Read, discuss, compete: new Reading Olympics team at EHS

This+year%27s+Reading+Olympics+books+are+on+display+in+the+EHS+library.+Photo+courtesy+of+Kelly+Bower.

This year’s Reading Olympics books are on display in the EHS library. Photo courtesy of Kelly Bower.

Meliha Anthony

Kelly Bower, the Emmaus High School librarian, is starting a Reading Olympics team this school year.

Reading Olympics is a club where students read and discuss books given to them on a list, and then in the spring, they compete against other high schools based on their knowledge of the books. This year, the competition is in April, although it is still unknown if it will be in-person or virtual due to COVID-19. 

Bower has wanted to start a Reading Olympics team for a long time after talking with Janet Spence, the now-retired former librarian at Lower Macungie Middle School. Through these conversations, she heard about their Reading Olympics team at the middle school, and wondered if it would be possible to start one at EHS. Recently, with the coronavirus pandemic, Bower decided that it was finally time to take action. 

“The pandemic got me thinking a little differently, because I think a lot of us have more time at home now,” Bower said. “I’m spending more time reading, and I was thinking maybe students who didn’t have the time before might have time now.”

This year’s Reading Olympics books are on display in the EHS library. Photo courtesy of Kelly Bower.

Reading Olympics has multiple layers to it. It is an opportunity for students to read new books and expand their knowledge, but also to meet new people, build friendships and connect with each other through their discussions of the books.

“There’s an isolation component where you read by yourself, there is a social component to it where you meet with other people, and share, and become friends hopefully, and then there is a competitive component,” Bower said.

Bower also wants to make students aware that she is there for them, and that the library is available as a resource as well.

“We’re in the back of the school,” Bower said. “It’d be nice to let people know we’re alive. We’re here, and we’re trying. [I’m hoping] to make the pandemic a little more bearable, if I can, in a library way.”

There are a total of 25 books on this year’s list, which will be divided amongst members of the club. Some of the books include “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” by Mark Haddon, “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon, “Pumpkinheads” by Rainbow Rowell, and “Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac” by Gabrielle Zevin.

Reading Olympics meets on Mondays and is open to new joining members until Christmas break. For Zoom meeting information, please contact Kelly Bower at [email protected]