Battle of the Books (by Mrs. Renken)

Battle of the Books, playfully referred to as BOB, is a program that celebrates everything reading.  BOB is a program that requires teamwork and dedication to a list of books for competition.  Students in 4th and 5th grade in the BOB program meet every Tuesday morning before school.  This weekly practice prepares students for the final game-style competition in March.  Coaches and students get to work together to become experts about the books we read, literally practicing to remember important, and even not so important, details about each book.  We have fun working together.  If you ask a BOB student or coach about a particular book, they will likely answer you with the information you asked.  And then they will tell you the title and author too, because that is how it is done in the final competition! 

This year students get to read books from the list of 18 developed in partnership with the 8-10 schools that participate in the program.  Students choose 12 stories to read from this list of award winning books.  We, coaches and students, begin reading over the summer and will continue to read as the school year progresses.  These dedicated students fill out a Reading Log for each book they read to record specific information about the stories, characters, events, and even some very particular details.  Coaches develop questions from each book that all begin like this:  “In which book…..”  These are our practice questions to prepare for the final competition.  It is a joy to watch the students help one another remember and answer the questions while we practice.  

This year we have 9 very enthusiastic students that will vie for the coveted 6 team member and one alternate position for the March competition.  Students are chosen based on a predetermined set of criteria: meeting attendance,  # of books read, Reading logs completed, score on the title/author test, leadership skills, and ability to work with others.  Since our first competition 4 years ago, St. Paul’s has been well represented.  We have taken 4th place twice.  This year the team has decided they want to end the competition taking 3rd place or higher.  Lofty goals but well within reach!

BOB members develop life and learning skills from the program. After reading for BOB, students’ recall is honed and reading to learn is magnified. Students mature in their reading choices.  And of course team building and cooperation skills are enhanced.  We have fun and read, read, read.  There’s no better way to start a Tuesday morning than with a good book!!