Battle of the Books
What is Battle of the Books (also known as BOB)?
BOB is a Competitive Book Club—4th and 5th graders read 20 books over 6 months and become experts on details from the stories and compete in a tournament in which they work as teams answering book trivia questions. Questions force kids to be close readers—they learn to pay attention to content on book jackets, dedication pages, author’s notes, maps, glossaries, etc. In fact, some of my colleagues have wished to do away with these more challenging questions, but I have insisted they stay because BoB kids learn to pay attention to extraneous details surrounding books—all of which add to the context. They are better readers for the rest of their lives because of the awareness that all of the book is
worth paying attention to!
The books range from standard 4th and 5th grade level reading. Some are more challenging—some are easier. They range across the genres. And, they are chosen by the librarians and teacher coordinators of the participating schools. All in all, they are exceptional books and kids will like most on the list.
To be prepared in the Fall we recommend that interested students read 5 of the books over the summer. This is not required, but certainly helpful. During the school year, they will end up needing to read about one book a week in addition to their other school work in order to cover all of the books.
We recommend they keep a reading log. There is a sample page here, or they can create their own. Their notes should include: Title/Author, the first and last sentence of the book (this has been previous tournament questions); a section for jotting down basics about the setting (where the story takes place—country, main cities, type of location—school, countryside, etc., when the story takes place—time period in history, year, seasons, etc.); a section on main characters (who do we go through the story with? Names, age, details, personality, family, friends—not everything about them, but what stands out especially); a section on important things that happen (5 to 8 main events); a section on unusual words or things that come up in the story.