Plot Twist! Popular Reading Contest Expanded to Middle Schoolers

Registration is now open for VBPL’s Battle of the Books

Friday, October 04, 2019

​Battle of the Books is back, and it's bigger than ever before. For the first time in the competition's 12-year history, middle school students (grades 6-8) will participate in the gameshow-style challenge to read great books, have fun with friends and win exciting prizes.

The Virginia Beach Public Library program has been a big hit with fifth graders. Last year, more than 500 students on 116 teams participated. The five-member teams study books on the contest's reading list, meet in small groups and compete in several preliminary rounds before the program's grand finale at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library.

The fifth grade battle continues this year. The competition has been so popular that contestants and their parents routinely requested a similar program for middle schoolers. In response, VBPL created a second, separate program for older students, said James Giangregorio, teen services coordinator. "We hope to capture participants from the fifth grade program as they age up," Giangregorio said. Battle of the Books instills in students the values of teamwork and fortitude, and builds important skills, such as reading for detail and reading for retention.

The competitions are open to students in Virginia Beach public, private and home schools. Adult managers should register their teams at the library closest to their home or school. The registration deadlines are Dec. 7, 2019, for middle-school teams and Jan. 18, 2020, for fifth grade teams. Winners will receive prizes and advance to the final showdowns on Jan. 25 for middle schoolers and March 14 for fifth graders. For more information, visit

About Virginia Beach Public Library
Virginia Beach Public Library includes a central library, a joint-use library in partnership with Tidewater Community College, seven area libraries and a public law library. Services include workforce development and job-search support, small business resources, computer and technology classes, early literacy classes and outreach, and local history archives and programs. In addition to books, music, magazines and movies in tangible and digital formats, the library provides online research tools accessible from home or work, and a variety of specialty collections. Visit for more information.

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