Annually, Seattle Public Library sponsors a “Battle of the Books” program; its primary aim to instill a love of literature and build teamwork skills. Fourth and fifth graders at elementary schools around the district form teams. All teams read 10 books vetted by SPL for their thematic content and varying reading levels. At Bryant, we encourage teams to reread these titles several times in preparation for the quiz bowl, during which teams are asked fact-based questions.

With the help of parent volunteers, we run a rigorous program at select lunch recesses, giving individuals a chance to go deeper into the different titles, and then prepping teams for the in-school challenge. The winning team of the in-school challenge proceeds to the city semi-finals at the Central Library downtown. Bryant Global Reading teams have fared well in past years, winning the city championship in 2011 and the semi-finals in 2015.

Around the end of September/beginning of October, we invite fourth and fifth graders to review the dynamics of Global Reading on an informational sheet we provide. Students willing to make the commitments to a team then submit this form in October. We form teams from those submissions and start meeting by the end of October. SPL officially announces the titles and distributes texts in early November.

Students in Global Reading can expect to engage actively in individual and team efforts from November to February. It’s a long haul, indeed. However, students who persevere truly enjoy and glean copiously from the intellectual and team pursuits.

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