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Battle of the Books 2016-17

October 27th, 2016

SLOCA’s Battle of the Books team from last year
{photo by Cheryl McCabe}

Did your student participate in last year’s Battle of the Books? Or did you hear about this fun competition and want to know more? Last week, 4th-6th grade students came home with this year’s Battle list! Today we will hear from our librarian, Emily Ferrarini, about this event and what to expect: 

I am pleased to announce that we will once again be hosting a Battle of the Books at SLOCA this year. Battle of the Books celebrates reading, builds relationships, and gives students a taste for friendly, positive competition. From the America’s Battle of the Books website

Our aim is to support students in their love and discovery of reading by introducing them to quality literature, to offer books that build upon historical values and dignity of life, and to develop friendships between students based upon socialization, competition, and mutual respect. 

Such a great fit for SLOCA, right? We had our first Battle last year, and it was a wonderful success. Altogether, our 4th through 6th graders read about 800 books. Amazing!

Battle of the Books is a national reading incentive program for students in 4th through 6th grades. Students who choose to participate spend the whole school year reading as many books as they can from an official Battle of the Books list, and then come together in the spring to demonstrate their knowledge of the books they have read. In May, we will host a small battle for our own students. Any student who reads at least fifteen of the books is able to participate. The winning team of our SLOCA battle will then have the opportunity to go on a field trip up to Atascadero to participate in a competition against other 4th – 6th graders in our county! 

In the library, there is a big sticker chart with space for students to print their names and keep track of their reading. It’s so fun to see it slowly fill up with stickers over the course of the school year!

The battle itself is a friendly, fun competition, and gives children a chance to celebrate reading with their friends, and to show what they know. The competition is family feud style, with students broken into teams that will compete against each other. The judge (usually a parent volunteer) will ask teams a question that begins with the phrase, “In which book…” and students will buzz in to answer with the title of the book. An extra point is given to teams able to name the author. The questions are never overly tricky, and students who have read the books well should have no problem coming up with the answers. 

For students hesitant to take part in a cutthroat competition, don’t worry! Think of it as a group game; at no point will one student be expected to know all the answers or be in the spotlight. Questions are asked to the team, not the individual. However, students who have pushed themselves to read as many books as possible will be the most desirable members of a team. And remember, the list is long (30 books) but so is the school year. You have several months to read, read, read. In order to compete at the battle, students must have read at least 15 books from the list. Any student that is able to read all 30 books will get an automatic ticket to the big battle in Atascadero, regardless of whether their team wins at the SLOCA battle.

The official list has been carefully selected to cover a wide variety of interests and reading abilities. It has been tailored to encourage even the most reluctant readers to find a title that interests them and gives them a feeling of success. For avid readers, reading as many books from the list as they can gives them a chance to shine. All students will have the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone a bit, and perhaps read about a topic or from a genre that typically isn’t their favorite. The list contains historical fiction, books about sports, books about animals, sad books, mysteries, silly books, classics, and even a picture book or two. We have at least one copy of every book in the school library, and books are also for sale in the school store. The books are paperbacks, and average about $7.

If your child is interested in taking part, they simply need to begin reading. Print out the list (links below) and put it on the fridge. Encourage your students to challenge themselves to read as many books as they can. You may read aloud to your child (yes, that counts!) or listen to an audiobook together (that counts too!) Watching a film adaptation is a fun way to celebrate having finished a book, but it is no substitute for reading the book.

One last note about Battle of the Books. The battle organization has put together a list of recommended titles for third graders. This list is the same each year, and every book on the list is wonderful – you may recognize a few from SLOCA’s Must Reads list! I encourage all 3rd graders to read from the 3rd grade list. Any student who is able to conquer all 14 books on the list will be awarded a special, secret prize from the librarian, and will be all the more prepared to compete in the battle next year as a 4th grader! The 3rd graders will not be able to participate in the competition itself. Again, all books on both lists are available in the library and the school store.

Thank you, Emily! Last year was so much fun and we know our students are looking forward to hours of delightful reading this year, as well as the competition. 

Click on the links below to download this year’s book list for 4th-6th grade, as well as the list for 3rd graders:

Battle of the Books book list 2016-2017

Battle of the Books book list for 3rd Graders


SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with the above mentioned website or organization.