Battle of the Books

SLS Hosts Regional Book Battle
Posted on 05/22/2023

The MOBOCES School Library System hosted its first Regional Battle of the Books, a friendly inter-district competition designed to encourage students to explore new books and increase engagement with their school library.

Student teams from six school districts joined in the tournament, which had five age-based categories each featuring different books. School librarians served as team coaches, helping interested students obtain copies of books, discuss content and practice questions in preparation for live, virtual quiz bowl-style competitions.

Briana Linder, the librarian at Stokes Elementary School in Rome, coached five teams of 5th and 6th graders, working with them through a book club over the course of four months. Two of her 5th grade teams finished in 1st and 2nd place, and she said the 20 participants from Stokes were all excited about the event.

“It was really amazing how some kids came alive reading and talking about books together. It was really meaningful for them,” Linder said. “I saw several students become more confident in themselves and it helped several students improve their comprehension skills because they had an end goal to work toward.”

More photos are posted on our Facebook page.

VVSDuring the five hour-long competition events, SLS Coordinator Sue LeBlanc served as the host and question reader, and Media Librarian Cathi Brewer served as judge and scorer. LeBlanc read 20 questions, one at a time, focusing on a plot or character point in one of the books on the grade-level reading list, and each team had an opportunity to answer each question.

LeBlanc said area librarians had been discussing a regional book battle for some time, so she looked into how some other BOCES regions conducted their competitions, seeking out recommendations for book titles and contest questions from her colleagues across the state.

Two teams, totaling 6 students, from VVS Middle School competed and they finished in 1st and 3rd place in the middle school category. Librarian Amy Austin said her students are already excited to compete again.

“I’m hoping that next year, now that we know exactly how the competition works and we will have a winning banner hanging here, that it will encourage some other students to try it,” she said. “I had students that wanted to read the books, even though they didn’t want to be in the actual competition. I count that as a win!”

Participating students hailed from Camden, Canastota, Rome, Madison, Morrisville-Eaton and VVS. Some districts had multiple buildings participate and many buildings had multiple teams.

All participants received a Battle of the Books water bottle, and the top 3 teams at each grade level received place ribbons. The winner in each category receives a banner to display in their school or library until there is a new Battle of the Books winner.

This year’s banners are going to:

  • Grade 4 – Book Raiders (Roberts Street Elementary, Canastota)
  • Grade 5 – Stokes Elementary Eagles 3
  • Grade 6 – Crazy 8s (Ridge Mills Elementary, Rome)
  • Grades 7-8 – The Three Book-a-teers (VVS Middle)
  • Grades 9-12 – The Literary Lieutenants (Morrisville-Eaton High School)