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It's a Battle of the Books in Duncombe Elementary's March Madness

April 3, 2019

April 2, 2019, Fort Dodge, IA-  At Duncombe Elementary March Madness means books.  For the second year, fourth grade students are participating in a March Madness Book Bracket. Kristin Hatton, fourth grade teacher, saw the idea on Facebook.

“I shared the idea with the other fourth grade teachers and we decided to do this for the entire grade level,” she said.

Each fourth grade student listed the top five books he or she read this year.  From that, the top 32 books were determined, and based on popularity put into the bracket.

“Just like the college bracket, we had our own selection show where students presented a persuasive speech about why their book should be the champion book,” Hatton said. “After the presentations were given, students filled out their brackets.”

Hatton then scored each bracket and based on the number of points received determined which books moved on to the next level. As the books move through the bracket, students create a project like a bookmark or new cover illustration on the remaining books. 

“Using March Madness as a theme has been a fun way to encourage reading during a time of year where it’s important to keep students engaged in learning so we can finish the year strong,” Hatten stated. “Also, one of our literacy standards states students should be reading a variety of books that range in complexity and this event helps expose students to books they may not have read otherwise.”

According to Hatton, when students hear their friends talking about a book, it makes them more likely to read it. She has noticed students in her class checking out the books that are in the bracket when the visit the school library.

Brooklyn Huen, fourth grade student, shared, “The book bracket encouraged me to read other books in the series.”

The project is currently in the Elite Eight round and will proceed to the Final Four by the end of the week.  Teachers will announce which books made it to the final round on Monday, with the winner announced on Tuesday.

“There is great variety in the books we have remaining,” Hatton said. “None of the books that were in the Final Four last year made it into the Final Four this year. It’s been fun to see the reading interest this class has developed.”


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