What is BOB

How did it begin?

In the 1930’s Battle of the Books was a Chicago radio program. Today it is a reading incentive program in elementary, middle and high schools across the country. All of the questions in the competition begin with the words “In which book” and the correct answer is always the title and author of the book. This program works at the individual school level as well as at the interscholastic and district wide levels. Classroom teachers, reading specialists and library media specialists spend many hours choosing books and writing questions for each year’s battles. We are a team of library media specialists with many years experience in running district wide battles. We have chosen the books and written the questions for you.

How are the books selected?

All of the books selected must be available in paperback. Books are carefully selected so that classics, award winners and new favorites are all considered. Books are selected over a range of reading levels so that all students can participate. For example: in the grades 3 and 4 list there is at least one book on the second grade level to appeal to reluctant readers and one on the fifth grade level to challenge those students reading above grade level. Care is taken to ensure that the collection is balanced with respect to male and female protagonists, the genres represented, and the ethnic groups portrayed. We also look for books in series or authors with a large body of work to encourage students to read after the competition.

How to run a competition.

The competition begins with the introduction of the books to the students. Booktalks are a good way to generate interest both in the books and in the competition. At this time a calendar or schedule should be shared with the students so they will know when the competition is to take place and when any book reports or other locally required materials are due.

Once the books and the competition have been introduced to the students they form teams of five readers. Each team has a captain who is responsible for seeing that each member of the team reads his or her assigned books. While it is desirable for each team member to have read all ten books, it is not necessary for them to do so. Excellent teams have been formed by students who have each taken the responsibility to be an expert on two books.

As the students read the books they write questions in the format of the competition. (Each question should begin “In which book…” and the answer should be the title and author.) These student generated questions are used for the school level elimination rounds.

When all but two teams have been eliminated in your building you are ready to hold your building level championship.

What is included?

The building level packet includes:

  • A copy of the rules
  • A list of recommended vendors for obtaining the books
  • Suggested procedures
  • A reproducible certificate of participation
  • Suggestions for prizes for the winning team
  • 100 “extra” questions to be used in the practice rounds
  • A sealed envelope containing the twenty questions for the final building level competition and ten tie breaker questions.

The interscholastic level packet includes:

  • Everything in the building level packet PLUS
  • Instructions for conducting the elimination rounds
  • Suggestions for awards
  • Three sealed envelopes each containing twenty questions and an envelope with ten tie-breaker questions.

The district level packet includes:

  • Everything in the interscholastic level packet PLUS
  • Instructions for conducting a district wide final
  • Suggestions for awards
  • Three sealed envelopes each containing twenty questions and five tie breaker questions.