March Madness Inspires Reading

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Recently Elwood Middle School students finished up a different kind of March Madness tournament—one with books!

In order to make this book-tournament a success, middle school librarian Donna Fife had teachers nominate books for their kids. Ms. Fife tallied up the most recommended books and included books that had high circulation records as well.

Ms. Fife then paired up books that would do well against each other—graphic novel against graphic novel, best seller against best seller—and had students vote, using Google forms, which books they thought seemed most interesting. Because most students had not read every book, each was listed with a summarizing blurb.

Each round had over 300 students vote for the books they were rooting for, which was an incredible amount of student participation. As the tournament progressed, students became more invested, stopping by the library to ask which books were in the lead. In the end, two best sellers went head to head, and a Dog’s Purpose won by a single vote.

"I love incorporating of different avenues to attract students to books,” said Ms. Fife. “ My hope was that by designing an interactive book tournament, students would be engaged and invested in learning about different books…and I already have new students coming in, asking if they can check out one of the books they heard their peers talking about!”