Beehive Battle of the Books
Engage the students at your school in reading with a Battle of the Books program, based on the current Beehive Book Award nominees.
How to Set Up Beehive Battle of the Books
Why encourage your students to read? The Children’s Literature Association of Utah’s Beehive Book Award nominees and winners? Because it’s a great way inspire your students to read quality literature that has been selected and voted for by children throughout the state.
There are a variety of ways to use Beehive books for incentive programs—book groups, art projects and competitions to name a few.
One of the incentive-based programs we provide some materials for is a Battle of the Books competition. Battle of the Books allows students to read from a chosen list of books, receive incentives for reading and participate in contests to test their knowledge.
These contests can be organized in several different ways. It’s possible to have a smaller competition that involves all the students in a classroom, at a single school or library branch. Bigger competitions can be set up for entire school districts as well as city or county based library systems.
Smaller competitions are set up like trivia contests. Teams of 4-5 members would read the selected books during a specified period. For example teams could read in January and February and compete in battles during March and April.
- First, determine who can be on a team. Students the same age and class. Parents and children. Grandparents and grandchildren. Friends and neighbors. Or use some combination of all of these.
- Choose your booklists and ages. Choose 5 books from a list and decide on your age groups. For example, 3rd-4th graders could use information books; 5th-6th graders could use children’s fiction; and teens in junior high and high school could use books from the YA list. As participants read, they can keep track of information in a fact tracker. You can see an example here.
- Create a question bank. For each booklist, create questions that will be asked during preliminary, semi-final and final battles. Or, you can use questions from the CLAU website here to get you started.
- Make up a list of battle rules. This will set out how the competition will be run, how questions are asked and answered and help everyone know what is expected. See an example here.
- Choose dates for preliminary, semi-final, and final battles. Create a timeline for your event so organizers and participants know what is going on. Organizers should consider if they will offer prizes. If so, what will they be (certificates, lanyards with pins, money for a library or school store etc.) At what level of competition will they be offered. Will other activities be planned to coincide during the battle period.
- Arrange volunteers to help. Find volunteers to help with sign-ups, judging and managing competitions.
Larger competitions are set up more like game show contests. Teams of 4-5 members read the selected books during a specified period and prepare for the competitions. When students complete a book, they can visit with a school librarian, teacher or program mentor to review what they have learned and then receive recognition for completing the book. The recognition can be in the form of a certificate, lanyard with a pin for each book, etc.
Students can have practice scrimmages so they understand how the questions in the battles will be asked. School/library branch competitions can take the form of a round robin, direct elimination, etc. Winners of these competitions then advance to the district/final competition.
Because of the number of students/participants, larger scale competitions require more planning, paperwork and practice.
You will need a question bank, score sheets and any prize incentives you decide to use.
The Granite School District hosts a large and successful Battle of the Books competition each year. Their website is a great resource for information on set up and structure. There are also sample score sheets and other documents you can use. Finally, there are videos so you can see how various competitions are done.
- Visit their website here for more information.
- Here is a link to a blog post about their 2018 competition. This post also includes a link of their final battle.
Battle of the Books Question Banks