March Madness-style reading tournament introduces students to new books

While many sports fans are paying attention to basketball teams, Kim Dickinson’s second graders at Drummond Elementary have been focused on books as part of March Book Madness.

March Book Madness is a March Madness-style reading tournament. Participants determine the best book of 16 new titles chosen from various Best of 2020 lists. Readers vote for their favorite books and the titles advance through the bracket over the course of two months. 

“We had a great time getting introduced to new picture books and the kids loved the voting process and being a part of a global project,” Dickinson said. 

She reserved all of the Sweet 16 books from the county library to make sure she had the hard copies in her hands and available to share with her Villemade students.

“When I'm teaching virtually, I use three screens: my laptop, a monitor, and my iPad. When I'm sharing my screen on my laptop or just teaching in general, it's very helpful to have my iPad so I can see myself from the student view. That way, I know if they're seeing everything I want them to see.” 

With the March Book Madness, she would put the books under her iPad’s camera and then spotlight it on Zoom so students could have an up-close view of the book. 

“I like this aspect of virtual read-alouds because all the students can see the pictures clearly versus in-person, where only some of the students are up close to the book.”

They read the two competing books each day and picked the winning book based on a majority vote. 

“After we read the books, students would go in breakout rooms in pairs to tell their partner which book they liked better. They also had to give a reason for why they preferred one book over the other,” Dickinson said. “Then we would come back as a class to make our votes. I also created a template for students to fill out so they could keep track of their personal favorites.” 

“Soaked” was the class’s champion, but like many sports fans paying attention to the basketball teams, their bracket got busted. 

Championship voting between “All the Way to the Top” and “Pacho Nacho” closes on Tuesday night and the winner will be announced on April 7.

Pattonville School District

11097 St. Charles Rock Road
St. Ann, MO 63074
(314) 213-8500

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