- Keywords: Reading, presentation, accuracy
- Learner English level: Intermediate
- Learner maturity: High school and above
- Preparation time: 1-2 weeks to read a book, 1-2 days to prepare for a presentation
- Activity time: Three minutes for each presentation plus Q&A
- Materials: Graded Readers
Bibliobattle in English is an excellent alternative approach to reading and developing presentations. A popular activity in Japanese schools, Bibliobattle provides students with the opportunity to read a book of their choice and talk about it for five minutes (see Taniguchi, 2013, for details). In essence, it is a variation of “show and tell,” which has additional benefits when it is practiced in English-language classes. Students naturally refer to the sentences they read in the book when composing their drafts. This practice reinforces what they have previously encountered. As a result, their draft speeches in English for Bibliobattle are much better and contain fewer errors than the speech drafts that they would normally write. Students are less inclined to use translation apps because the English they want is already in the books they have read. They do not copy from their friends because they read different books. Teachers can reduce the usual presentation time to three minutes for intermediate students.
Step 1: Explain the concepts behind Bibliobattle. (There are many videos online.)
Step 2: Allow the students to read any English-language book that they choose. Graded readers are some of the best options. Allow the students one to two weeks to read the book.
Step 3: Provide the students with sufficient time to prepare their three-minute speech on the book of their choice. Note that they cannot read from their drafts when delivering their presentations. It may take one or two days for them to develop a draft.
Step 1: Each student delivers a three-minute presentation about the book of his or her choice. If students are not confident that they can give their presentation, allow them to have some presentation cards with some key words or expressions as a presentation aid.
Step 2: The presenter interacts with fellow students through a Q&A session.
Step 3: After all of the presentations are completed, the students vote to select the most interesting book. (They need not vote for the best presentation. Sometimes we discover an unexpected winner, which makes the battle more enjoyable for the students. The teacher can grade the presentations separately.)
Step 4: The book that receives the largest number of votes is declared the Champion Book of the Day.
Step 5: (Optional) Students read one of the books presented as a follow up.
Bibliobattle in English is a very good option for encouraging students to read and develop presentations. For most of my students, it is the first time that they read a complete book in English, which gives them a sense of satisfaction and confidence. Many of my students find it relatively easy to compose a draft for their speech because they can refer directly to the English sentences in the books they read. Although correcting their English was not part of the process, I found that their presentations were mostly clear and accurate. Very few of them used translation apps. Most importantly, Bibliobattle gives us a great opportunity to get to know the presenter’s personality and foster an interest in reading for fun.
Taniguchi, T. (2013). Biburiobatoru: Hon-o Siri Hito-o Siru Shohyoo Geemu [Bibliobattle: a book-review game to get to know books and people]. Tokyo: Bungei Syunju.