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Let the Battle Begin! Preparing for the Annual Battle of the Books (BOB) Competition

At W.J. Gurganus Elementary, one group of fourth and fifth grade students is busily preparing for a battle in March.  The only weapons needed are books and brains.  These students are participating in the Elementary Battle of the Books, an annual competition between Craven County elementary schools, which gauges the students’ ability to read and remember the details of multiple novels.  The program fosters literacy while also teaching cooperation and communication, as the students are required to work as a team to quickly filter through information and determine answers.

             For some students, this is their first experience with Battle of the Books.  They are required to read fifteen novels, which are chosen by the North Carolina School Library Media Association.  This is a large commitment for fourth and fifth graders.  They must be self-motivated and willing to give up some extra time to reach this goal.  However, the students still choose to join the Battle of the Books team.  As fourth grader Wyatt Deuvall stated, “I wanted to read some new books, and I thought the competition would be fun.”

            Other students are already veterans to the Battle of the Books team.  Fifth graders Maura Griffee and Ophelia Steele are participating for their second year.  They have been further tasked with providing leadership and guidance to the new team members.  Ophelia said, “This year is different because there are more people to work with.  It is a great responsibility to be a leader.”  The Battle of the Books program is a useful tool in shaping these kind of positive character traits in our elementary school students, while also encouraging a love of reading.