Battle of the Books Rules

Battle of the Books Battling for over 25 years!  


F.A.Q., Rules & Helpful Hints  


Overview: The Battle of the Books program is a literary competition between Paulding County schools and home schooled children sponsored by the Paulding County Carnegie Library (PCCL) system.  Teams made up of 5th and 6th graders compete by answering questions about books on the Battle of the Books list.  This list is made available at the beginning of each school year.  The competition is held in the spring.  The winning school receives a trophy.  This program encourages reading for pleasure and rewards the development of comprehension skills.  


What are the objectives of the Battle of the Books?

  1. Promote leisure reading
  2. Provide an opportunity for students to read books about a variety of subjects
  3. Prepare students with the skills to help them critique and appreciate good literature
  4. Develop reading comprehension and retention
  5. Enhance feeling of accomplishment through literary competition

How are the titles selected? Staff of the PCCL system compiles a reading list each year for the Battle of the Books competition.  The titles selected vary from easy to more difficult within the 5th and 6th grade reading level. Selection of titles on the list will not be based on the Accelerated Reading Lists used by the schools.   Consideration of titles to be included on the list will include one or more of the following criteria:

  • Literary contribution for both fiction and non-fiction books
  • Popular authors
  • Favorable reviewed works from such publications as:  Horn Book, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews
  • Award-winning titles (Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Notable Books, )
  • Recommendations from teachers, students, parents
  • Historically important titles

The books chosen to be included on the Battle of the Books list are not picked at random, but are selected through a very lengthy process.  The titles are then divided among staff members of the PCCL.  Staff members read the books and compile questions for the competition.  


Where can the students find the books? All titles on the list are available at the main library in Paulding and all branches.  All of the titles are also purchased for each school library through grant money made available by Lafarge Corporation.  A complete book list is given to each school for distribution.  The list is also available on the library website and is posted at the library and all branches.  


Who is the contact at the schools? The contact at each school will be the principal of that school unless otherwise designated before the Battle year begins.  If a home schooled team competes, a representative chosen by the parents/guardians will be the contact. The library staff will communicate through e-mail and phone calls to the contact when necessary.  


What if a teacher, student, parent, principal or any other person has a suggestion to make regarding the Battle? Suggestions are welcome, but must be submitted in writing via e-mail or letter to the Youth Services Department of the PCCL or the director of the library. No phone calls will be accepted.  


What happens if a school, parent, principal, teacher or student objects to a book on the list? Each title on the list is selected using the same criteria used by the PCCL system when choosing materials.  The library has a procedure in place for the reconsideration of materials.  Children’s literature spans a multitude of subject matter and may address a number of both contemporary and historical social issues.  All material chosen is material recommended and reviewed for students of the competing age-group.   Questions compiled for each book will be randomly asked during a competition.  If a team has not read a title, for whatever reason, they may still be asked a question about that book.  In a sense, it is the “luck of the draw” as to what question is asked to which team.  


How are teams selected?

  1. Students may pick their teams consisting of no more than 6 members per team, with one student per team designated as a spokesperson.  Teachers will oversee this
  2. All 5th and 6th graders are encouraged and have the right to participate.
  3. Each team can be made up of 5th or 6th graders or a combination of both.
  4. Home schooled children living in Paulding County in the 5th and 6th grades may also form teams.  The preliminary competition and elimination round for home schooled teams will be held at the Paulding County Carnegie Library.
  5. Teams should be selected by November 1st.
  6. Teachers should send a typed copy of the team names and members to the Paulding

County Carnegie Library, 205 S. Main St., Paulding, OH 45879, by February 1st. Please put an asterisk beside the team spokesperson’s name. Failure to meet announced deadlines may result in the loss of the school’s privilege to participate in the Battle.    


