Battle of the Books is an academic extracurricular reading activity for fourth and fifth grade students who enjoy reading challenges and competition in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Its purpose is to foster the enjoyment of reading high quality books and to come together in friendly competition answering questions about the books with other students. Kenosha’s Battle of the Books is a collaborative partnership between the Kenosha Unified School District and Carthage College with the support of the Kenosha Public Library, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and the Kenosha News. Battle of the Books is coordinated by a committee made up of representatives from each of the partnerships.
Each year, the committee, with input from school coaches and librarians, create a themed book list for the next year’s Battle of the Books Tournament. Interested students receive the list in the fall and begin reading. School teams are formed and students meet with coaches to discuss the books, write questions, and conduct mock battles in preparation for the Battle of the Books Tournament held later in the school year. Questions submitted by students and coaches are culled, selected, and arranged into ten battles of ten questions per battle. At the Battle of the Books Tournament, school teams battle each other in friendly competition answering two hundred questions approximately 35 fiction, non-fiction, biography, poetry, and picture books during ten rounds of battle over two Friday afternoons and evenings. Carthage College education students volunteer to conduct and moderate the battles. Following the final battles, a spectacular celebration is held for school teams, parents, and special guests. After a Parade of Teams, teams and coaches are introduced, guest speakers recognize the importance of reading quality books, and winners are announced. However, in Battle of the Books, all readers are winners because they accomplished the goal of reading quality books and enjoyed friendly competition with fellow readers.