Battle of the Books

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” In 2020-2021, Battle of the Books (BOB) provided that place for roughly 250 KPBSD dedicated readers navigating life as students during a pandemic. 


Battle of the Books participants normally meet with their coaches during lunch and after school asking each other questions about the books on the current BOB list. The goal is to learn as much about the books as possible and how to work as a team in preparation for KPBSD district battles which take place each year in February. Most of our KBPSD students were learning remotely during the fall. Coaches had to come up with creative solutions to practice. Many technology tools were used including Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime, Google Classroom, Kahoot, cell phones and more. Coaches and students rose to the challenge and in addition to reading the books, made arrangements to meet virtually as a team. 


District Battles came in February as always and while many students were back to in-person learning, a lot of schools still had remote team members. District battles were held using a combination of video conferencing and audio conferencing. In most cases, battles were held using speaker phones. Many teams had members using Zoom or Facetime to participate. In-person participants wore masks and incorporated social distancing. Everyone was happy to be able to participate in an extracurricular activity!


KPBSD coaches speak:


“Our team was entirely virtual this year! We were never in person, always through Zoom, which makes team building an entirely different challenge. One member has participated in BOB since she was in Kindergarten (and even before that, as she attended her big sister's BOB practices and often whispered the answers to the coach while the team discussed), and one team member had never participated in BOB before. One was new to a homeschool BOB team. When we met, though, they were all equal and focused on working together here and now. The enthusiasm, smiles, and RESPECT these kids had for each other was humbling. They made me proud!”


“Many of my students don't have internet. During remote learning I would meet with a couple of kids via Zoom twice a week and would communicate with the others via letter or packets. Somehow, the kids thrived and I ended up with a team that was absolutely perfect. Two of the girls had never read a book cover to cover and somehow the "low pressure" of being remote motivated them and they read just about every book!”


“Our students spent time reading the books in our afterschool book club twice a week. Even my most reluctant readers were engaged with the topics of the book selections, and were motivated to read even more following the BOB competition. The joy that BOB brought to my kiddos was captivating. They truly enjoyed the thrill of competing.” 


“My students were amazing. Their bright eyes and excitement they brought to the table each challenge—even when we didn't do as well as we had hoped for!


“The highlight for me was that all of the students had fun, read books, discussed books and became friends along the way. I definitely had a range of books read. Some students read all of them, others just a couple. I was so happily surprised that even with that variance the team could draw on individual strengths and work together as a team. We had kids on the team that had their SEL needs addressed simply because of the fact that they were on the team and they took pride in that membership.”


“I love the excitement and the love of reading the kids have!”


State of Alaska Battle of the Books and KPBSD Teams!

High School: Kenai Central High School - 3rd Place

Middle School: Seward Middle - State Champions

Grades 5/6: Soldotna Connections - 5th Place

Grades 3/4: Homer Connections - 2nd Place


KPBSD Battle of the Books Results

Grades 3/4

  • Homer Connections - District Champion
  • Cooper Landing School- 2nd Place
  • McNeil Canyon Elementary - 3rd Place (Tie)
  • Seward Elementary - 3rd Place (Tie)
  • Tebughna School - 5th Place


Grades 5/6

  • Soldotna Connections - District Champion
  • West Homer Elementary - 2nd Place
  • Seward Middle - 3rd Place (Tie)
  • Kenai Middle School - 3rd Place (Tie)
  • McNeil Canyon Elementary - 5th Place


Middle School

  • Seward Middle School - District Champion
  • Homer Connections - 2nd Place
  • Soldotna Connections - 3rd Place
  • Chapman School- 4th Place (Tie)
  • Moose Pass School - 4th Place (Tie)


High School

  • Kenai Central High School - District Champion
  • Homer High School - 2nd Place (Tie)
  • Soldotna High School - 2nd Place (Tie)
  • Nikiski High School - 4th Place
  • Cooper Landing School - 5th Place


Each of the district-winning teams went on to represent KPBSD at the state battles and placed as follows in the tournament.


High School Team - Kenai Central High School - 3rd Place

Middle School Team - Seward Middle - State Champions

Grades 5/6 - Soldotna Connections - 5th Place

Grades 3/4 - Homer Connections - 2nd Place


Thank you to all the coaches, dedicated students, librarians, and to Karla Barkman, KPBSD Library and Technology Specialist, for providing this BOB recap!