Battle of the Books

Creative Literacy Ideas for First and Second Language Learners


  • Michelle Wardrip English Modern School, Doha Campus Qatar



Creative literacy, Second language learners


Most of my teaching career has been spent in American schools, most recently as a Teacher-Librarian at an English-Spanish elementary school. My international teaching career began in Qatar in August of 2012, when I started my new job as a Teacher-Librarian at a private K-12 school. My first year was spent rearranging the library’s collection and getting a feel for the school, its students and staff. By the end of the second term of the first year, I realized that the most important aspect of my job as a school librarian was going to be improving the literacy skills of my students. How to do this was my next problem and I immediately thought of the Battle of the Books (BOB) Program. My school district in Oregon had used it in seventeen elementary schools, both regular and bilingual. This was exactly what I needed because I was currently teaching in a bilingual school (English/Arabic). I went about getting support from my primary and secondary school teachers and administration. Once I had the support in place, I needed to take a closer look at how we had run the BOB Program in Oregon and then adapt it to my current situation. The things that I needed to consider in order to make the BOB Program a success were the following:
1. Deciding which year levels would participate for the Primary and Secondary Divisions
2. Selecting the reading levels for each division
3. Deciding the number of books for each division to read
4. Selecting the right books for the each division
5. Making a Timeline
6. Deciding the format of the questions
7. Writing the questions
8. Setting up the tournament
9. Using Guest Readers during the tournament for each division
10. Rewards for the winning teams of both divisions