Bring on the Book Bracket

I grew up in basketball country following UNC (go Heels!) and other ACC teams during the March Madness basketball tournaments. I’ve participated in a few bracket challenges but I’ve never been lucky enough to predict the winning team. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, an underdog comes along and surprises everyone. And so it is with books during our March Book Madness. I’ve never predicted the winning title. 

16 Competing Titles

While I was making this year’s March Reading Tournament of Books bulletin board in the hall, I continued to think of other titles that I could have included. I tried to pick books that are newish to our library that would appeal to all grades. We’ve added so many great titles to our library this year! I went back and forth on this so many times with different titles but finally settled on these.

As I was assembling the bulletin board I was reminded of how school-wide reading events, even simple ones like a tournament of books, build community and get students and staff talking about books. Students walking by in the hall were already predicting their top titles before I finished getting all of the book covers up! 

March Reading Themed Bulletin Board

  • Choose 16 titles you want to include and organize them into pairs that would fit well together for one story time. Eight titles would also work for a shorter competition. 
  • Make a digital slideshow of your paired titles. Search for photos of each and add these in your slides. I put one book pair on each slide.
  • Print your slides and cut out the book covers for the bulletin board. Staple eight book covers on each side in pairs.
  • Print a second copy of the book covers. Staple the pages together to use to keep a simple tally of votes for each title. (You can cut out the winning book covers from this set after the votes are counted to place on the board for the next round.)
  • Read two books per class and vote. I did not have time to read aloud each book but all books were available for anyone to read during extra class time. I read as many aloud as we had time for during our library class each day. 
  • Adjust your slides with the next round of books and print these out for tally sheets and for winning titles book covers on the board.  
  • Use a bright tape (like painters tape) for the brackets. Just tape them on! Major time saver!

Voting Fun: Student Choice, Student Voice

Last year we made voting super simple by giving each student a small cube (math manipulative) to place in a cup by their favorite book of the two we read in class together.

This year we decided to make a game of voting by giving each student a piece of paper about the size of a sticky note or indext card. They each draw a clue from the book on the paper and crumple it up like a paper ball. Then students take turns trying to score a basket by standing at a distance behind a line and tossing their votes into a big orange bucket. Students predict how many points they can score as a class. I love the energy this simple game creates in the library!

We then choose 3 helpers from our giant pingpong jar (each ping pong has a student number). These 3 students are our official tally team. They unwrap each balled up paper, tally the votes then reported back to the class the winning title. We will repeat the process with the other classes and book titles. 

Update: Can you guess the winning title? Well I guesses wrong again this year. The winning title was I’m Not Scared, You’re Scared by Seth Myers. The true winners are the readers who discovered the pure magic in the stories that captured their attention.

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