Q. What are the goals of the Reading Olympics?

A: To foster a love of reading and to teach cooperation and teamwork.

Getting Started/Registration

Q. How do I register a team?

A:  Details for registration will be posted during the month of November 2014 for the 2015 Reading Olympics.

Q. How will I know if my registration has been received?

A: You will receive an immediate confirmation that your registration has been submitted successfully and a contract to be signed by the team coach and the principal will be sent to you.  The contract must be signed and returned in order for the registration to be valid.

Q. When does registration close?

A: January 15th is our deadline, but registration will close when all slots are filled should that happen sooner.

Q. What happens if I am put on a waiting list?

A:  If a team drops out, or more space is secured you will be called in the order that you registered.

Q. How many teams may I register?

A: You may register:

  • Intermediate teams – 2 teams – 12 students + 2 alternates for each team.
  • Middle School teams – 1 team per school with 12 students + 2 alternates.

No more than 14 students per team may attend the competition in May for either age group.

Q. If I register an Intermediate team and a Middle School team will they be competing on the same day/place?

A:  Not necessarily, the Middle School competition is usually held on a different day or week. The dates are determined by the colleges and universities that host the competitions.

Q. Why are there limitations on the number of teams and students per team?

A:  We have limited space at our host colleges and universities.  We’d like as many schools/groups to participate as possible.

The Books

Q. How do I find the book list?

A:  The 2015 book lists will be posted by the beginning of October 2014.

Q. Where can I get the books?

A:  Teams are responsible for finding their own books.  Both  Towne Book Center and Café, http://www.townebc.com/) and Children’s Book World (http://www.childrensbookworld.net/) are vendors we have worked with and accept purchase orders.  Often the Philadelphia READS Book Bank has some of the books; stop in on Wednesday afternoons during the school year. See the Philadelphia READS website (www.philareads.org) for more information.

Q. What happens if I am unable to get one of the titles on the list?

A:  Each team is responsible for having read all the titles on the lists.  Each team will be asked questions about each of the books.  There are no exceptions.

Q. Where can I get sample questions for the books?

A:  Sample questions will be provided on the website.

Q. How are the books chosen?

A: A committee of librarians and educators carefully choose titles that represent a wide range of interest and ability. The list includes books that reflect the cultures and ethnicities of the city of Philadelphia.

Q. Some of the books are very easy/hard for my group. Why?

A: We recommend that the teams are made up of a mix of the three grades and therefore we provide books with a range of reading levels. We hope that teams are composed of a variety of readers and not just the “best readers” in the school. Remember, our goal is to foster a love of reading!

The Team Coach

Q. What is the role of the team coach?

A: The primary task of the team coach is to “hook” your students on books. The team coach

  • makes sure the team is fully prepared to compete,
  • is responsible for making the books available to the students,
  • arranges transportation for the team to get to and from the competition and
  • communicates with the Reading Olympics staff as required.

For more information on expectations see the Intermediate Coach Manual or the Middle School Coach Manual.

The Competition

Q. When will I know the date and location for the competition for my team?

A:  You will receive an email in late January or early February after registration has closed.

Q. What time is the competition?

A:  Registration begins at about 9:30.  There are 3 rounds of competition.  The first round usually begins about 10 am.  The actual time depends upon the arrival of teams.  Each round lasts approximately ½ hour.  The award ceremony begins as soon as the third round is completed.  We try to begin as early as possible so that we can have everyone back on his or her buses no later than 12:30.

Q. Why is the competition in May?

A:  The colleges and universities that we use to hold our competitions are able to provide the space we need during the week between the spring semester and the first summer session.

Q. Why aren’t lunch or snacks provided?

A:  Most of the colleges and universities do not allow food in their classrooms and auditoriums.  In addition, we have no funds to purchase lunch for the students.  Many schools have lunch celebrations for their teams when they return to school.

Q. Why don’t the questioners (moderators) read the books first?

A:  The moderators and scorekeepers are volunteers.  We require about 200 volunteers to run the Philadelphia Reading Olympics.  We rely on businesses, civic groups and retirees to serve as volunteers.  We are grateful for their help and cannot require them to read the books.

Q. Why don’t we have one overall winner?

A:  Our goal is to foster a love of reading and to teach cooperation and teamwork.

Q. My students and I love the Philadelphia Reading Olympics. Is there a way I can support the Olympics?

A: Yes! You can make a donation the Philadelphia READS. Your generous donation supports Reading Olympics and the other Philadelphia Reads core programs.

Q. If I have a question whom should I contact?

A: Call or email Philadelphia Reads: 215-279-7450 or  Readingolympics@philareads.org.