Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of the Reading Olympics?
A.: To foster a love of reading, to teach cooperation and teamwork, and to expose children to local college campuses.

Getting Started / Registration

How do I register a team?
A.: Registration opens October 2016. Whether you are registering an Intermediate Team (grades 4-6) or a Middle School Team (grades 6-8) you register on line. Find the link on the Philadelphia READS website on the Reading Olympics page.

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 after payment has been received. The contract must be signed and returned in order for the registration to be valid.

When does registration close?
A.: January 15, 2017 is our deadline, but registration will close when all slots are filled should that happen sooner.

Why is grade 6 listed as both intermediate and middle school?
A.: This is because some elementary schools go up to grade 6, but some middle schools start at grade 6 as well.

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.

How many teams may I register?
A.: For 2017, you may register:
Intermediate teams – 2 teams – 12 students + 2 alternates for each team.
Middle School teams – 2 teams – 12 students + 2 alternates for each team.
No more than 14 students per team may attend the competition in May for either age group.

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. Competition dates are determined by the colleges and universities who host us.

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

How do I find the booklist?
A.: The intermediate list of 20 books and the middle school list of 15 books will be posted on our website when registration opens. A tracking form can be found on page 14 and a list to be sent home to parents on page 23. Please be sure to use the Philadelphia READS book list- not the book list counties use.

Where can I get the books?
A.: Teams are responsible for finding their own books. Both Towne Book Center (townebc.com) and Children’s Book World (http://www.childrensbookworld.net/) are vendors we have worked with and accept purchase orders. When ordering from a vendor, make sure that you let them know which level book collection you need.
Often the Philadelphia Reads book bank has some of the books; stop in on Wednesday afternoons during the school year. (www.philareads.org)

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.

Where can I get sample questions for the books?
A.: Sample questions will be provided on the website in the spring.

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.

Some of the books on the list are very easy/hard for my group. Why?
A.: We recommend that 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

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, arranging transportation for the team to get to and from the competition and communicates with the Reading Olympics staff as required.
It is also our expectation that you will preview all resources before you use them with your students to be sure that they are appropriate for your particular group. For more information on expectations see page 4 and page 8.

The Competition

When will I know the date and location for the competition for my team?
A.: You will receive an email after registration has closed from a site coordinator.

What time is the competition?
A: Registration begins at about 9:30. There are 3 rounds of competition. The first round usually begins about 10am. 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 their buses no later than 12:30.

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.

Why aren’t lunches 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.

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 READS 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.

Why don’t we have one overall winner?
A.: Our goal is to foster a love of reading and to teach cooperation and teamwork.

My students and I love the Philadelphia READS Reading Olympics. Is there a way I can I help support the Olympics?
A.: Yes! You can make a donation to Philadelphia READS – Your generous donation supports Reading Olympics and the other Philadelphia Reads core programs.

You can either donate directly on our website: www.philareads.org using the links for Paypal or through United Way. Please quote United Way #12682.

If you purchase books from Amazon, visit www.philareads.org first, select the Amazon link, which will take you straight to their website, but a small donation will be paid to us at no extra cost to you.

If I have any questions about anything to do with the Reading Olympics, who should I contact?
A.: Call or email our office at readingolympics@philareads.org or (215) 279 – 7450.