Twenty two 5th graders have been busy since December reading a list of 10 books chosen to be a part of the 2015 Battle of the Books. Students formed teams of 4-5 students. Each student read at least 5 books and agreed to be an “expert” on at least 2 books. Here are this year’s titles:
- Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn
- Escaping the Giant Wave by Peg Kehret
- Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
- One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
- The Giant Slayer by Ian Lawrence
- Shooting Kabul by N H Senzai
- Wonder by R J Palacio
- Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
- A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole
- Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Students spent 2 days per week practicing during their lunch for about 30 minutes. In Battle of the Books, a detail from one of the books is given in the form of a question. For example, “In which book does a principal wink when a big surprise is coming up?” On their team, students have 30 seconds to huddle and discuss. The team captain gives the answer of the book title and author. For example “Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea”. If they get the question right, they get 5 points. If they miss it, the next team has a chance to steal the question for 3 points.
Today, our 5th graders participated in 2 rounds of competition. Their scores from each round were totaled and the two top teams competed in a final battle with 20 questions in the library. The Reading Mustache Panthers and LJSG were our top 2 teams.
As usual, the competition was fierce, but in the end the Reading Mustache Panters are the 2015 winners.
Each year, I think about how Battle of the Books fits within our library program. It takes a lot of time, but each year I see students get involved in this competition that don’t get involved in other things the rest of the year. I also see students who discover new favorite books and authors because they have to read from a list. Even though some of the pieces of Battle of the Books don’t mesh with my own personal preferences, they do speak to what some students like. For that reason, I think Battle of the Books is one piece of our library program that should stay. I wouldn’t want our whole program to be based on reading lists and competition, but I’m so glad that a small part is.
Congratulations to this year’s winners. Now, they will go on to the district competition and compete against the other 13 elementary schools in the district to defend our district title.