HISD students join ‘Read to the Final Four’ literacy challenge

HISD students join ‘Read to the Final Four’ literacy challenge
Posted on 01/12/2018

Third grade students from Rayburn, Carroll Bell and Stonewall Flanders Elementary Schools will compete in “Read to the Final Four,” a reading competition hosted by the NCAA and San Antonio Local Organizing Committee.

The tournament-style competition, which kicked off Jan. 10, consists of nearly 6,800 third-graders competing from 68 area elementary schools.  A literary champion will be crowned on April 2, the day of the men’s basketball national championship. The NCAA hopes the excitement of the 2018 Final Four encourages third grade students to accelerate their reading through the competitive spirit surrounding March Madness.

Stonewall Flanders Elementary School Librarian Joshua Romero plans to utilize the tournament as an opportunity to inspire students to read.

“Competition always inspires us to do better than we would probably do on independent terms, so I am hoping this is something that sparks a love for reading for those who may not already be naturally inclined to read,” he said. “The principal, third grade teachers and I are rallying around the kids to read anytime they have a chance.”

The literacy challenge will mimic the March Madness bracket, with contending schools competing head-to-head, advancing through the bracket based on the highest number of average minutes read until a champion is crowned during Final Four weekend.

Participating students received a “Read to the Final Four” log to track their daily minutes read, a new book, a book bag and bookmark, while schools were provided with classroom posters and a bracket banner to follow the competition. 

“Many kids were camped out with their NCAA bags reading their books in groups during recess!” Romero added. “They forewent running around and playing to sit down and read so they could get their minutes in. They are in it to win it.”

At the end of each round, students at advancing schools will receive prizes, and the final four schools will be invited to an awards celebration on April 2 at the NCAA Final Four Fan Fest in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.  

“They are so motivated, but we want to ensure that win or lose, they know how amazing they are for all of the efforts they put forth. It’s amazing how much reading they have already gotten in just days,” Romero concluded.  

Regardless of how each school finishes in the bracket, the top two boy and top two girl readers who have read the most minutes overall will receive brand new bicycles and be invited to join the celebration field trip at Fan Fest to be recognized. 

The winning school will receive a classroom library make-over from Scholastic valued at $5,000.  

Good luck, Rayburn, Carroll Bell and Stonewall Flanders! 

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