battle of the books title with dueling knights

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 library.


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!
battle of the books banner
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.

knight walking out of book
Additional Goals:

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).

Long-term benefits:

  • 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.
Character Development:
  • 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.

(Source: Mays)


*Stayed tuned for more details regarding the Battle of the Books…