Reading Rivalry

What is Reading Rivalry?

Reading Rivalry is an optional, PTO-sponsored event.  Teams form a reading club, read a variety of books, and participate in a competition about those books. The intent is to foster a love of reading, introduce the students to books they may not otherwise choose, provide opportunities to work as a team, and to have fun!


  • The Reading Rivalry books are those selected annually for the Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award.  While most years there are 10 books,  this year there are 5 to choose from.  After reading the books, the participants vote to select the Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award Winner!

  • Reading Rivalry is open to students in grades 3-5. There are separate competitions for each grade.

Preparing for the competition:

  • Teams are typically formed by the teachers, made up of 4-8 students (depending on the number of participants and coaches).  This year, due to covid restraints, we will be doing our reading independently and participating in our competition on Kahoot - either virtually or in person, depending on the model of learning we are in at the time of competition.  VLA students will still be able to participate virtually.

  • Each team typically has a volunteer coach (typically a parent) to provide guidance and encouragement.  This year, we will not have coaches, as volunteers are unable to be in the building.

  • Students can choose which and how many books to read, while ensuring at least one person from each team is reading one of the 10 books.  Some teachers prefer to assign the books.

  • In a normal year, teams meet weekly, typically during recess/lunch, to discuss the books, check in on progress, and prepare for the competition.

  • Click HERE for the Coaching Guide.

The competition:

  • 30 questions will be asked about the 10 books. Teams work together to select which of the 10 books is the answer to the question.  Sample questions from the past:

    • What story is set in Australia?

    • What story has a treacherous and cunning queen?

    • The characters in this story worry about Yankees coming to Georgia. 

    • Palindromes are important in what story?

    • In what story do people speak too loudly and slowly?

  • The team that answers the most questions right in each grade will be awarded a prize.

  • Individuals who read ALL of the Reading Rivalry books will also be recognized.

When is Reading Rivalry?

  • Kick-off:  February

  • Weekly meetings:  None this year due to Covid

  • Competition:  May (Specific date TBD)

What is the Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award?

The Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award is a children's read and vote book award.  

Its purpose is to encourage recreational reading among school age children. 

Nominated titles are works of fiction of recognized quality selected by independent

regional reading groups.


The books on the nominee lists are selected by the Maud Hart Lovelace Selection

Committee.  Criteria for selection include:

  • books must be available in paperback as of January 1st of the selection year

  • author must live in North America

  • original copyright must be within three years of the selection year

  • must be work of fiction and not classified as a picture book

Who is Maud Hart Lovelace?

Maud Hart Lovelace is best known for her beloved series of Betsy-Tacy books, which were set at the turn of the twentieth century in Mankato. These captivating stories of small town life, family traditions and enduring friendships have captured the hearts of young and old for over 65 years. Maud Hart Lovelace, was born April 25, 1892, in Mankato.  Like Betsy, Maud followed her mother around the house at age five asking questions for the stories she had already begun to write. When Maud was ten, a booklet of her poems was printed; and by age eighteen, she had sold her first short story. The Hart family settled in Minneapolis in 1910, where Maud attended the University of Minnesota. In 1917, she married Delos W. Lovelace, a newspaper reporter who later became a popular writer of short stories.  The Lovelaces’ daughter, Merian, was born in 1931. Maud would tell her daughter bedtime stories about her childhood, and it was these stories that gave her the idea of writing the Betsy-Tacy books. Maud did not intend to write an entire series when the first book was published in 1940, but readers asked for more stories. So Maud took Betsy through high school and beyond college to the “great world” and marriage. The final book in the series, Betsy’s Wedding, was published in 1955.


2020-21 Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award Nominees/Reading Rivalry Books (Study Guides are available by clicking on the titles below).

This year’s books:

Because of the Rabbit

Front Desk

Insignificant events in the life of a cactus

New Kid


As your child reads through the books for Reading Rivalry, feel free to use the discussion guides linked below as a family. This will help your child engage more fully in the book and will help them retain useful information for the final competition!

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