The Battle of the Books A Comprehension Based Reading Program By Allison Gorsuch
What is the Battle of the Books? • The Battle of the Books (BOB) is a nationwide program sponsored primarily in middle schools. • BOB is coordinated between the state and regional school districts and library associations in each individual state. • The North Carolina BOB program is a partnership between the NC School Library Media Association and middle schools statewide.
To compete in the program, students in each grade read books from a preselected list • Each English class chooses a representative and students compete against each other by answering comprehension questions from books on their BOB list. Students gain points from answering a question with the right book and author. • Students who win in their English classes go on to compete with other students in their grade in the school. School winners go on to the county competition, and so on.
How the partnerships work… • The BOB program works well when school media specialists can coordinate with individual English teachers in a school to provide resources and access to BOB books. • Getting cooperation between school media specialists and local public library media specialists helps to make BOB materials readily available to all students and promote the program to the public
Get the local PTA involved for the purposes of investing community effort in the program and for funding to buy copies of BOB books for school libraries and public libraries. • Compromise and take pressure off of school media specialists by asking public library specialists to create questions for competitions and by allowing students to make suggestions.
What makes Battle of the Books work well in schools… • Unlike programs where students are simply encouraged to complete as many hours reading at home as possible, BOB means students must read their books well and read many books, not just many minutes. • Benefits include encouraging students to think and comprehend what they are reading as well as allowing students a wide variety of choice in the books they read. • Students love the competition aspect and it encourages them to read more books on the list
Additions that can enhance BOB… • Read-A-Thon- These can be a good way to kick off a BOB program in an individual school at the beginning of the year. Have kids sign up to stay after school for several hours and make sure each student has a BOB book to read. • Set up a box specifically for student questions in the library or English classrooms. These questions can be used for class review. One or two questions can be chosen to be read each week during morning announcements and students whose questions are chosen can then receive a small prize.
North Carolina Battle of the Books • At the 2005 NCSMLA conference, the concept of creating an Elementary School BOB program was discussed and is currently in the works. • The NCSLMA posts an annual list of all the books and provides links to other school and state websites related to BOB. The website is: http://www.ncslma.org/BookCompetitions/bookcompetitions.htm
How BOB books are chosen… • Every few years books on the BOB list change and rotate so that questions can be reused but books that were not well liked can also be cycled out and new books added. • Some books on the list are the same every year. For example, “Good Night, Mr. Tom” has been on the BOB list since I was in middle school and I can remember reading it for my own competitions.
Sources… • http://www.daily-tangents.com/BOB/national/ • http://www.ncslma.org/BookCompetitions/bookcompetitions.htm • http://www.battleofthebooks.org/how.html • Aiken, Louisa. (Spring 2001). Wilson Web: A Bigger ‘Battle.’ School Library Journal, 47 (9). Retrieved on April 12, 2006. • Bilmes, David. (Fall 2005). Wilson Web: Battle of the Books: A Step-By-Step Approach. Library Media Connection, 23 (5). Retrieved on April 12, 2006.