68 elementary schools selected for NCAA March Madness®-style reading competition

SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 10, 2018) – As the NCAA® and San Antonio Local Organizing Committee (SALOC) prepare to host the 2018 NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, they’re committed to leaving a lasting legacy in the local community. Today, SALOC and the NCAA rolled out a literacy program for area students, adding to the initiative launched in 2017 to enhance the San Antonio Sports i play afterschool program with a new basketball unit.

Read to the Final Four is a tournament-style reading competition for San Antonio third graders in 68 area elementary schools that will crown a literacy champion on Monday, April 2, the day of the men’s basketball national championship. The goal is to use the excitement of the 2018 Final Four to encourage third grade students to accelerate their reading through the competitive spirit surrounding March Madness.

“Third grade is pivotal for young students as they transition from learning to read, to reading to learn” said NISD Deputy Superintendent, Ray Galindo. “We are thrilled to have some of our schools in the program and applaud the NCAA for investing in our community beyond the court!”

The literacy challenge will mimic the March Madness bracket, with contending schools competing head-to-head, advancing through the bracket based on the highest number of average minutes read until a champion is crowned during Final Four weekend. Participating students will be given a Read to the Final Four log to track their daily minutes read. To kick off the program, nearly 6,800 area third graders are receiving a new book, a Read to the Final Four book bag and bookmark, while schools are provided with classroom posters and a bracket banner to follow the competition. At the end of each round, students at advancing schools receive prizes with the final four schools being invited to an awards celebration on Monday, April 2 at the NCAA Final Four Fan Fest in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Regardless of how each school finishes in the bracket, the top two boy and top two girl readers who have read the most minutes overall will receive brand new bicycles and be invited to join the celebration field trip at Fan Fest to be recognized.

“Read to the Final Four aligns with the NCAA’s commitment to enhance community engagement and support the educational development of our youth,” said Victor Hill, NCAA associate director of championships community programs. “We are devoted to the success of this program and are excited to use the Final Four as a vehicle to drive and promote the values of reading is truly exciting.”

The winning school will receive a library make-over from Scholastic valued at $5,000.




Mary Ullmann Japhet
San Antonio Sports

Carolyn Wheat
San Antonio Sports

About the 2018 San Antonio Local Organizing Committee:

The San Antonio Local Organizing Committee (SALOC), which is a partnership between the City of San AntonioSan Antonio Sports, and UTSA, has a strong history of hosting successful NCAA Championships that have generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the San Antonio economy, including three previous Men’s Final Fours (1998, 2004, 2008), two Women’s Final Fours (2002, 2010), two Women’s Division I Volleyball Championships (2005, 2011) and several regional basketball tournaments.