Saturday, August 29, 2015

Getting Started with Battle of the Books

I hope that everyone is have a magnificent start to the school year. Overwhelming, I know, but magnificent none the less. I’ve had a lot of students asking about Battle of the Books this year, and I’m excited to start! I think that we will start meeting after Labor Day. For those of you who are doing Battle of the Books (or BoB, as we fondly call it) for the first time, here is how I go about it. And whether it’s your first time or not, please share your thoughts and ideas!

On the flier that I send out to students (any fourth or fifth grade that is interested) I include the books, a request for a $10 donation, and a place for parents to sign that their students may read the books. Some of the Battle Books are not on our district’s approved list because they are newer titles. Therefore, it’s important that parents sign their consent for their student to read the books. The $10 donation is optional, and I really appreciate the help towards buying books. Last year, we had 50 students in BoB (so awesome!!) - obviously I was not going to buy 50 copies of each book. Instead, I buy as many as I can and students are reading different books at different times. I dedicate a bookshelf just for Battle Books and students can return and borrow anytime they need.

We met on Wednesdays every other week during the student's lunch time. (Some of them stayed for recess also, some of them just came during lunch.) For our first meeting, my amazing colleague put out 10 well known picture books. We circled around the books and asked questions that were like Battle questions, but the students could answer easily just looking at the picture books. (Think scaffold practicing.) So, we might pose a question like, “In which book does a girl have an adventure with her father?” (Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen) or “In which book does a boy have a special relationship with a tree?” (The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein)

After that, we did a lot of just verbally posing questions to each other. I encouraged students to practice writing questions as they were reading so they were making themselves aware of the details. (For our LPS Battle of the Books, we have a shared Google Spreadsheet where all students are writing questions for all the books. It’s a great resource and the students are doing all of the work!) We did one day where we did a matching game of the title and the author, because answering with the complete title and complete author is a requirement but something they are not used to. We also did a fun Kahoot about the Battle Books (here is the Kahoot from last year ; I’ll make another one and share it later on this fall)


  1. I love the ide a of using picture books to start so kids get the idea! I'm also planning to use some Kahoots and Google Form quizzes as we get farther into the "season." Getting the results from those types of quizzes helped me choose my final team of 5.

  2. Please share you kids love them, but I have not gotten proficient at creating them yet!!

  3. Please share you kids love them, but I have not gotten proficient at creating them yet!!