March Madness Book Tournament with a Freebie for you! | Mentoring in the Middle

March Madness Book Tournament with a Freebie for you!

Are you feeling it?  It's that time of the year when kids need a little extra "oomph" to stay focused?  Or maybe you've been feeling it all school year?  It has been a wonky one, that's for sure.

One of my favorite ways to get kids excited about books at this time of the year is to host a March Madness Book Tournament.  Challenge your students to pick the #1 ALL-TIME FAVORITE book that they've read this year.  

That's easy for some and so, so hard, for others!

I give students a basketball to color and write on, and a note sheet to organize their thoughts.  You can click here to get these so you can get started right away!

The kids get so charged up about this.  You can feel the excitement as they decide on their book!  (And a little coloring doesn't hurt.)


  1. Before you start, have some students help you put up brackets on the wall.  I just used masking tape on the tile walls outside the entrance to our bathrooms.  That way, students from all classes could see them. I learned to use blue Painter's tape the following year so it was easier to see!

  2. A day or two before that students talk about their books, get the titles from each student.  Create a quick Google Form or paper list with check-off boxes.  
  3. On the day you've designated, your students should come prepared with a colored basketball and notes on their book.  We usually sit in a circle so students can see each other, but you could have them come to the front of the room to present. Give each student a few minutes to talk about their book.  
  4. At the end of class, have students vote on the books they would most likely want to read (or have read and liked.)  Pick a number based on your students so that you start at 32.  If you only teach one class, start at 16.
  5. Are there duplicate presentations of certain books?  That's fine, but count them as one.  Those students will work together if their book makes it to the next round.


  1. For this week, have all your students, regardless of whether or not their book was voted out, complete a travel brochure.  This is a fun way to focus on the setting of the book; their job is to persuade others to visit that location.
  2. That was a little tricky for some of my students - especially those who love books about the Holocaust, or who read scary or dystopian books.  I let them get creative by using a specific location that might have felt like a "safe space" for their character, including previous residences.  One student, who'd read Making Bombs for Hitler asked if he could make the work camp a museum that people today should visit.  Brilliant idea!

Come back next Sunday to learn about what happens in WEEKS 3 - 6!
  • If you'd like to try a March Madness Book Tournament and don't have the time to create one yourself, download this product from TpT.
A stack of books with a basketball and the words March Madness Book Tournament

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