The Battle of the Books is a statewide Alaskan reading motivation and comprehension program sponsored by the Alaska Association of School Librarians. The goals of the program are to encourage and recognize students who enjoy reading, broaden reading interests, increase reading comprehension, and promote academic excellence.
Lists of books are chosen and questions are written for all grade levels. Students read the books, discuss them, quiz each other on the contents, and then compete in teams of not more than three students to correctly answer questions based on the books in a "quiz show" format. Questions begin with the words "In which book..." so that the answer will always be a title and author. Teams may participate at the local, district and state levels of competition - with the exception of K-2 students whose competition goes only through the district level.
New lists of recommended titles for each level are compiled each year by a committee of librarians and teachers based on the "Criteria for the Selection of Titles" in Appendix A. An attempt is made to vary the titles chosen according to genre and difficulty so that readers may encounter a broad range of books. At the annual AkLA conference, the official booklist for state competition for the following year is set so that planning to obtain the titles can begin.
The statewide program involves a cooperative effort by many local groups. It is popular with students and has provided new opportunities for academic competition. Battle of the Books has also proven effective in its specified purpose - to stimulate an interest in reading.