Reading Tips

Contributed by Patty Hill of Kealing Middle School

Scorekeeper Cues
1.  You’ll have to say “power” if the team answers before the power mark. Teams get 15 points for a tossup answered before the power mark.

2.  You’ll have to say “neg 5” if a team interrupts the question with the wrong answer.  You don’t “neg” the 2nd team if they also give an incorrect interrupt after the first team negged, just say “wrong, no penalty”.  You shouldn’t have that problem with an experienced team, as they all know to wait until the end of the question if the other team negs.

3.  If the team gets the questions right at the end, you say “correct.”  If they guess wrong at the end of the questions you say “incorrect, no penalty” or just “no penalty”.

4.  You should say “Toss-up” and then the number before each toss-up.  Some people and get all fancy and say things like “toss-up the first” and “penultimate toss-up”.  You don’t have to do that though.  Most readers will say “and now your bonus” before they read the bonus.  If a team buzzes during the other team’s bonus, just say, that’s “a bonus for the other team” and don’t penalize.

5.  After 10 questions, you’ll have to indicate that it is the half.  Do a score check.  The score keeper will read the score and anyone in the audience keeping score will verify if that is correct.  If it is not, it will be resolved then.  Then, ask if there will be any substitutions.  Then move on to the next half.

Other Rules
1.  You’ll probably have to clear the buzzers as your score keeper will be busy.  The teams will remind you if you don’t clear a buzzer.

2.  You’ll have to judge whether or not to accept an answer.  In general phonetic pronunciations are accept.  Don’t accept an answer with added syllables.  If the kids get the vowels off, but consonant sounds right, those are usually acceptable.  The packet’s answer lines will tell you what to prompt on, what is also acceptable, etc.  Stick with what the packet says is correct.  Don’t accept answers that are “kinda close” unless the answer in the packet says to.  The bolded-underlined portion of the answer is required. If the student only gives part of that, say “prompt” and ask them for more information. If for instance a student said “Adams” for a president  you have to prompt for a more specific answer.

3.  Teams are allowed a single time-out.  They have to call it between toss-ups. Teams get 30 seconds for the timeout. Both coaches may have a discussion with the students or make a subtitution. Call for a scorecheck during a timeout.

4. Teams can ask for a score check at any time, but this must not slow down the game.  In general providing a scorecheck at halftime, after tossup 15, and after question 19 is sufficient. Sometimes a team will request a scorecheck after each tossup. This is unaccpetable. Officially a team is allow only one scorecheck with their timeout.

5.  Protests will only be considered at the end of the game. A team may protest by saying “protest” during the match. Do not discuss the protest then. Replied “noted” and move on. A protest will only be consider if the outcome of the game is in question. If one team is up by 200, for instance, the protest is automatically denied. Please do not make any judgement calls on protests. If the resolution of the protest is not immdiately clear or acceptable to both teams, contact the tournament director to adjudicate it.

6.  Read as quickly as you can without sacrificing clarity and enunciation.

7. Never editorialize or comment on play during a game. Do not engage in banter with students or coaches. Read only what is in the packet and move on. Minimizing side talk will help make the tournament more efficient. The fewer words (outside of the packet) you say the faster the match will be complete.

8.  A moderator is not allowed to repeat a question to a team that missed it.

9. Teams are not allowed to confer during a tossup. If a team talks call them for conferring and disqualify it from that tossup.

10.  If a match ends in a tie, don’t break it.  Ties remain at the end of a match during the preliminary rounds.

11.  Computation tossups are skipped. Computation bonuses are not.

12.  You always prompt a team for bonus answers after 5 seconds, by saying  “answer please.” You never prompt for tossups. If a student who has buzzed in does not begin his answer within 2 seconds, call “time” and disqualify his team from that tossup.

13.  If a student enters the room after a match has started he may not enter until the next substitution opportunity (halftime or timeout).


1.  You give a kid two seconds to answer a tossups once buzz has happened.

2.  You give teams 5 seconds after you finish reading a tossup to buzz in to answer before declaring it dead.

3.  You give 5 seconds form the time you finish reading a bonus until you give a bonus prompt to the captain.  Captain must immediately answer or defer.  If defer, the designee must immediately answer.

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