The students competed in the NCAA’s “Read to the Final Four” against three other schools to see which eight- and nine-year-olds could read the most minutes.
“I think last week we read about 32,000 minutes,” said Third Grader Emilia Chiapetta. She’s not exaggerating. Organizers at the announcement of the eventual champion, Hill City Elementary, said the participating Minnesota schools had read more than 15 million minutes since January.
“Kids get pretty serious,” said Chiapetta.
Tablet or laptop reading counted for minutes, as did audio books.
“I don’t really like reading page books,” said Centerville Third Grader Oliver Dickerman. “I like listening to books–it makes it easier to understand.”
“Just finding ways to weave it into our day became the focus,” said Centerville Third Grade Teacher Stacie Ebnet Dietz. “Third grade is really that integral year of bridging that piece of picture books and really building that love of reading and the amount of reading to get them to have the stamina to get through chapter books.”
Dietz helped her third graders compete in the Read to the Final Four when the Men’s Final Four was in Minneapolis in 2019.
The schools were eliminated in a tournament-style competition in the weeks leading up to this weekend’s NCAA Women’s Final Four at Target Center. The top four teams all showed up to Tourney Town at the Minneapolis Convention Center to find out who won.
Hill City received a trophy and $5,000 in books for the school paid for by Scholastic.