• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Battle of the Books

Page history last edited by Jacque E. Peterson 10 years, 9 months ago

Battle of the Books is a statewide reading motivational and comprehension program sponsored by the Alaska Association of School Librarians. For over 25 years, school librarians from all around the state have participated in the selection of a reading list for every grade level of readers. Books are selected for their appeal to readers, their diversity, and their availability in paperback format. Attempts are made to vary the titles chosen as to genre and difficulty, so that readers may encounter a broad range of books. Many new books are selected, but each list contains some books that have appeared on the list before, so that the cost for districts in purchasing multiple copies is not so great.


At the annual AkLA Conference held in the spring, the lists are compiled, discussed and finalized. They are published by AkASL in their newsletter, Puffin, on the AkASL website ( http://www.akla.org/akasl/bb/bbhome.html ). The lists contain ordering information and ISBN numbers for each book. At the spring conference, the committee also solicits volunteers to write between 75 and 100 questions on each book. The questions will be posted on the AkASL website (address listed above) in the late fall or early winter. During the fall and winter, students read the books for their grade level and prepare to answer questions based on those books. Some districts spend part of their reading program time and budget on the Battle of the Books. Many librarians (and teachers) have devised games, lessons, and projects based on these books. These suggestions are available in the Battle of the Books Handbook, which is found on the AkASL website listed above.


As “tournament” time draws near, students form teams of three, plus an alternate, work together to read and reread all the books on their list. For every question, the team has 30 seconds to confer and identify the correct book. “Battles” consist of rounds of questions. All questions can be answered with a title from the appropriate list, and bonus points are awarded for identifying the author. Local and district level “battles” may be conducted face-to-face or by audio-conference. Each district enrolled arranges its own schedule and methods for local and district level “battling”, but must select a district championship team for grade levels 3-12 by early February.


In February, AkASL arranges statewide audio-conferences to allow district champions in grades 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, and high school from all over Alaska the opportunity to compete for the chance to become State Champions. K-2 grade levels do not "battle" state-wide. Some bookstores provide prizes for each district’s winning teams, and AkASL offers promotional items for purchase as well as bookmarks and certificates for download to recognize winners and participants. PTAs and community groups are often willing to help in the purchase of promotional items. Thousands of Alaskan students have participated since the program began in 1981.


Students take the “battle” very seriously and this competition often sparks as much excitement as any sporting event. Battle of the Books encourages children to read widely and carefully and makes reading a team activity. The students who win school, district, or state championships are given the same kind of recognition as sports champions and, for many bright-but-quiet children, it is a unique chance to shine.


To become a part of the AkASL Battle of the Books Program, each individual school district’s Battle of the Books coordinator must send in the registration form with the appropriate fee to the AkASL treasurer. Enrollment in Battle of the Books is usually done at the district level although it is certainly possible for a single school to join if it wishes. Current charges are listed below. These fees pay for the publishing of questions and 4 days of audioconferencing to determine state champions.


Basic Registration (for a district regardless of number of schools) is $195.00. This includes informational mailings, Battle of the Books Handbook, current booklist, practice and district questions for each level, advance booklists for the next year, and the right to duplicate all materials.


Basic RegistrationPlus (for a district regardless of number of schools) is $495.00. This includes everything listed under Basic Registration,, PLUS participation in the state audioconference battles for each level registered, except K-2.


Basic RegistrationPlus 2 (must meet size requirement of 30 schools) is $795.00. This includes everything listed under Basic Registration, PLUS participation of 2 teams in the state audioconference battles for each level registered, except K-2.


 If you have questions about the program or would like to see the current book list, visit the web page at http://www.akla.org/akasl/bb/bbhome.html or contact the School Library Coordinator at the State Library, 269-6571 or 1-800-776-6566 (in Alaska outside of Anchorage).


A sample Question

IN WHICH BOOK does a character refuse to be the best man at a wedding?

Answer: Arrowsmith (for 5 points)

by Sinclair Lewis (for an additional 3 points)

(The question sheet also has the page number on which this question is found in case a team challenges a verdict of “wrong”.)

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.