Battle of the Books last about 4 1/2 to 5 months. Students work in teams to read 15 books. Here, I require each student to read at least 5 books to be apart of the Battle. After reading a book, a student must complete a memory jogger. Each memory jogger requires the students to identify the title, author, characters, setting, problem, resolution, and beginning, middle, and end. Memory joggers must then be checked and signed by their teacher.
After the 4 1/2 or so months, we BATTLE. Teams compete in 10 rounds to answer questions about the books. Each questions starts with "In which book..." and all answers are in the format of the title of the book and author. Teams have 30 seconds respond and if they respond correctly they get 5 points for knowing the title of the books and a bonus 3 points if they know the author. If the team does not know the answer the question dies, there is no stealing, so I always encourage teams to guess no matter what.
Class teams compete against each and then we have a grade level battle. As a small district we do not have other schools to compete against, but we are lucky enough to have 2 districts nearby that also participate in Battle of the Books. Our winning teams come together and we have a Regional Battle of the Books. The students always become quite competitive against other towns.
To start things off I usually pick a theme to get the students excited. Two years ago it was jousting, last year it was Battleship, and this year I chose Angry Birds. I introduce or remind students what Battle of the Books is and how it plays out.
With each title I read a short excerpt or show them a book trailer I find on TeacherTube, Youtube, or www.booktrailersforreaders.com. No surprising the books that have trailers the students are always the most excited to read.
The third graders really enjoyed the Book Trailers, I think I'm going to have them make some next project.