Rules of the Competition   Preliminary School Competitions

  1. Preliminary competitions between fifth and sixth grade teams will be held at each school in the spring and will be conducted by staff members of the Paulding County Carnegie Library.  All battles at the schools will be completed the day of competition unless otherwise announced by the library staff.
  2. Homeschooled teams will meet at the main library in Paulding for their preliminary battle.
  3. Absolutely no recording of the school Battles will be permitted. This includes writing down the questions as they are asked, videotaping and sound recording.
  4. Any coaching from the audience to a player or team will result in the immediate disqualification of that member or team.

  Final County Competition

  1. The final competition will take place soon after the school and homeschool preliminary battles are completed.
  2. The school team with the most points during the final school round will advance to the final county competition.
  3. Placement of finalists for the first round bracket of the final competition will be determined by random draw.

  The Battle Questions

  1. There are twenty-five books on the Battle of the Books list.  Fifteen titles will be held over from the prior year and ten titles will be added to the list. Occasionally the Battle will consist of twenty-five new titles with no holdovers from the previous year. Ten questions are compiled for each book.
  2. Twenty randomly picked questions are asked to each team on an alternate basis.
  3. Each team has 30 seconds after a question is read to confer and decide an answer, which is then given by the team’s captain. Answers will only be accepted from the team captain.
  4. Team captains must answer loudly and clearly so that they may be heard by the judges. If the judge has to ask for an answer to be repeated, it comes out of their 30 second allotment.
  5. A team may ask for the question to be repeated, but the time will come out of their 30 second allotment.
  6. If the question is answered correctly then the team has earned 1 point and has 10 seconds to provide the last name of the author, which if correct, earns an additional point.
  7. If the question is incorrect, the opposing team has an opportunity to answer the question.  The question will be re-read to the opposing team and they will have 30 seconds to confer and answer the question. A point for knowing the author’s last name will not be available to the team who steals the question.
  8. If there is a tie at the end of twenty questions, ten additional random questions will be asked of the competing teams.
  9. Teams may choose to pass on a question if they do not know the answer, but it is strongly advised to at least make a guess.

  Audience Decorum

  1. The final competition is open to parents, grandparents, family members and guests.
  2. Audience members must display respect and restraint during the competition as to not detract from the students competing.
  3. Audience members must not signal library staff members or judges with gestures or concerns during the competition. Audience members who are disruptive, may be asked to leave.

  The Officials

  1. The library system will provide the timekeeper, scorekeeper and designated spokesperson for each competition. These officials will serve as judges for the competition.
  2. Others who may be in attendance include branch managers, library administration and library team members and may be called upon for clarifications.

  Contesting the Correct or Incorrect Ruling of a Question

  1. If a team believes they have a legitimate concern about a ruling, the Captain must raise his or her hand immediately and before the judges asks the next question, and state the team’s case.
  2. The judges will then check the answer against the book (all books will be at the final competition) and either revise their ruling or let the original ruling stand.
  3. Teams are allowed one (1) ruling per match.
  4. The judges’ decision is final.

  Prizes, Awards & Recognition

  1. The Youth Services team will submit certificates of achievement to the teachers of the team members at each school after the preliminary battle. Teachers may choose to distribute them at that time or hold on to the certificates until the school’s awards banquet at the end of the year.
  2. Teams in the final competition receive t-shirts with each school a different color.
  3. First and second place team members receive awards such as ribbons or medals.
  4. The first place school receives an engraved trophy and media recognition.
  5. Other prizes may include books, bookmarks and other reading incentives.
  6. All children participating in the Battle of the Books receive the rewards of reading books and participating in friendly competitions that help grow skills of teamwork and sportsmanship.

      Helpful Hints:

  • Consider making a note card for each book with title, author, main theme, characters and any obvious points.
  • Encourage all team members to memorize the titles and authors.
  • Divide the titles among the team fairly keeping in mind the length of the book and the reading level of team members.
  • Try to encourage team members to read their Battle Books for pleasure and enjoy the literary experience.
  • Use school or academic holidays to catch up on reading.
  • Ask prior school teams for advice or winning tips.