Thursday, October 22, 2015

Battle of the Books: Elementary Edition

All of my readers know I am a huge fan of books and I read all kinds of books. I'm willing to give every genre a couple of tries and I can go into books with an open mind. Something that has been really important to me is to pass down my love of reading to my children, but more importantly, to other kids. I don't think my childhood would have been as great if I didn't have access to so many different books. Some of my best memories as a kid were in libraries or getting books for Christmas, or that rare time when my mom would let me buy one from the store when she had extra money.

My dream job was always to be a librarian. I wanted to work in a school either as a teacher or a librarian because some of the best people in my life have all been teachers. I wanted to be that super enthusiastic person that kids thought was just a hair on the side of crazy but also contagious and they would pick up a book and get it. Last year I was the library assistant at my kid's school and I have to be honest, it was one of my best jobs. Watching kids pick out books, helping them find new stories, reading with them, watching them excitedly race to get another book by the same author- those were all of the best things about my job. My favorite part of the job was easily the Battle of the Books.

If you aren't familiar, Battle of the Books is a reading challenge geared towards fourth and fifth graders here and the kids read books from a specific list. The guidelines in our district is that they read the book, we have them do a story map to make sure they understand the main parts of the story, and they need to come up with at least five questions for the book that we can use to quiz kids. In the spring, kids are divided into teams and we hold practice battles and the librarian and I ask questions from books and the students have to come up with the answer AND author of the book. The top three teams from our school go on to compete at the middle school against all of the elementary schools in our cities. I believe it's the top three teams from there that advance to Ashland, Wisconsin, where they compete against kids across the state. And then I think there might be another step beyond that, but our school has never made it beyond Ashland.

So this year, because I couldn't find affordable daycare for Penelope, I had to resign as the library assistant. Which, I won't lie, I was pretty upset about. That was basically the closest I'll ever get to being a librarian because I can't afford to go back to school. The really great thing is that I was able to stay on and volunteer for the Battle of the Books and I have been since the beginning of October. We have the kids signed up and they've started reading. I'm reading right along with them, doing the work, and the returning students from last year knows that Mrs. Strand makes hard questions for them. I'm trying to find activities to go along with each story to make Battle of the Books fun and engaging for them, and keep them coming every week.

Here is out reading list for this year, a great mix of classics and new:
Some of my book reviews coming up are going to be off of this list, so if you have an elementary age child(ren), stay tuned because I'll be reading some great books that might be a good fit for them! 

Welcome to Sara's Organized Chaos


Unknown said...

This is so cool. And I love that list! I totally forgot about The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I adored that book. I need to get it for the kindle.

Alexandra S said...

Aww this brings me back! I remember so many of those from elementary school. Sounds so fun :)