The mission of the Oregon Battle of the Books is to encourage and recognize students who enjoy reading, to broaden reading interests, to increase reading comprehension, to promote academic excellence, and to promote cooperative learning and teamwork among students.
You will notice that there is nothing about winners and losers in the mission statement. With that in mind, when asked how families can best prepare for OBOB battles, I share what I have come to think of as my OBOB Manifesto:
No one gets into an elite university because they won their school OBOB competition. There are no scholarships, no trophies, not even any gold stars for winning. The win or loss is gone as soon as it is over. But a life-long love of reading, an appreciation of new genres, an ability to read for information, collaboration skills, responsibility, perseverance, integrity, and compassion are powerful outcomes far more meaningful than even the tallest trophy.
Want to help your child prepare for battles? Read with them! Talk about the books together. Here are some questions you can ask:
- Who is the author?
- Who are the characters?
- What is the plot (what happens)?
- What are the themes (the big ideas)?
- What is your favorite part?
- How is this book like real life or like other books you have read?
- Does anything in the book remind you of something you have experienced?
- Do the characters in the story show courage?
- How do they decide what is right and wrong?
- Do you think the story was well written? Why or why not?
- Does the main character change because of what happens in the book? What do you think about that?
- Why do you think the author chose that title?
- Is this book better or worse than other books you have read?
- Would you recommend it to others? To whom?