BATTLE OF THE BOOKS is a reading motivation program. The goals of
the program are to encourage reading for pleasure, broaden reading
interest, and recognize students who enjoy reading.
Student teams of approximately four to six members read a variety of
assigned books through the year. Then, students collaborate to discuss
the titles, quiz each other on the content, and then compete in these
teams to correctly answer questions based upon the books. The questions
used ALL begin with “In what book …” so answers will always be a title and an author.
The state-wide program involves a cooperative effort by many
individuals and local groups. It is popular with students and has
provided new opportunities for academic competition. Also, BATTLE OF
THE BOOKS has proven itself to be effective in its specific purpose: to
stimulate an interest in reading.
The original idea for BATTLE OF THE BOOKS came from a radio program
sponsored by the Chicago Public Library in the early 1940’s. A student
participant in that radio show became a school librarian in Urbana,
Illinois and reconstructed her memory of the radio show for use in her
About ten years later, another Chicago area school librarian found
her way to Kodiak, Alaska and took the BATTLE OF THE BOOKS idea with
her. She used it in Kodiak, and word of the program spread. In
1983-1984, fourteen school districts around Alaska participated in
the program, and the first statewide tournament was held via
audio-conference in April 1984. By 1984, twenty-six districts were
involved. During the Fall 1985 NJ Association of School Librarians
Conference, Roslyn Goodman shared the Alaskan experience with New Jersey
librarians, and in the Fall of 1986 New Jersey began its own BATTLE OF
THE BOOKS program. – Our Thanks to Alaska!
Welcome to the Elementary Battle of the Books
The Township of Union Public School District is proud to be part of this reading motivation program.
The purpose of the Elementary Battle of the Books program is to
encourage reading by all students at the elementary level. Students,
regardless of ability, are exposed to quality literature representing a
variety of literary styles and viewpoints by prominent authors in the
area of children and young adult literature. The game format creates
interest and excitement in reading. Through the fun and excitement of
the competition, students improve reading skills, mature in their
choices of reading materials and acquire a broader knowledge base. Even
during the height of the competition, students and all involved should
remember that the goal is to READ, not necessarily to win!
In addition, this program recognizes students who demonstrate
knowledge of books. Through the Elementary Battle of the Books, we
strive to promote a love of literature and the important character
education goals of teamwork, respect, and good sportsmanship.
*Please note: At the elementary level, modifications have been made to best fit the needs of our students.
Short term benefits:
The opportunity to read and discuss quality literature with their peers, thereby formulating discussion techniques (group dynamics, recognition of responsibilities, contributing insights and responses).
Becoming life-long readers as a result of their development of camaraderie, sharing the love of reading, broadening of their knowledge base, and selection of a variety of reading genres.
The development of social skills and group dynamics will lend itself to their becoming citizens who contribute to their communities. As students extend their discussions beyond the group, they will serve as examples to others.