Battle of the Books is Back!

Aaron E, Columnist

It’s that time of year again. Battle of the Books is back! Battle of the Books (BOB) is a loved academic competition for the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students at St. Robert School. Each team of three students, organized by grade level, are assigned a list of 45 different books, and the students need to read as many as they can before the battles start. During battles, the teams are asked questions about the stories, and they must guess which book and its author that question belongs to. Due to COVID-19 last year’s competitions were hosted online, but this year students will be back to battling in person. 

Battle of the Books teams are also rewarded for hitting certain milestones. Lisa Makowski, one of the coordinators for BOB, says that “We encourage little milestones along the way so kids continue to read and wait until the end. We track pages read versus books complete.” This has been different from previous years because books read was the main statistic a team would look at to see how far along they were. This year some milestones were ice cream and a pizza party for reading a certain number of pages as a group. 

Furthermore, last year battles were held online due to COVID-19, but this year they have returned back to in-person battles. Despite this, Lisa Makowski claims, “I think we will need to do some [battles] outside of school.” This is because a lot more battles will be taking place this year. Also, a few changes have been made to the battle system. This year battles will take place with one team instead of two. Lisa Makowski says that there “aren’t any benefits with head-to-head-battles.” This is because teams do not answer the same questions. Instead each team is given a different set of questions to score points which is why head-to-head battles are impractical. 

Moreover, there are plenty of good books on the Battle of the Books list for the young readers to enjoy. Ryan Makowski, one of the team members of The Three Bookateers, said this when being asked about what book is his favorite book, “This year my favorite book is Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.” The books that are selected are all very good quality children’s literature. A lot of these books appeal to audiences of all ages although it may not appear that way if one judges by the title alone. Plus, plenty of these books have received awards, such as the Newbery Award or the Coretta Scott King Award. 

After reading all of these fantastic stories, the teams have many ways to study for their competitions. Rylan says that his team “studies a lot later in the year. One way we study is by making flashcards to help with titles and authors.” This method is something that several of the teams use to help study. This is a recommended method because of how easy flash cards are to make, and also how effective they are for memorization of quick facts. Another preparation factor during BOB is making time for the contestants to read their books. Rylan states, “I read whenever I have time…I don’t have a schedule for when I read. Wherever it fits in works well for me.” While Rylan is able to squeeze reading in without scheduling it, others may have to block out time each day dedicated to reading. However, for readers like Rylan, not a lot of scheduling is necessary in terms of when people read books. 

In conclusion, Battle of the Books is a loved competition by students. It encourages many to get invested in reading quality books, which is something that strengthens knowledge, language skills, and a positivity towards learning. This is a great opportunity to do something fun and exciting but also learn along the way. 

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