Mayor Richard M. Daley welcomed nearly 1,400 students to the fifth annual Elementary Battle of the Books today at the Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School 2100 E. 87th Street.
“Books open up doors and allow us to experience places and situations outside of our normal everyday lives. They inspire our imaginations and take us on wonderful journeys,” the Mayor said. “I can’t stress enough the importance of reading. Reading is the key to enhancing education, stimulating creativity and ensuring a positive, successful future for all of you.”
4th through 8th grade students from 115 CPS elementary schools attended the event, which hosted by the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries.
Battle of the Books encourages ongoing reading, teamwork and partnership throughout the course of a year and culminates in this one-day event where students come together and share their learning in an interactive, competitive, and inspiring environment at the beautiful Chicago Vocational Career Academy.
Teams are composed of students in two categories: 4th through 6th grade, and 7th and 8th grade. Each division has a separate reading list of 20 books and one digital book from the International Children’s Digital Library. Students score points during three rounds of competition for answering questions about plot, characters, and settings with bonus points for giving the full name of the author. The three teams with the highest scores compete in the championship round
Schools use the program to encourage extracurricular involvement with teachers and librarians who generously volunteer their time to coach the teams during the year. Over 200 volunteers donate their time to make this event possible.
A highlight of the day was special guest authors Valerie Tripp and Claudia Guadalupe Martinez reading the final competition questions.
Many Battle of the Books titles are selected directly from the Rebecca Caudill Award list. Caudill award books are selected by a committee of Illinois librarians and teachers, and winners are determined by student votes across Illinois. The balance of the book lists are selected from participant recommendations from the previous year’s battle with a focus on diversity and broadening participants’ exposure to a variety of genres.