,” said Smith. “Some students may find a book or series they like to read. Some students who read nonfiction might learn something interesting about their topic. Their main goal was to foster and encourage the love of reading.”
The next Book Wars reward will be a pool party in May for students who reach 90 points.

By Alysa Rippee
Cougar News Blog

This year at Cactus Canyon many new activities and events are ahead. One program involves two very important things — reading and rewards.
Thanks to reading specialist, Lisa Smith, a new motivational reading program is taking place. Book Wars is very different from Accelerated Reading in many ways.
“The AR program had kids locked into certain reading levels so there were fewer choices for them,” Smith said. “Also, the AR point goals were quarterly, while this one is yearly. AR also had grades attached to it, where this one has prizes and awards.”
Book Wars includes six Jedi levels: Youngling, Padawan, Jedi Knight, Jedi Master, Councilor and Grand Master. Every time a student gains 15 points, he or she graduates to a higher level and earn a prize. Prizes include: a scratch card with student incentives, a candy bar, a gym party (held in third quarter), a button with lunch privileges, a shirt, and a pool party.
“It certainly helps you not be too scared to actually take the test,” said eighth grader Brandi Brooks. “That was the main reason I never took AR quizzes; I was too scared of it harming my grade.”
Now that Book Wars is out there, kids are already rushing in to claim their prizes. A few students have already completed more than one Jedi levels in the matter of three weeks since school started.
“This program is meant to inspire a love for reading,” said said eighth-grade language arts teacher Kristen Sojourner. “ It has been proven that kids who read do better in all their classes.”
Also, for those that have trouble finding books, a website called will be available. Tumblebooks allows readers to search, hold on to, listen, and read books online. This will hopefully help people reach their Jedi goals in the most efficient way possible.
“I really hope students will pick stories that they enjoy reading,” said Smith. “I also want to reward students for their motivation to read and learn new ideas.”